Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Difficulty concentrating

Sometimes the closer I get, the more I fear an end. The primary task for today is drafting up the abstract for this [Field 1 & Field 2 conference] in the UK next Spring. The paper I have in mind is a methodological one, arguing for a return of sorts to an older methodology, while exploiting today's technologies.

I've got 300 words to make a case for a radical shift in thinking (or rather, the inclusion of a methodology which has been somewhat out of favor since the 1950s). I wish to appeal to historical arguments and the authority of well-respected (though perhaps out of the mainstream) contemporary researchers in a variety of fields, citing their appeals to the authority of well-respected scholars from a century ago, all in an effort to justify the approach to research which I wish to spend my career focusing on.

I do not lack faith in the strength of my arguments. I truly believe that this approach to the subject is both necessary and complementary to existing approaches. But I fear that my arguments will be seen as wanting, that the abstract will not be accepted, that I will remain in this post-doctoral limbo, unable to give voice to the work which lies bubbling up underneath my surface.

A few weeks ago, I wrote here that I was making some pickles. I sealed them in jars, along with their brine and spices. Last week, when I opened them up, the chemical reaction was quite a treat to watch, each jar overflowing with bubbles, finally released. The eruptions lasted for minutes. Amazing. I feel like a jar of brine pickles, lid securely fastened, waiting, like a genie in a lamp, for that little nudge to release my promise, to spew forth the fruits of my labors.

Perhaps the dissertation was the last eruption, somewhat subdued, long in preparation, but short-lived in the end. I mull and steep, knowing the forces within, but wondering if the jar will be unsealed while they still simmer, or if the organic chemistry will lose its force, mysteriously fizzling out when that time comes.

3 comments:

Lilian said...

Oh, you're good with metaphors, the pickle and the bubbles one is very interesting.

I don't think your dissertation was the last one, you're still simmering inside, I'm sure.

I've been TERRIBLE at concentrating too. I have to whip up three job applications (at least) and one was due tomorrow and given up (it's San Diego - my husband missed the deadline and didn't apply, so it's OK).

I hope I can do it!! Even though I'm so lazy AND tired I just don't want to do it.

Breena Ronan said...

Nice metaphor. Maybe you just need a catalyst to get your reaction started?

ArticulateDad said...

What a lovely extension to my metaphor, Breena. Let's just hope it's a catalyst not a catapult. :)