Academic Life,  Writing Life,  Writing Process

Back to Normal

On Friday, I submitted my dissertation, As Many Roast Bones As You Need, which is the memoir-in-essays I have been working on now for about eight years. Now I wait for my committee to see if it, and the critical introduction (an examination on the influence The Diary of Anne Frank has had on memoir), is good enough to earn my PhD. I thought I would be more nervous than I am. Maybe that will come. I also separated myself from a bad, very one-sided relationship at the same time. Still, it’s sad to have to say goodbye to that person. So a lot has changed in a relatively short amount of time. I actually cleaned my place this weekend and slept in. That was nice.

Looking back on my book, as it is, for the first time it does seem like a real book. I think it moves and is emotionally affecting. It is also more complex than what I thought I could write at the start of the project. It’s still another year or so away from being complete. Eight chapters are published or forthcoming, a handful more are close to being finished, and another chunk still needs some serious revision. But even those weaker chapters show complexity and seem necessary to further the plot and the themes of the book. So I’m happy with them for the time being. I also took the book from 119,000 words last June to just about 92,800 words. I only lost one whole chapter. While I revise individual chapters, I also hope to cut to 90,000. My goal for the dissertation was to get it below 95,000. I’m surprised how easy it was, which to me means I can really dig into it more and cut it back. 85,000 seems impossible, but who knows?

Today, I began work on a flash essay and revisions of a comic. I also will revise my book proposal and work on a couple of other essays as I wait on my committee. That should take me through the end of the semester. As I wait to graduate (hopefully) I’m also job hunting. I applied to my dream spot recently, so I have my fingers crossed. So far, I have applied to about 58 positions, with more to come.

It’s weird to not have the book breathing down my neck for the time being. But a good weird. Now to get back to life.

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