owdy to all those loyal enough to have me feeded. 😉 I’ve been gone for such a long time now, I’ll be surprised if anyone remembers I exist. This hiatus extended on into something more like a never-blog! I’m trying not to feel guilty for that.
So the lovely Nate prodded me a while back, wondering what post-PhD life was like. And this strange kind of limbo-land I’m in… well, for the moment, it’s pretty pleasant. Apart from the occasionally breath-taking bout of anxiety that strikes me whenever I think about the thesis, life is feeling pretty sunny. I have more time for my friends, more space for being someone other than a thesis-writer, which is kinda nice, and I’m convening a course I adore. And the students in said course seem brighter than your average bear, which makes for a nice change to the endless frustration of people last semester (Student: ‘But… well, I just think it’s wrong.’ Me: ‘What’s wrong?’ Student: ‘Homosexuality.’ Me: ‘[gape, thinking but we’re 6 weeks in, this is a queer theory course, we’ve talked all about this for weeks on end, and that’s all you got?] Ooookay, well, perhaps we might try thinking about why you think it’s wrong…’ [in head: again]). The other day, in a tutorial about donation of bodily tissues, I had the following (approximate) conversation take place:
Me: So what do you think of current ways of thinking about donation? Are they fair? Are they exploitative?
Student 1: Well, they’re pretty exploitative, a lot of them. And unfair.
Student 2: But that’s because of the commodification of bodily tissues.
Me: Okay, so are there alternatives you can imagine?
Student 3: Well, I can’t really see any, but commodification does seem to be the main problem. But it’s hard to imagine any other ways of doing things.
Student 2: That’s because of capitalism. Capitalism is the real problem.
Me: And my work here is done.
So yes, I am enjoying my students. It’s nice, first of all, to be doing both lectures and tutes, because it means that whatever it is that I teach them, that’s what they are meant to be learning. There’s less uncertainty for me, in that regard: it means that I’m not second-guessing my grasp of someone else’s explanations/theorisations/positions. But second, it’s really really fun to be running the course. I added in a week on the concept of ‘choice’: what counts as choice and what doesn’t, and how this works to naturalise particular kinds of interventions into the body, and raise others as political (or ethical, or social…) issues. It’s hard work, too. Even though the woman who is employing me gave me all of her lectures, this week (week 6) is the first week that I’ve really used them. I’m trying to take this opportunity to build up a bit of a backlog of lecture materials, slides and so on. So it’s all very useful, but hard work too.
I’m also having to think about The Future. Which I dislike and try to de-capitalise as much as possible. I need to publish, and am just heading into starting to feel guilt about that, so I think I should really just start writing. I have a few things arising from the thesis which need to be written shortly, and a few papers up-coming: a chapter for a book, a review essay on Judith Butler (has anyone else noticed the simply nutty number of books ‘on’ her that have just come out? Craziness!), and two planned articles for two special issues due early next year. I need to publish more than that, of course, but it’ll be good (hard) work to just do that, methinks. I’m helping to organise a conference, too… And somewhere in the midst of all of that, I want to apply for various fellowships at various places, and write a book proposal for the thesis (or, y’know, the book of the thesis… like the film of the book, y’know… ). In amongst all of that is the awareness that I desperately need to organise employment for over the summer. It’s easy to forget that it’s about four months potentially without money. I might wind up doing data entry, but I’m crossing fingers for something more exciting. Cross them with me?
In general, my currently post-grad friends, post-thesis life is much funner, at least for me. I keep trying to explain it to people, but most don’t get it: I felt like I was procrastinating all the time at the end of the PhD. Even when I was teaching. Even when I was doing other work. Hell, even when I was working on the thesis I was convinced there was something else more important, more signficant, more urgent about the thesis that I should be working on. This is a strange and stupid frame of mind, I am aware (and was aware at the time), but it is sincerely how I felt. Not feeling like my entire life is one big, lazy procrastination is extraordinarily liberating. Yes, I am much happier. It’s good! And as much as I panic about examiners’ reports, and the potential culture clash of American academics marking my work, and the potential GAPING HOLES in my argument… I am, for the most part, able to set it aside. We’ll see how I go when I get closer to when the reports come back, but yeah…
So yes, I am hoping to start blogging again. I am writing a fair bit at the moment, what with lectures and (ahem) fiction (shh, don’t tell anyone) and with the articles that I’m meant to be doing. But I’ve been hanging around posting long comments on various blogs (mostly grumping at anti-trans*, trans*phobic radfems) which is probably a good sign that I should be doing more writing back at home.
And yeah, I’ve totally missed you lot. 🙂