Monday, 18 July 2011

Guest blogger - please give a warm welcome to Boz! (0)

My fellow MA student Boz is my first guest blogger - we seem to have a similar distraction technique for not actually writing words! And I am sad to report that I took an actual day off writing, not even writing this blog.

How absolutely fabulous that my friend and MA compadre, Reb, has allowed me to write a little post for her blog. Thanks, Reb!  
It seems Reb and I are suffering from the same affliction, namely eruditioperlegomania , in other words, we’ve got the ‘waste time on endless research’ bug. And the thing is - I love it, love it, love it, but to quote my heroine, Edith Piaf, “A quoi ca sert?”  My dissertation is set in 1960s Manchester and is vaguely about a bunch of children, kids born in the UK to immigrant parents of different nationalities.  And that’s all you need really know because that’s where the research has exploded like a cotton wool puffball the size of K2.
All I was looking for originally was an idea of how these immigrant parents got to be where they were. In a limited way, it’s my era and my story, so I should, I think, have known more. But it’s led me into history, literature, anthropology, social science and wait for it – taraa! – something I’d never heard of as a discipline – Cultural Studies. I’m telling you my mouth is awash with saliva when I think of Cultural Studies. Yum.
And boy, am I hooked! The more academic papers I read, the more references I find to others which, naturally, I must also read. In the meantime, time is zapping by and my dissertation is not looking remotely written. However, I’m still counting it as work in the hope that I’ve absorbed some of it and it will sneak into my story one way or another – kind of the Rosetta Stone Immersion Method.
Anyway, I was reading a brilliant little book I ordered via Between Two Cultures: Migrants and Minorities in Britain by James L. Watson, when I realized that I don’t have enough hours left in my life to read everything I need to read, and I started reading more quickly. I know, I know… 
My next thought was ‘Yes, but why do you need to read them? You don’t, you plonker!’ But, Reb’s readers, I do, honest I do. It’s a relentless itch – the more I scratch, the more I need to get three inch acrylic nail extensions.  
My next thought was ‘Well, there’s only one thing for it. You have to get a brilliant mark for your MA dissertation (tricky when you haven’t actually got anything but notes and index cards so far and a mere two months left!), and then do a PhD because that will give you permission to research. That must be the way forward.’ Oh, but I can’t afford to do a PhD. Bugger. Oh yes, and let’s face it, even if I could do a PhD, finance and grade permitting, I am seriously old (54) and I’ll probably be 60 by the time I finish it, by which time (I know me…) I’ll be living in squalor, my garden will be a jungle, my car will be a rat-infested wheelie bin, and I’ll look like a bag lady who’s totally lost touch with soap and washing detergent in the intervening six years. Or I’ll have become Alan Bennett’s Mrs Shepherd.
So what I want to know is why can’t somebody just give me a position that’ll pay vast amounts and will just let me trip into on one research paper after another, like a bee sipping juicy globs of nectar from every tempting flower in the meadow.  The other part of this contract would be that I could write, but only when I felt like it and on any topic I fancied. ;)
Oh, go on someone…  gi’us a job! Is it really too much to ask? 

Thank you, Boz. Good luck with that job! 

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