Well, I am now approaching the end of the first term of the second year of my PhD. I have had a letter from the university confirming my doctoral registration status and candidature. Although I knew this to be the case from the internet there is something really special and grown up getting the news on headed notepaper through the post. There is still a whiff of the informal and amateur about email! The letter also said I had a hand in deadline which is a whole year later than I had expected. Always good to know there can be a breathing space lest fate, family or the furies intervene.
My supervisors, while delightful and helpful, sometimes seem like shadows in the forest, with one disappearing first for just a semester and now to another university altogether, while another is off for a sabbatical and yet another will soon take up a position in a prison (in an educational sense, not as an inmate). They all have very different approaches and offices. I love the personal touches, like a patterned throw over a sofa, framed pictures which never seem to get off the floor and on to the wall and in one case, absolutely nothing that impinged on me.
The process of supervision yet again makes me both more sympathetic and more ambitious for my own students. I am very tempted to record my own teaching sessions so that students can rewind and
replay my wise words. It is almost impossible to listen and take notes in supervision sessions but my memory is useless under stress, so having a record of what was actually said would be so helpful. With a creative piece of work, changes made between one supervision and the next have a domino effect and sometimes it seems as if I am going round and round in circles as I act on advice given at one session and hear that same advice contradicted at a later one.
One of the most helpful things I have heard from a supervisor is that all the experiments I do on my writing, whether or not they appear in the final piece are part of my research. So, yes, novel writing really is research. Not research for background or history but the actual act of trying out different ways of telling a story. Bliss. Luxury. This is why I am doing a PhD.