Works cited: yeex3.blogspot.com

In a few months, bar any unforeseen complications, I will have my Master of Arts degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Durham University.  In a way, I feel as though I haven’t done enough work to warrant a degree even though I know I have.  This year has gone by so quickly.  All told (not including bibliographies), I’ve written roughly 32,601 words in five modules.  My dissertation alone was 14,615 words (roughly 43 A4-sized pages) and six pages of bibliography!  I’ve written and rewritten my PhD research proposal about 5 times and edited it for two separate institutions.  I’ve been on the train for roughly an entire day, spent around three days in airplanes (including the Christmas delay at Heathrow which kept us at the gate for an extra 5 or so hours).  I’ve watched countless hours of iPlayer, spent too many pounds to count on library fees and fines (damn recall!), and drunk at least an Olympic-sized pool’s volume of tea.  I’ve cried out of frustration and sadness, missed several weddings, and seemingly broke two hearts.

Works cited: cupcakesx3.onsugar.com

It’s been an eventful year, and at the end I’m so incredibly grateful for the degree that will result from my work and the friends I’ve gained.  They’ve made the journey worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears.


On the tenth anniversary of one of the most shocking and terrible events in American history, I am trying to focus on the good that has come out of such tragedy.  Heroes rose amid the anger and grief, and for the first time that I can remember America was united.  Democrats, Republicans, caucasians, minorities, men, women, and children simply identified as “American” for a time after the attacks.  While I have cried today in remembrance of the horror and in sadness, I am focusing on this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox called “Optimism”:

I’m no reformer; for I see more light
Than darkness in the world; mine eyes are quick
To catch the first dim radiance of the dawn,
And slow to note the cloud that threatens storm.
The fragrance and the beauty of the rose
Delight me so, slight thought I give its thorn;
And the sweet music of the lark’s clear song
Stays longer with me than the night hawk’s cry.
And e’en in this great throe of pain called Life,
I find a rapture linked with each despair,
Well worth the price of Anguish. I detect
More good than evil in humanity.
Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes,
And men grow better as the world grows old.

Works Cited: platial.typepad.com

At first I was like:

Works Cited: gradnessmadness


But now I’m all:

Works Cited: happygrimace


I’ll update on Monday!

I know, gasp!  Two posts in less than 24 hours!  I must be procrastinating!

Well, in all seriousness, I’m not.  Shocker, right?  I’m actually taking breaks between intense writing sessions, and I know that taking a nap would lead to me falling 100% asleep for 6-8 hours.

I’ve been tracking my progress through a series of status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter.  Twitter is better for this sort of thing, as [insert number here] only takes a handful of characters.  My word count over the past 36 hours has skyrocketed from about 9,500 to the current 12, 281, and I really don’t feel like updating my friends on every single step of my dissertation.  My followers and follow-ees (???) are mostly graduate students and other medieval institutions, so I feel like I can vent to the Twitterverse more readily as most of my “circle” are very familiar with the pain of things like #writeordie and #dissertation #roughdraft #writing.  I’ve pulled some insane all-nighters when writing up, but this time it’s painful.  Or, as my friend @NiFhuada has put it (in person!  Hooray for actual socializing once in a while!), “We’re in hell right now.”  Succinct.  Concise.  Brutally honest.  TRUE.

Anyway, in my writing up endeavors, seeing the Tumblr, WordPress, and linked-up posts has gotten me through.  There are people out there who have survived this and are voluntarily going through at least a second degree’s worth of “hell.”  (I must remember this, as I, too, will be joining them during my PhD at York in October…)  I thought I would share some of the more clever Twitter usernames (with the real or assumed-real names and taglines beside them) I’ve found in my quest for social media support.

