Archive for October, 2005

So.

Monday, October 17th, 2005

So, I have emailed my thesis supervisor the pretty-much-final draft of my thesis. It’s the last time she’ll look at it, which has to come as some sort of a relief for her. It’s kind of hard to believe that something that’s been part of my life and my headspace for so long is coming to its end. Hard to believe how different my life was a year and a half ago when I started Honours. Hard to believe how much I’ve changed, and what I’ve learned over that time. Hard to think about the fact that Bec and I would have been graduating together without getting a lump in my throat.

Although it’s driven me to distraction, not to mention tears, on many occasions, I’m so glad I’ve stuck with it. I’ve learned a lot, not only about my subject matter (speaking of which, I think I’m going to lay off reading anything about incest for a while after this next week is over), but all sorts of jolly intangibles that have taught me about who I am and how I work. It’s given me a greater sense of discipline about my writing, and has forced me to find the time to focus on my more creative work – an important lesson, because as anyone who writes knows, it can be so easy to deprioritise your creative life when big things start happening.

I’m seeing my supervisor later on today, when she’s had a chance to read it all. I’m hoping there’s no major reconstruction work that needs to be done that we’ve both somehow missed up until now. I’m also fervently hoping that she doesn’t say anything like “Aimee, some of these latest changes read like they’ve been made at the last minute by someone operating on very little sleep and possibly under the influence of alcohol.” Because if she does, I am honest to a fault, and will be forced to admit that I was up until all hours last night, making merry at Gurlesque, and pole-dancing and shaking appropriate bits of my anatomy to Peaches’ “Shake Yer Dix”.

Which I feel would perhaps not be overly beneficial to our professional student/teacher relationship.

Heart Attack

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Today I experienced what it feels like to think you’ve accidentally deleted the final draft of one of your thesis chapters.

I think the feeling can be described as “your heart dropping into your stomach, which is being pounded by sledgehammers”.

And now that I’ve experienced it, I never want to have that feeling again.

It was especially galling considering I’m a compulsive backer-upperer. For twenty heart-stopping minutes I thought I was going to have to retype the chapter in its 8500 word entirety from my hard copy nearest-to-done draft. Which I don’t really have time to do, given that I have to hand it in to my supervisor on Monday, and the whole thing is due Monday week (yes, 24th of October, not the end of September as I was mistakenly and heart-attack-inducingly told earlier).

Fortunately, it was purely a file-naming error on my part. And I found a backup anyway. But dear GOD that was frightening. My thesis is due in ten days. TEN DAYS! Eeek!

I must give a shoutout to Stu here, however, who rang me after I sent him a my-life-is-over kind of text message, and offered to retype it for me while I worked on the other chapter. I will be downloading Salt N Peppa’s “Whatta Man” just so I can do an interpretive dance to it just for him.

I had just enough time to finish both my heart attack and my coffee before I had to come to work today. And might I add, listening to Tori Amos songs about miscarriage while already in a tearful and fraught state of mind? Soooo not a good idea.

A Book Review That Isn’t, Really

Saturday, October 8th, 2005

I have a headache, and it’s all Kate Holden’s fault.

Despite the fact that I work on Saturdays, I was up until all hours last night, until I finally finished Holden’s recently published memoir, In My Skin. If you live in Australia and have been paying any attention at all to the literary bits of the media, you’ll know that In My Skin is about Holden’s battle with heroin addiction, and her experiences working as a prostitute on the streets of St Kilda and, later, in brothels around Melbourne.
I went to the chat event/book signing Readings held for her on Wednesday night, and was treated to a lively and interesting discussion. I also got my copy of the book signed, because I am a fangirl like that, and yammered at her for a while in my usual awkward yet over-enthusiastic way. It turns out (and I did actually know this before I met her), that we share an Internet friend; that would be Melissa, whom I like to refer to as my evil Floridian twin. Small freakin’ Internet.
Anyway, I know there’s been a lot of publicity and good stuff said about In My Skin, and I’m going to add to it. It’s a beautifully written book that doesn’t flinch away from its subject matter. In doing so, it can be quite confronting, but also enlightening. The desciptions of heroin and Holden’s descent into addiction are mesmerising. Several years ago I lost someone I cared about deeply to an overdose; it wasn’t completely unexpected after the repeated unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation and the jail time for the B&E he’d taken up to support his addiction, but it still came as a shock. I understood he was addicted and had little control over it, but I’ve never understood fully the choices he made, how he could keep edging further and further into the abyss even as everyone who cared about him tried to pull him out. I still can’t say I fully understand, and while I’ve learned to deal with the grief I doubt I ever will, but Holden’s descriptions of use and addiction spoke to me in a way that glamourous images of drug use haven’t. I feel like, through reading In My Skin, I’ve finally got a little more of a sense of understanding and closure regarding my friend. It’s kind of nice, if you want to use “nice” as a synonym for “tears my heart out”. Which I do.
I’ve read a few memoirs penned by women in the sex industry (primarily but not solely prostitution memoirs), and Holden handles her subject matter with more grace and less apology than many. She comes across as honest and likeable, two rather good things for a autobiographer to be, and was like that in person, too. I am smitten. Told you I’m a fangirl.
So anyway, you’ve probably read a lot about how good this book is by now, and I am going confirm that by saying: buy ten zillion copies because it’s a great book and Kate Holden is really nice and stuff.
Oh yeah, you sure can tell I’ve been learning me how to English all these years, can’t you? Thank your lucky stars I’m not planning on pursuing a career as a literary critic.