Day -83 to submission

I bow down before anyone who has completed any academic study as a parent who has no nanny and housekeeper. I took a few days off thesis writing and am on this very cold morning struggling to get back into it.

I’ve dragged my bar heater into the room and it’s right next to me.

I have 5 days to write this next chapter. I am not going to push myself to do more than the one. I will still be on schedule if I submit this one on Monday and the next one the following one (as opposed to two this Monday and then a fortnight for the next one). As I restructured it slightly, I have an extra chapter to write.

I think I need a very strong coffee before I begin writing again. I’ve spent the first hour distracted by house chores, checking emails and sorting out everyone’s life – including my cats. It’s been a lot easier with husband back as I don’t have to do the school run for another week or so. In theory, I have 12 days of all day writing but in practice I won’t be able to sustain that. I need breaks, walks and fresh air.

Here is the plan for this chapter and today:

  1. Write an outline – although it is in its draft form, it’s a mess. I need to put it all together properly.
  2. Run it through Grammarly and then do a close edit. Grammarly picks up typos. I make many and it picks up some grammar points. What I don’t like about it is that it makes some sentences too clean and the algorithms are not necessarily programmed for academic writing at this level. Nonetheless, it saves me time. I remember being so envious that a fellow postgrad’s mother was literate and educated enough to discuss nor edit her work. Mine can’t speak English properly so Grammarly fulfils half of this role.
  3. DON’T FREAK OUT and remind self that those who reach their goal have grit like the tortoise in the tortoise and hare race. I’ve found all these great resources to help students and own kid to have their best chance of reaching their potential, I really need to help myself now. It is deeply unsatisfying not being a jack of all trades and mediocre at most things when you know it’s through lack of effort. Process is way more important than the end result. I just have to get back into it.
  4. Stop comparing myself to others –  I did not read through early drafts. They were probably really messy too.

Coffee and then writing.

Apologies to all who read this for not being in contact, or only sporadically, over the next 6-8 weeks. If you text me I will respond, but I’m not as available until after this is done and dusted.


Intermission (Day -67 to submission) 

(I googled this random image. If you own it and don’t want me to use it please let me know). 

I will not have time to work on my thesis until my husband returns. I might be able to squeeze in two days in the second week of the holidays but that’s about it.

Kid is doing well and there are only 22 days until hubby returns. 

I still have the rusty orchestra tunes in my head. I haven’t found time to replace the tubing on my shoulder rest. I have one useless spare shoulder rest and one missing spare one. I also need a new bow if I’m to continue playing. 

I was feeling defeated by distance as I live in lower socioeconomic outer suburbia. It’s hardly the slums but it is a fair distance from the closest community orchestra. A friend and a friend in a dream suggested I start a group. I’ve managed to find a local music teacher who is open to idea of forming a chamber trio or quartet. I don’t have a lot of time so I’m really hoping we find a local cello player. I need to practice regularly to get to the standard I was once at and feel that I can do it if I have a group to play with. I love playing so much.

At 40 I just do things that make me happy and it’s only at 40 I know what makes me happy. 

1) I like playing music with others. I could never have been a virtuoso. I love the group aspect of music and not just connecting with an audience but with fellow players. 

2) Teaching – but not anything technical and this includes teaching music and languages. I like ideas. I loved teaching this past semester because there were many philosophical discussions to be had. 

3) I like teaching older teenagers. Some give you hope that there is a future and the kid won’t grow up in a soulless, let’s just rape the earth and think of humans only as consumers dystopian world.

4)Being kid’s parent

5)Hanging with friends – Some of this through the phone as I live a fair distance from the people I love. But there’s nothing like an in person catch up.

6) meeting new people with similar interests.

I realise now that I’ve never found a “thing” because most of the things I love have no status in our society (teaching/motherhood/arts). Moreover, I lacked self-confidence. I have no idea why I did. As an older person I want to shake my teenage self and say, wake up you silly girl! Look at all that you have! Of course, I would also give her some antibiotics to clear up her skin and arrange more meetings with her clueless teachers. 

I guess I get to do for my kid what my parents were unable to do for me. In that sense I feel like I’ve done well in life. 

I don’t have a seemingly endless road ahead of me. I am beginning to look middle-aged – no injectables for me! 

Things I will do in the next three months:

1) complete thesis

2) adopt a stray cat

3) start a local music group 

4) be a present (in body and mind) mother

5) plan a “I turned 40 last year” party – maybe. I’m terrible with parties. I have a fear that no one will show up. A hang up from going to school with mean girls. 

Many of my friends have taken this long  to get over the trauma of school. I think that’s why we worry about sending them to the wrong school or not being able to move to a better school zone etc…