Oh when will I learn? Yet again I have had an idea which seemed relatively simple at its birth and now that it has met my supervisor it has become astonishingly complicated, heavy and lumpen.
I set out to write a novel about the experience of someone with Pick’s Disease ( a form of early onset dementia) using the fractured narrative style of Facebook messages. Simples, squeak.
Oh, no. First I have to look at all the other social network sites to check if facebook is the most appropriate version. Next I have to submit my project to a Board of Ethics because it is likely that I will have to observe a client who is unable to give informed consent.
And there was I thinking that I would spend my three years reviewing other experimental novels while writing my own.
Good news is that I have a fabulous supervisory team: W N Herbert and Andrew Crumey. I’m also hoping to find someone who can advise me on Pick’s Disease.
I’ve been looking at symptoms, support networks, medical journal articles – of the joy of being able to read almost any article in the world through Newcastle Library!
Newcastle Campus is a labryrinth of old, new and “being built as we speak” buildings. I enter through a parody of an Oxbridge archway, walk past a lovely garden surrounded by red brick buildings and into a modern building with state of the art lecture rooms. We postgraduates have our own magic room in the basement where an intellectual hush encourages proper work. We do r and r in the tiny kitchen where we gather for cuppas. The map of the PhD students nations includes Canada, The Faro Islands, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Finland, Ireland, Scotland and many more. I’m learning all sorts of things over coffee EG “the only good man is a dead one”. Well let’s not mince our words.
I think I have finally logged in and found passwords for most of the electronic sites I have to access although the wifi connection is temperamental.
The research training sessions are great – taught with care and humour. We get to organise a conference in May and present papers to each other.
I am trying hard to resist joining the university drama group. No time, no time…but it would be such fun!