Oh man it’s been a long time. Too long. Embarrassingly long. I mean this in all kinds of ways. Let me count the angst. The last I checked in we were leaving that town. Town of winter and misanthropy and longing for beautiful things and missing family and missing the ocean and if only i could just get back to vancouver it would all be alright, but also town of finally standing on my own feet and filling my life with good people and being supported by these people and working with purpose. Oh gosh, those were days, some good and some bad. It’s been a long time, blog. I hope I don’t leave again, but I can’t promise anything.
During the months I’ve been gone, I’ve thought about writing. I debated posting updates and telling you what I’d been up to. I wanted to tell you how our drive across the country was. I thought you would want to know how totally grueling it was to drive for four days, battling weather, and prairies, and a final day of 22 hours without a driving break to get to Kelowna where we stopped for five more days. There I unpacked my computer and began to write again. On the fifth day I finished my last chapter and proudly proclaimed I was done(!) my thesis (!), even without an intro or a conclusion or anything. Then we got to Vancouver and Veronica called to say that chapter was shite and I would have to start again. I cried. We moved.
We live on the east side. It’s dangerously close to Burnaby, and that isn’t even in our town. We took a basement suite that had been fully decked out with the comforts of home and was available right away. The suite seemed pretty and moving sooner meant we could get off Judah’s floor. It’s been great, but it’s dark, and it’s cold at night, and I feel far away from the things I came home for. Also, sometimes when I’m out in the day, if it’s really nice, I cannot bear to come home to the cover of darkness. Checklist for a new apartment grows: Windows, light, some small outdoor space, an office nook, and do you take cats? Anywhere between Clark and Oak, above broadway.
I took a job in a restaurant. It has given me some freedom. I have a bit of money, so I can shop again. Also the evening hours provided me with some ability to write during the day. It was writing all day and working all night that finally resulted in me finally finishing my thesis on the 2nd of January 2011 (between the months of July and January I would proclaim I was done exactly twice, each time receiving a new set of revisions with new directions for improving the argument). Working helped to divide my attention and ensure that I remained a social person. Occasionally during the process I would get calls from irritable family members who seemed to not to understand that working on my thesis meant hoeing potatoes until it was done. Hoeing potatoes, as in ‘keep your head down and continue with the endless and minor revisions until everything is complete, or potato season is over — whichever happens first.
I thought it would never end. Two weeks before Christmas I called Kama crying. The revisions kept coming. The criticism was hard and I told Kama I felt like this thesis was ruining my life. I took a week off to celebrate the holidays (difficult for different reasons) and came back to it after boxing day. I wrote the conclusion, I re-wrote the introduction, I got over the feeling of failure that washed over me when looking at the 50+ pages of writing that Doug had crossed out — literally a big black X. I just did what they told me to do. Obedient me, I finished in a hotel room while the McCloskey’s skied on new years day.
Then waiting. Waiting, waiting. The external gets it, likes it. Voila! Like that, I find myself travelling back in time to Peterborough. I’m with the boys from my class — gosh they’re nice — and it’s cold again, and there is beer. It’s like nothing changed. Except it did and I did too. I defended with success. I’m done. Now what?
Last week, my friend Jesse wrote me and asked me if I am experiencing the same sense of nihilism that he said hit him post-defense. At the time, I said no. But today? I don’t want to do anything. It’s too soon to pick up new projects. I’m exercising but not today. I feel troubled and swamped when I have even the slightest obligation. I feel restless and locked away and honestly a little sad. But no solutions. I’m just waiting and blogging.