I have started to write the thesis — going through my voluminous notes closely, slotting quotes into my hasty idea-scribbles. I used to be the sort of person who could not draft an essay. It had to be written, painstakingly, line by line. I would steep myself in the literature, piling it all into my head and into assiduously typed notes, holding it there in a huge and ponderous lattice. Then I would write, linearly. Introduction first, then section by section, then conclusion. Each sentence had to be perfectly crafted from the get-go, each argument had to be knitted from top to bottom, not woven haphazardly out of snippets and essay plans and drafts. Upon reflection I recognized that this idiosyncrasy derives from the same place as my total inability to make a mistake on a page of handwriting (I will start over again if I do). Upon further reflection I realized that this is the same impulse that paralyzes me.
but I am winning the battle against the neurosis! now I am writing terrible and incoherent sentences like the following
it is part of a larger impulse in Chinese society in which “a woman was nothing unless she was validated through kinship relations with a male” [citation??] – as daughter, wife, mother, etc., this seems to be the same in the Nazim sense, but there is more agency in that being a wife is not sufficient for dignity & elevation of status: only motherhood is & woman can increase status by proclaiming herself Mother of so-and-so
shifting paragraphs here and there, and (good lord) wholly inattentive to grammar. and I am totally proud! even if I am still compelled to put all this in a separate file from the perilous Thesis.doc, very clearly labelled DRAFT.
feel free to share any writing idiosyncrasies, if you have any 🙂