As of 1:15 last night, I am done my first year of PhD school. With the exception of a rough first month of homesickness, I’ve loved every second of it. A small record:
I’ve produced some fifty pages of criticism that I hope to revise into an exam paper; I’m very pleased with the ideas and actually want to return to them. I had no idea how much I would love theory when I began this program.
The writing tally is a bit more grim: thirty new pages of fiction, thirty of nonfiction, and with a substantive revision done on sixty pages. Oh, and I culled the good bits into one kick-ass essay I probably need to send out this summer.
Not a bad year, all told, and I’m hoping that I can speed up my process when I’m a little happier in my day-to-day. I spent much of this year painfully lonely (although Sacha, Andy and a fantastic cohort helped), and the prospect of living with Matt fills me with butterflies. I do not thrive alone.
The cohort gets the opportunity to bring in a creative writer and a literary critic next year (how cool is that?!). We’ve talked about Anne Carson for creative work, and either Imre Szeman or Alan Kaufman for criticism. The goal is to bring in someone who’s early in his/her career. Suggestions welcome!
Also, big news (for me, anyway). Today is day five of no booze. I’m dreaming again, and sleeping better, and my brain is a well-oiled machine; that last paper burst out of my forehead in two freakin’ days like an early-bird Athena. I do wonder if there’s a correlation. It’s been a long while since I’ve gone more than a day without alcohol (and those days are only because I’m hungover). It’s been even longer since I wrote something, prose or criticism, without a glass of whiskey at hand. So we’ll see how long I can last. I’m trying for two weeks without; if it goes well, I’ll shoot for a month.