Come So Far/Got So Far to Go

Tomorrow is the day, the dreaded day. The series finale of Nightmares in Dissertation Writing. I will not share with what anguish the series was binged and with what agony each episode progressed, but here we are. I made it, and none the worse for it, I think.

I can say without reservation that writing this dissertation has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. Partially because writing a dissertation is difficult, but mostly because I have apparently gone insane this summer in such a way as to make doing work nearly impossible. Suffice to say that more than being pleased with the final product, I am pleased that there is a final product. In the same measure as I have been stressed, I am now overjoyed. Well, overjoyed might be putting it a bit strongly. But you know, relieved. In all honesty, though, I am really glad it’s over. It’s been a trying experience, to be sure, but it’s also been an adventure and it’s hard for me not to love adventures.

A major thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me, I am so very, very grateful. I honestly could not have done it without you. I love you all. And a special thank you to my incredible mother who, having read that I was missing my blanket, literally mailed it to me so I could hide under it when the need arose.

Now that I’ve got that covered, I wanted to say a few things about the state of the blog. I started this blog for two reasons. The first was because I was moving 4,500 miles to live in another country for a year.

So here we are, a year on. And that reason for writing a blog is close to expiry. I have one week left in Ireland. But I find myself wanting to continue writing. I’ve so enjoyed this blog, writing to you all about my doings and hearing back from you and just having a weekly chat with whoever feels like stopping by on here. I won’t get into the whole ‘millennials-are-narcissistic’ thing (for just so many reasons) and I’ve already admitted I’m perhaps more than a bit vain. But.

The point is this: I’m going to continue writing. Things will probably be less exciting overall, as I won’t be in Ireland come  3 September, but then again, my life never was particularly exciting most of my time here anyway. Because the second reason I started this blog was because I just wanted to. I wanted to journal, to say what I liked to more than the four walls of my room.

Initially, I expected putting it online would allow people to hold me accountable if I missed a week. Instead, I found myself very much looking forward to writing each week and sharing my thoughts and musings and whatever else I felt like writing. And, of course, the cat pictures. So in truth, my reason for writing is nonperishable.

The name of this blog, Journeyman, alluded both to the fact that I was on a journey and that I was seeking to become a master. But, honestly, it was also probably a bit of my trite philosophy coming through–life is a journey, or so I’ve heard. And, near as I can tell, no one manages to become a master in the brief space of a lifetime. We’re all perpetual journeymen.

Лесная Дорога

From the Prokudin-Gorskii Collection at the Library of Congress. Rural Russia, ca. 1905-1915

And thus, whether you want it to or not, this blog will continue into the indefinite future. I’m sticking to once a week (probs Thursdays still). If you’re less concerned with my life after Ireland, no one’s forcing you to stay. But I’ll  be here, speaking into the vast void of the internet, alone if necessary, until further notice.

Hobey ho, let’s go.

That Song Is Actually About Me

Here we are, the first week of February, the beginning of the end. End in every sense: the program is turning toward the dissertation and so one thinks of what’s next, my mind is turning toward the dissertation and so I’m going insane, and February’s basically August, yeah? It’s a dark time coming home on Thursday evenings this term. It’s dark out (though this week we celebrated sunset after 5 o’clock!), I’m super hungry, and I’ve just finished Research Methods which is, obviously, incredibly depressing in a way that my other classes are not. Anyway, it comes down to this: I’m presenting next week in Research Methods, detailing my dissertation question, background, relevant theoretical literature, methodology, and anticipated difficulties. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Because those are things that I know here, in the first week of February.

I’ve never been so upset to be a native English speaker. And I only have myself to blame, but still. I desperately want to be at least bilingual. For so many reasons, but at the moment, at least, because the topics I have in mind are all about minority European languages. None of which I speak. Ugh. Whatever, I’ll get over it. I hope.

