The Desert of Editing

I am in the process of finishing a paper I have been working on for quite a while. I have come to the conclusion that, even though I don't like editing, it is worth it.

When I sit down to write, I feel a sense of wonder that I do not get when editing. When I sit down to edit, it is a slow drudge through the desert of thorns, broken bones, and molten rock.  

Yet, I know when I reach the end of the desert, my writing will be so much better. I will arrive at the shores of a crisp clear ocean of joy, splendor, and ice cream with a finished piece of writing that is worth reading. 

When you create, what is your desert? 


Last Thursday, I did one of the scariest things in my life. I presented at colloquium. Colloquium is a weekly lecture series that happens every Thursday at my graduate school. The presenters are often Ph.D. wielding researchers. The topics range from tone analysis to phonology, morphology to anthropology, and everything in-between. During my first and second year of graduate school, these presentations were often way over my head. It was only in my final years of graduate school that the colloquiums started to make sense to me. The audience is full of field linguists (most of whom have a Ph.D.) and linguistic students in undergraduate and graduate studies. It is a tough crowd full of tough questions.

So, you may be wondering, how was I pulled into presenting?

My thesis chair and the colloquium coordinator approached me two weeks ago to ask me if I would present. After I recovered from the initial shock, I agreed. How could I say no to my thesis chair? I already had a presentation ready from when I defended my thesis (just needed to tweak a few things). I had no excuses other than fear. So, I presented.

It was a milestone in my life as a linguist. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed giving the presentation. I made people laugh and many people came up to me afterwards truly intrigued at my research.

When I started this program, I never thought I would be one of those presenters. Now, here I am on the other side wondering when I will present again.

The Thesis

Writing an M.A. thesis is like wrestling a mountain troll. It requires research to know how to attack it, a committee of elders to give you guidance, and support from other fellow adventurers to tackle the beast without getting discouraged. When it is all said and done you are left feeling euphoric and tired, ready to head back home and sleep off the soreness of night after night of hard work.

However, in the middle of the fight, you need to keep your brain from exploding as you plot and plan your next move. It was during one of these breaks that "The Thesis" trailer was made with my fellow thesi (pronounced like fungi) adventurers.

I shot the trailer on my iPad in iMovie because it was as easy as dropping clips into a template.

Thesis Revisions

My twitter feed has consisted of two topics lately: coffee and thesis revisions. There seems to be a strong correlation between these two things for some reason. In light of that, I thought I would continue this theme on my blog.


In other news, I submitted my thesis for a final format check to my graduate school. I am in good shape to graduate this May and will be walking in August.

Study Vacation Week 1

I push back from my desk toppling slowly, ever so slowly to the floor. The soft carpet catching me in its warm semi-soft embrace. Post-it notes flittering slowly down around me as exhaustion overwhelms my tired mind. I awaken to an animal nudging my face and breathing its rancid breath as a natural smelling salt to awaken me from my study induced coma. I push my notes and highlighters aside that scatter the floor.

"Coffee!" I cry from a dry throat as I pull myself to my feet. My limbs crack and creak as I pull myself through the thick air towards the kitchen, stumbling only two or three times over my words and my feet.

The hot liquid pours golden brown into my cup and I take my first sip. As the sweet liquid touches the ready embrace of my tongue, time slows and I find myself standing in the present. My mind reawakens and I find myself in the weekend. I glance to my right and left slowly remembering. The first week of the great study vacation has flashed by in a blur and here I stand on the brink of another week of study. The small gap of rest before the decision to leap.

I walk to the living room brought back to the present on a snowy Sunday afternoon. I sit on the couch with my wife, my coffee, my cat, and a book.

I toast the air and breath the relaxation deeply into my bones, knowing tomorrow will bring another day.

The Study Vacation

This weekend marks the beginning of a beautiful time of vacation. The time to see the world and go on road trips...where the sun is continually rising on the cheesiness of this metaphor. Now back to reality...

What will we really be doing? My wife and I will be neck deep in books and highlighters, post its and computers. We are inching closer and closer to finishing up our M.A. degrees. During this vacation we will be cooking meals in the crockpot, living at coffee shops and libraries, and spreading paper on the walls and floors paving the way to the wonderful world of linguistics graduate school bliss.

Why, you may ask, do we submit ourselves to the burden of squishy languages and simultaneous morphology? We like it, I guess.

Over the next few weeks, I will be updating our progress here as a space to defragment my brain after hours of intense study. I cannot promise my filter or my brain will be firing on all cylinders, but that adds to the fun right?

Enjoy the ride!