It goes against all my instincts to answer the above question with “Yes, we are nearly there!” in case I jinx the imminent completion of my novel and critical component for my PhD at Newcastle. I have managed to send two creative supervisors to the extreme act of moving to a neighbouring university to get away from me, found a fairy godmother and had my manuscript rejected by Mills and Boon with the admonition to “read more Mills and Boon books.” I leave it to the reader to decide which of these events are positive or negative.
I appear to have agreed to spending the next seven days (and nights, I suspect) writing up the (hopefully) final version of both my novel and my critical component. (Let’s just pretend that the bibliography will be completed by elves–probably the same elves that will proofread, print and bind my PhD). It’s still a huge milestone and, barring Acts of God or more likely invading viruses of either the bodily or computer kind, makes me feel relieved.
However, I have just skim read a particularly vital chapter of my critical component and found it intensely boring. While part of this reaction is due to over familiarity with the content, there remains the possibility that examiners will also find their eyelids drooping over it. How to remedy this? Different coloured inks? (ref Faulkner) Post modern fragmentation of the pages? (ref BS Johnson) A dialogue? Scrap it altogether? (step away from the highlight/delete buttons). Perhaps I should insert a prayer, as some of my mother’s Ugandan students used to do. Whichever method I select will be better than this procrastinating but essential reflection. Watch this space. Or don’t, if you are also grinding away at the last version of your PhD. Just do it.