I submitted my thesis on 29 May 2015. It’s done. It’s in. It’s not everything I might have wished that it could have been in better circumstances, but it got finished and handed in, and that’s something I was not convinced I could achieve for a very long time. Not that I didn’t think I could write a thesis, but just that I had been so poor and ill that I thought 8 years’ work might ultimately go down the drain.
And for a long time I seemed to be surrounded by people who didn’t think I could do it or get why I was trying. People who took my agony at the fact that I might not complete as a reason to suppose that I should not be doing a PhD at all. That was incredibly draining. Having people you care about tell you they don’t think you can do the most important thing in your life is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
But then there were other people. You guys. Those of you who used the tip jar to keep this blog afloat even when I wasn’t producing anything. Friends and strangers who contributed to my Go Fund Me, literally paying my rent and food and bills so I could finish and telling me they thought it was worth it. That was very special to me. It meant something. People actually believed in me and wanted me to finish.
And my supervisor let me work out of his office, that really helped, too. Because my house was a sickroom that had got into a really horrible and depressing state. And there, with just enough money to live off, and a quiet space to work in, I did it. I got that fucker done.
I come back to this again and again, but Virginia Woolf was So. Damn. Right. You need enough money to live off and a room of your own to work in in order to write. And I think that goes for academic writing as much as for fiction.
My viva is still to come, but that happens at the end of August. Now… I’m resuming some kind of life.
I start work at a temp job tomorrow morning. I’m gonna have actual money coming in. And I’m gonna have to go to bed before midnight. Which is something that’s been really hard for me to do since I had neighbours who routinely kept me awake past 1am. I don’t have those neighbours anymore, but I’m still afraid of going to bed and not being able to sleep. It doesn’t make sense, but I’ve been conditioned that way.
And today I’m playing the role of Washing Police on a kitten who has recently been spaid and Must Not Lick Her Stitches (her owners would rather not stress her out with a cone more than necessary). It’s not my cat, but I don’t mind chilling with a kitten for a day, watching Netflix and catching up on my writing.
I don’t have to feel guilty about how I use my time when I’m not working anymore. That hasn’t been true for over 9 years, if you include my MA. It’s… very, very odd. But good.
By the end of this year I want to have finished writing one of my novels. Not sure which one yet. I have the Superhero with Depression, the One with Clones and Nanites, and the Fantasy One with Dragons and Spies. At the moment I’m leaning towards the One with Clones and Nanites…
And the kitten is washing again, so I’d better keep a closer eye on her.
Kitten-sitting sounds like a perfect post-thesis activity, I have to say.