Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Damn chapter.

This damn thing is taking absolutely forever. The existing secondary literature that I need to internalize is excellent and deep and detailed and it doesn't matter how many times I read it, I still need to read it again. Diplomatic history, with all these different individuals making all kinds of decisions on a daily basis, is complicated! And then of course there's everything going on in New York and Washington and London and Moscow and etc. But I'm ignoring those things for the moment.

There was so much swirling around Americans in Petrograd (etc.) in 1917-1918 that it makes my brain hurt trying to figure it all out. And I need to place the American Red Cross and YMCA work in the midst of it. I go to write one sentence, and it's like: shit, now I have to go read about the Root Mission. And the thing is, I've read about this so many times before, but I can't for the life of me remember what I need to to write about it. SIGH.

I think I'm writing too much, but I also think I need to write it all out before I know what I can take out. You know? For me, the thinking process is tied directly to the writing process. If I don't write out what happened, I can't have properly thought-out thoughts on it. At least, I don't think so. Chronology and personality and context are all important because the individuals mattered a lot and the situation changed constantly. The only constant was confusion . . . but that's not really a constant at all, now, is it?!

Ok. I gotta get back to reading. (The book I'm on now is a fantastic study, very impressive in its consideration of the complexities, etc. I need to memorize it.) I just hope my committee members get that I am working even if I don't have anything concrete to show them.

Good thing I've got things to take my mind off my work every so often. I would wallow in despair and self-pity at my own inability to produce if I didn't. (Yes, I have a great life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But that doesn't negate the fact that writing a dissertation is difficult. I love it, but I also love to complain about it.)

Not to worry, though: I still love my topic :-)

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