An anonymous blog post by a current PhD student …
Start a blog, they said at the beginning, you need to write every day. Not a problem. Writing, it seems, has become my life, from partial ideas jotted down in numerous hardback notebooks to the never-ending task of ‘writing up’. What a thought! Am I ‘up’ for writing? What happens if I write ‘below’, ‘to-the-side’? Or does this suppose a desire to write? To be chomping at the bit to spill my mind onto paper? Or that one must to be ‘up’ for anything? To challenge the conventions and make their ‘contribution to knowledge’, forged from contestation and new insight?
Many of these are a hard ask most days, but still I write. Sometimes it’s anything but my thesis, on other days it would take a miracle to get me to stop, but the mind is a fickle creature. My muse one day becomes my demon the next, the stopper to all things constructive, a wall to my patching together, my creating of something from fragments of memories, stories, drinks drunk, floors danced, dreams whispered, and secrets gossiped. A pulling together of fine threads requires patience and artistry, a curating of disparate things collected over five years; to make sense of the nonsensical, to find form when too many voices converge, bicker, dispute. Sometimes I want to be a dreamer, to sit in the sun and read fiction; glorious, unrelated fiction. But right now, I must write.
All these words I type together, from those pulled kicking and screaming into being to others which seem to have fallen, fully-formed from the earliest pages of my scribblings, I hope that they find a home. Critical but enthusiastic ears of strangers (and those not so strange) are my imagined audience. And I hope that they laugh when I laughed, exclaim in frustration in shared offices and during commutes, pulled into an unfamiliar world within which they still can find parallel, the strange made recognisable by parodies and analytical description, painstakingly crafted for them in mind. I write for the unknown, but don’t we all? And hell, I’m up for that.