I have decided to blog my ongoing work on my MA thesis. As with most graduate students, I'm sure, the whole thing is taking much longer than expected.

Friday, September 16, 2005

11 days since my last post

And, as I predicted, I don't have much to show for them.

Last Thursday night a bunch of friends came out to have supper with us at a Salvadorian restaurant. It was a nice evening. And of course, I missed the Yulblog meet, which Pat reminded me the next day (or did I remember when I saw him??). On Friday, Ben and I went to Boston and Cape Cod. We stayed the first night at the 140 Hotel, the old YWCA. A good price, great location and very nice place, clean and quaint without being overly plush. The next morning we walked around Boston for 3 hours. It is a lovely city with a bunch of joggers! They were able to construct new around old without breaking any charm or having the buildings look out of place. A much prettier place then Montreal, though really not as multi-ethnic. Then, Cape Cod. We had supper in P Town and bought loads of salt water taffy (mmmmm). The next day we rented bikes to go to the beach. Monday morning we visited Harvard and I asked a few questions to the Comp Lit & Eng Lit departments. It was a great mini-trip except for one thing: the food! Every time we ate out, one of us was sick to our stomach or got a head ache. In Harvard Square we stopped at an "Au Bon Pain" for lunch. I had a sandwich and some yogurt and, without having finished either, got a desperate urge to throw up. I don't know what those Americans put in their food, but it's gross. Definitely, NY and (the old) New Orleans are the only places in the States where I have found good cuisine.

As for Harvard, the Com Lit department would most likely correspond better to my profile. Except, being Harvard, students are expected to know 4 languages. Therefore, and following the advice of the department's secretary who was extremely helpful and resourceful, I have registered for a Latin class at Concordia. Since I'm still officially doing the TESL certificate, I can register and get regular student prices. I would therefore have French and English as my fluent languages, Spanish as my "reading" language and Latin as my fourth. I must still research Universities. I haven't been doing enough of that lately...

Monday, September 05, 2005

time flies when you have nothing to do!

On Wednesday, Montreal was hit by the after-shock of Katrina, the storm that destroyed New Orleans. In the pouring rain, I set out to go to UofM to deposit the 4 copies of my thesis. Since my deposit, I have already found 2 typos/mistakes in my thesis.

Pierre called to see how it felt to be "free."

On Wednesday night I went to a 5 à 7 with the Séville gang. Sylvain has found a new job so they were honouring his departure. Ben and I stayed until 12. I had one scotch too many and was sick in bed the next day until 2. Really, the only way to have me sleep in is a hangover.

I sent my thesis to Anne. She seemed to like it. I was a bit afraid that she would be offended, or just thought that I was all wrong. But no. Which is nice. I wonder what Djuna, if she were still alive today and if she would actually agree to read my thesis, would think of it. Grumpy old lady as she had become, she would probably just say it was badly written.

Friday and Saturday I was depressed. Just sad. Unexplainable. I saw Maïa & Mila Friday night, which was nice. Mila has already grown and she stares now! A child after my own heart :)

We went to the piknik electronik yesterday. That was nice. Going out, dancing outside in the setting sun. Mistress Barbara was spinning. She is a good DJ, pretty and smiling, taking pictures of the people dancing and smiling back at her.

I'm no longer sad, but there is this stretch of void laid out in front of me. Friends have written to me "Great! Now you're done and you'll have some time for yourself!" Except, I never really felt like I didn't have time for myself. I liked what I was doing, even if I was very stressed while doing it. Now, I don't really know what to do. All I know is that time will speed up and it will pass and eventually I'll look back and wonder what have I done with it. I bought myself a puzzle, and three books: Naipaul's "Beyond Belief," Eliot's "Middlemarch," and Malory's "La Morte Dathur." At noon I have a brunch with Carole, so I must get ready.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

3 hours of printing!

Can you believe it took me 3 hours to print and assemble my 4 copies of my 100-page thesis!

I was hoping of handing it in today but seeing how long it took to print, not to mention that the department's secretary closes at 4 and it takes 30 to 60 minutes to get to school; I'll bring them in first thing tomorrow morning. Plus all my other errands, like bringing my library books back. I feel like I've revised this thing to death! And Anne and Gail Scott have been very useful with some last minute info. So fun to have writers alive around you with internet connection! :-)

My meeting with Andrew and Lianne went well. They had some things to point out and Lianne had corrected my intro and conclusion. Lianne sent me an extremely flattering email last night in which she says that I should feel good about my thesis because it is very good. That brought tears to my eyes. It's funny because such a compliment will affect me, and then I'll kind of go numb. I haven't yet realized that I'm finished, I suppose.

