Avoidance issues. . .

I have them. Right now, I avoid writing my dissertation by reading all sorts of “valuable” sources that will, I hope, be useful to the writing process. Really, I could be writing more if I wasn’t so caught up in perfection. . .I hope I’m not a person satisfied with simply getting to the dissertation process. I need to finish this. I have a bad habit of starting things with little follow-through:

  • an article based on my MA thesis (the last draft is from 2005) is still sitting in a binder at home.
  • I began a Mary Kay business in 2004 for some extra money. . .yeah, not so much.
  •  I tried to learn to knit a couple of years ago, and now I have a surplus of yarn with no finished product to show for it.
  • I have a bad habit of holding onto emails/cards/correspondence from friends without actually responding to them. Most recently, I have not responded to queries about camping with some friends and attending a baby shower.
  • I began a blog (with a colleague as part of a project for DMAC at Ohio State) for my English Department that has yet to be picked up by the university. . .the last post is from October 2007.
  • In high school, I joined the crew for a play and showed up for exactly one rehearsal.
  • I was actually kicked out of the honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi for not showing up to any meetings.
  • I never received my Golden Key “congratulations, you’re a new member” certificate because I never went to the ceremony or advisor’s office to pick it up.
  • I never apologized to two friends–at least, I hope they’re still friends–after some disastrous dates/faux-relationships with them in the months following my breakup with my jackass high school/college sweetheart (that was a  6 1/2 year relationship, oh yes).
  • I still have a stack of 15 photos from my college photography class (c. 2001) that need to be framed.
  • There are three other unframed prints that need to be finished and hung in my guest room.
  • I never sent my best friend a wedding gift (even though I was co-maid of honor in her wedding in October 2007).
  • I never returned the call of another friend, who now lives in Seattle (c. August 2007).
  • There is a congratulatory card sitting on my coffee table for a friend who successfully defended his dissertation three weeks ago (I saw him that night and never gave him the card).
  • I also have an anniversary card for my parents, who celebrated their 29th anniversary 11 days ago (I saw them last weekend).

 

Maybe this inability to follow through with. . .anything. . .explains my obsession with invention and the composing process. I want to know more about getting started and how these different strategies/heuristics/guides affect what will happen at the end of the process (not that there is ever really an end and not that I have a great track record of making it that far). Enough with the pessimistic, not-quite-postmodern-Derridean pity party.

  • “It is not necessary to know everything in order to understand something” (Clifford Geertz).
  • “In all cultural matters it is the form of growth that enables us to understand the form of the existing product” (Ernst Cassirer).

The above quotes come yet again from Ann Berthoff’s Reclaiming the Imagination.

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I am an associate professor of English and writing center coordinator at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. I teach courses in composition, creative nonfiction, fundamentals of English, and peer tutoring.

Posted in Dissertation, Me

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