Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Checking In

Tentatively, I suspect that this blog might have more than three readers these days, so it doesn't seem overly self-indulgent to leave personal updates. Even though I've actually done that all the time, thus failing in my mission statement (see this post).

Right, so I want to complete the thesis, or a very good draft of it, by the 31st August. Is this possible? I believe so, although my dreams/ nightmares about August seem to feature bleak Pennine wastelands covered with rooks and dead sheep. This is almost not a joke: last night, I dreamt that we had to go up to Saddleworth for the wedding again and I ended up playing football in some deracinated Audenesque landscape. That said, I also dreamt that William S. Burroughs was trying to murder Jenny and I so I had to punch him in the face. I blame the cans of Karpackie Pils I drank before going to bed, along with the fact that I was reading Gerald Kersh's Night and the City which is about vaguely malevolent bohemian types.* So my thesis has got to the stage where it has had me dreaming about ghostly moors and committing acts of violence against important figures of world literature. Probably not good.

I'd like to say that there's other news but there isn't, really. I've become addicted to Peep Show, which I resolved some time ago never to like (friends of a certain vintage will remember that I made the same vows about Father Ted, although I'm not saying Mitchell & Webb stand up to the antics on Craggy Island.) I've been reading novels, as usual, and trying to come up with possible topics of future research. I haven't been writing much poetry. I haven't been playing music, either, but I've been listening to a lot because I've got a radio that you can plug an MP3 player or computer into which makes tunes sound really good. Sorry, I sound as if I'm about to start eulogising some Kenwood in-car speakers. It is mint, though.

Fortunately, I've managed to more or less twist the thesis into saying what I want it to say. It evinces a certain intellectual position now, which I was previously afraid that it failed to do. I feel like I can say with pride that I really agree with my argument now, whereas I had, at other times, felt like there were ideological elements in there that I didn't really subscribe to. I've managed to give Larkin both barrels in a 500-word section which I really hope makes it through the Viva.

So, it's Tuesday night. Got to be time to go and play some footie, even though it looks like it's going to slash it down (pardon my French).

Hope you're all well and Bill Burroughs isn't menacing your slumberings,


* I'm not saying I agree with everything Burroughs did, but I do agree with many of his attitudes towards writing. Next time I have to dream about lamping someone who is trying to kill my partner and I, could it be someone I have less time for? I would have no qualms about whacking, say, Michael Moore or most Observer writers. In a dream, obviously.


Attic Fantasist said...

Hi Joe

You deserve a very good weekend for turning the thesis around. Congrats! I never thought it would happen, but I am completely in the doldrums. Far from the august presence of Burroughs in my dreams, images of the big V - and therefore of horror - cross my path before I dip into sleep. I want very nice people for my viva.

I hope you and your girlfriend are now safe from dead junkies. Having said that, it seems the big B was your muse in disguise.

Joe said...

Cheers Chris!

Fingers crossed, anyway. I've got myself to the stage now where I think 'it had better bloody pass, but if it didn't for some reason, I've probably come out of the other end a better person'. Having been in the doldrums on more than one occasion, my only tip is to ride it out - just do something different for a while, if you can afford the time (writer's block DOES go away towards the end, it can't not). I feel that one of my big mistakes was to spend too much time in the second year sitting in front of a blank computer screen instead of - for example - going to cafe and reading a novel.

But then we're all different, aren't we - it's hard to say what works for each individual.

Hope writing picks up soon,