I chatted a long while with Andrew, a lot about US Universities I might want to apply to for my PhD. He was bringing up, other than U of Chicago and Duke, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and North Western. Those types, the ones you hear about in movies but would never actually ever have the pretension of thinking that you might be a student there. So I asked him if he really thought I stood a chance applying to these top-notch schools and he answered yes. If I have well enough grades and good GRE scores (he seemed confident of my thesis & my letters of reference, which is good because he'll de asked to write one!), it might be easy for me to get in. Plus, administration might play on my team. Since 9/11, the US has been very strict in giving out student visas, especially to Arab countries. Meanwhile, Universities have international student quotas to fill. As a Canadian, I would be a good "safe" international student candidate. Plus my French name sounds foreign. So my ugly French Québécois name and US (over-)protectionism might just play in my favor. Sucks for Arabs though, and goes to show how the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. Anyway, all that to say that this blog may never end because it might very well become the never-ending doctoral thesis! :-)

Now, I'm tired again. And I'm hoping that Anik will be able to give me another acupuncture treatment because my right arm has started hurting a bit again.

Monday, August 29, 2005

one last meeting

I'm wroking on my bibliography. Yesterday I finished my preliminary pages: title, jury, dedication, acknowledgements, etc.
From 12:30 to 3, I am meeting with Lianne and Andrew. I haven't heard from Andrew since the beginning of the summer and I have no idea if he thinks my thesis is crap or OK. So I'm a bit nervous. I would like to hand it in tomorrow... So I'm really hoping he doesn't ask me to rewrite several paragraphs... I don't have much energy left and I'm looking forward to handing it in. What an exhilirating feeling that will be!! :-) I can hardly believe I'm so close to the end.....

Last Wednesday, Ben took me out for supper to celebrate the completion of my writing. We went to Les Saveurs on Laurier. It's a French bring-your-own-wine (a wonderful Quebec restaurant concept!). It was lovely.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I just wanted everybody to know that I just finished writing my conclusion, which means that the writing of my thesis is now done!


I got an email from Anne last night. She's working on her third novel and mentioned that maybe she should have a blog of her own: theneverendingnovel.
Cute :-)
And an interesting idea...

conclusion writing

I’m writing the conclusion and I’m feeling rather dry. I’m a bit afraid of writing something that contradicts my premises.
I’ve always hated conclusion. As I’ve always hated titles. Luckily, the title came to me a while ago and I’m sticking to it! It is:
What Language is This?
A Study of Abjection in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood and Anne Stone’s Hush
Maïté wrote me encouraging email at the beginning of the week saying that it took her a week to write a 4 page conclusion.
Even Pierre wrote me an email: “A conclusion? Do we need one of those?”

Conclusions are meant to wrap up, so a short overview of what you’ve written. So that would include for me a wrap up on what is abjection, how do we find it in texts and how do Barnes’s and Stone’s texts express it.
Then, an opening into further research on the matter. Where I’m planning on addressing the questions Andrew has already asked me at our last meeting.

Which reminds me, our last meeting is Monday. I’ll deposit sometime early next week. Hopefully there won’t be any major changes. I’m already running very low on steam.

Anik gave me an acupuncture session last night to realign the energy in my right arm (since I’ve been abusing of it of late). It feels really weird now, like it belongs to someone else.

And I’m listening to Jack Johnson. I can’t concentrate at writing so well when music is playing, but he’s being very relaxing to my mind right now. Whatever works!

It’s almost finished…

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Roses & rabbits

The most disturbing analogy of Roses and rabbits is the terrible sensuality she sees in their skinning, her skinning, as if it were a game of seduction. This is made manifest when August recounts, after she asks him to, how he would skin her. As he describes the steps he would take, Roses, disheveled with drink and desire, holds herself to avoid falling into “some empty space just under the sky” (Stone 31). She enjoys this “fairy tale telling” (Stone 31). Meanwhile, it strikes the reader as an incestuous ritual of his consumption of her. This scene is disturbing for two reasons, the first being its incestuous overtone. J. Hillis Miller writes that, “Since the taboo against incest is absolutely universal, in the sense that there are no human cultures without it, it is natural to the human species, not cultural. On the other hand, it is a distinguishing feature of human, as against animal, societies, so it must be defined as cultural” (73). This means that though the taboo of incest is disturbing, it is essentially indefinable. Also, August is a father-figure, but not her father, therefore on what grounds do we call incest? At the same time, Roses is the one who expresses desire, and not so much August. In Hush, the definition of incest and its performers exist as unfocused conceptions, which causes for the reader unsettling ambiguity. Second, their game of seduction is expressed through the retelling of a violent and gruesome act, to skin alive, that only the most sadistic could possibly enjoy. It joins the morbidity of death (and killing) to the sensuality of the body (and pleasure): the corpse to desire. Theirs is a repugnant rapport where the body becomes a wound, and where the very act of being lacerated becomes an expression of desire. Their rapport is confronting to the reader not only because it conveys many levels of ambiguity, but also because desire is expressed as suffering, as a crying-out from deep under the skin; it is desire soused in abjection.

on the road again

I worked 12 hours straight yesterday and I'm still not done. But I only have 1 or 2 paragraphs to write and then my conclusion to chapter 4. And then my conclusion. Plus revision work for Maïté and Lianne, and then I must write my abstracts in English and in French. And then revise the chapters Lianne commented and get everything to Andrew ASAP. And, I'd really like to try to make it out for Dom's baby shower...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

something mentioned in Hush

Is it true that when a woman hangs herself, her vagina falls out of her body and hangs between her legs?

I'm really curious to know.
And have no idea how to proceed with a google search on that one.