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Thursday, September 01, 2005


Done, that is, with Chapter 4, the final chapter of my dissertation.

Those of you who are keeping up will remember that I still have to write the introduction to the whole damn project, which I don't expect to be a cakewalk--but all the same, getting to the end of my dissertation is extremely satisfying.

I find conclusions hard to write, even when I'm able to identify all the pieces that I want to be in there. It's that tone--slightly grand, slightly elegiac--that I just can't muster unless I'm in the mood, and unless I really feel done with a given subject. And I feel pathetic for admitting this, but when I do get that tone right, when it matches the substance of what I'm trying to say and when it bids a proper farewell to the material, it makes me cry. (I guess that's how I know that I have it right, but it also makes me feel like a big old cheeseball.)

I don't think I can explain it further. I've always cried at strange moments in movies or novels; moments when, for one reason or another, a sudden stabbing sense of the loveliness and vanity of human endeavors--those attempts at love or success or simple decency--comes upon me. (I bawled all through the epilogue to Middlemarch, both times, if that gives you any sense of what I'm talking about.) And the feeling that I have when I write an effective conclusion is similar, though I don't know what the referent for it is--am I just so damn moved by my subject matter? By my own deathless prose?

Dunno. But it's damn weird.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:05 PM |


Anonymous Anonymous commented at 11:21 PM~  

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Anonymous Anonymous commented at 11:25 PM~  

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Blogger Rhonda commented at 12:36 AM~  


Blogger negativecapability commented at 5:23 PM~  

I feel you on having trouble with the end - I also find the introduction writing, no matter the size of the project, easier one the end is done than doing the end.

Wow, that makes a lot of sense :)

Blogger What Now? commented at 10:53 PM~  

Congrats on finishing Ch. 4. I too have such a terrible time writing a conclusion; clearly the convention is to make a sweeping statement about the immense significance of my subject. And whether I just freeze up under the pressure or am more realistic about the humble stature of my work, I just can't make those grand conclusive gestures. So my work has a tendency to just fizzle at the end, and I spend great energy in trying to reanimate that fizzle (to mix a metaphor).

Anyway, that's all about me, and I meant this comment to be all about you--congratulations! And good luck on that introduction.

Blogger BrightStar commented at 12:03 PM~  

I think it's sweet, the crying. It demonstrates perhaps your passion, perhaps your relief at accomplishing a big or important task.


Anonymous Anonymous commented at 11:13 AM~  

well done babe!

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