  • @JediPhD, Jedi In Training, Chronicling the uncanny similarities between Star Wars and doctoral studies.
  • @GradnessMadness, Gradness Madness, A blog about staying sane in graduate school! Check it out at http://gradnessmadness.tumblr.com/.  (A blog which is wonderful.  Spot-on short posts and pictures.  Ohsogood.)
  • @thesiswhisperer, Dr Inger Mewburn, Research Fellow @RMIT University. Does research on research ( yes – really), writes for and edits the Thesis Whisperer blog and thinks about stuff.  (The article “How to Write 1,000 Words a Day and Not Go Batshit Crazy” has been my day-to-day Bible and is ohsogood.)
  • @WorstProfEver, Amanda Krauss, Taught. Published. Ran.
  • @ImAGradStudent, Grad Student, I’m a grad student! =(  (Clever due to its obvious nature and reference to The Simpsons.  If you aren’t familiar, watch the clip here.)
  • @ProfSnarky, Professor Snarky, Professor dispensing advice, tough love, and sarcasm from the other side of the podium to my wonderful college students.
  • @grumpyhistorian, Grumpy Historian, Most historians are grumpy.
  • @Mythosopher, Nick Harper, 2L @IowaLawSchool, Ancient Mythology & Cultures Enthusiast, @Gustavus Grad, Casual Philosopher. Tweets my own opinion only.  (Also a close college friend.  His Twitter username was inspired by his poli sci thesis which touched on his love of classical mythology.  Clever boy…)
  • @literarychica, Liana Silva, Dissertator, first-time parent, Managing Editor @soundingoutblog & Writing Specialist. One day I’ll write for The New Yorker. Meanwhile, I play with hashtags.  (Outstanding also for her combined interests of Latino American culture and literature and pure wit.)

Now I’ll go back to my 12-hours-plus #writeordie session and add to that 12,281 words of my #gradschool #dissertation #roughdraft.

“Our work is never over.”  Was Daft Punk formed during a master’s program?

Work it.
Make it.
Do it.
Makes us
More than
Work is

Work it harder, make it better,
Do it faster, makes us stronger.
More than ever hour after
Our work is never over.


Works cited: Gradness Madness

P.S.  I follow Gradness Madness on Twitter.  You can find the Gradness Madness Tumblr page here.  It’s awesome.

You’ve probably deduced from my periodic postings of awesome and inspirational pictures that I love art.  Photography, painting, sculpture, dance, theater, instrumental, film, fashion…  If it’s art (and is pleasing to look at in purpose–no Red Square or bodily fluids, here, guys, or found art, DuChamp), then chances are I’m a fan.  I know that according to philosophers of art I’m suppose to acquiesce to the artist and believe it’s art if it was intended to be art, but I believe that for me to consider it art, I must like to watch/listen/experience it.  That’s what I believed as a kid and what I believe in now.

Anyway, these works of art may not be Botticelli-like in their beauty, but they make me smile.  They are clever and fun, and while writing a dissertation that’s all I’m looking for, really.  No hidden agenda or meaning.  Yes.  Simple works right now, folks.

I found these on imgfave, and you can view all twelve famous deconstructed fairy tales here.

Robin Hood

Works Cited: imgfave.com. Note: Not historically accurate, but way cuter!

The Frog Prince

Works Cited: imgfave.com. This reminds me of "Fractured Fairy Tales" from "Rocky and Bullwinkle." Not familiar with that? Get thee to YouTube!

Snow White

Works Cited: imgfave.com. I'm personally a fan of the deer and the mushroom. Do you think this one gave Snow White that dazed and confused expression?

This is a post for my friend, Hannah, an amazingly gifted artist.  I happen to have several pieces of her art (sketches, a photo, a painting), and her whimsical and beautiful works are some of my favorites.  See her art here (I own To Every Corner!) and her personal blog here.

This picture reminded me of her, so I’m posting it for easy viewing.  Hannah, cheers to you, the one who colored pictures in college at kindergarten day with crazy stripes and spots and who truly thinks outside the box.  xx

From deviantART's JellyVampire, "Like an Artist"