Anyway, this past week. Australia Day (observed) was a great success, I thought. My truffles went over swimmingly, which was a relief because their making wasn’t quite heartening. I also had a toothpick worth of kangaroo which was delicious. It was rich and flavorful and just wonderful–sort of like steak, in my estimation. Also, there was Vegemite. Now I’ve never had Vegemite, but I’ve had Marmite (the English version) and while some may contend that they are significantly different, I would contend otherwise. They’re the same, I promise you. Anyway, there were these Vegemite-Ham-Cheese rolls that looked like cinnamon rolls (so you have a visual). They were fabulous in every way, I never expected to like them but I ate like four. So that was all-around lovely.

Now because these posts seem to be so dark lately, I’ll catch up a bit on my bloggerly duty and include some cats. Because cats cats cats cats cats.


They were feeling cooperative, apparently, and managed to get in one picture. Though I will say that, while far from chummy, they do snuggle near each other with some frequency. So I hope you’re feeling a bit better, I know I am.

I don’t know about you guys, but I certainly get a lot out of this blog. Not necessarily because I say anything much, but because I just really enjoy it. I’ve at various points in my life fancied myself a fledgling author (fiction only, friends) and while this is no novel, it is fun to have a place to write willy-nilly each week. Also, just so you know, willy is underlined as misspelled but nilly is not. What does nilly mean. Anyway, I’m sure it takes some amount of vanity to write for a real audience, and certainly I’m a bit vain, but hey, love the skin you’re in. I really do enjoy writing this blog and I look forward to it all week, mulling over titles, fun facts, and various other points I consider writing about. Of course, when it comes to it, the vast majority of that either utterly escapes me or I decide to do something totally unrelated. But I really do enjoy the whole process. So I hope you’re getting a little something more out of this than the occasional life updates and cat pictures. If you aren’t, though, I’m kind of over it.

Also, some of you may know this already (shoutout to my AP Lit class) but there were originally eight deadly sins, the eighth being vainglory. As I understand it, vainglory is essentially pride or vanity, though I also think there’s usually an element of other people involved. Like, you’re seeking approval or you gain pride by putting other people down. At some point along the line, some pope (who I’m assuming was super vainglorious) was like, “Nah, that’s not really a deadly sin. Let’s just have the seven.” So there you have it. That’s a verbatim historical account of how that went down.

Not much else to report this week (as ever). I’m getting pumped for a trip to Amsterdam at the end of the month during reading week. That should be a lot of fun, might also take a day trip down to Antwerp because it’s handy and fun to say. We’re also celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend, year of the monkey. Lots of holidays, yay. In other news, the weather is still sweater weather (as predicted) and generally chilly and rainy and windy.

That’s all I have. Enjoy the cats and I’ll be back next week, same bat time, same bat channel.

Written Words

Libraries will get us through times of no money better than money will get us through times of no libraries.

I don’t recall when or where I first heard that, but golly it has always rung true to me. Sort of an odd place to start a post, but believe me when I tell you that it is both relevant to current Keegan happenings and pertinent to current Keegan musings. Just bear with me.

First, in the most topical sense, Trinity’s Old Library is glorious. Consistently rated one of the most beautiful in the world and, I believe, the largest single-chamber library in the world. Interestingly, books aren’t arranged by any library system, but by size so as to maximize use of the space. Also houses the famous and gorgeous Book of Kells and one of the oldest Irish harps remaining in existence. Fun fact, Trinity is still a legal deposit library for the UK, which means that they get a copy of every single book published anywhere in the British Isles. Something like two thousand a week, or some crazy number like that. Wow.

But also, a little more directly to my life, I got a city library card on Saturday (don’t ask why I don’t just use Trinity’s, it’s complicated). Anyway, I’ve basically been holed up in my room reading contentedly for the past week. I mean, I have continued to explore and had ‘orientation,’ my time has been reading. And trust me, orientation was very boring, my actual course meeting is this Monday. Currently reading my third book since Saturday, having enjoyed all of them. So I just wanted to put in a good word for libraries because they are amazing places. A thousand dreams and a thousand lives, escapism, realism, fantasy, reality; books are the magic of this world. No offense (but actually kind of…) I have never been understood people who don’t read. You don’t have to read any particular type of book or with any particular frequency, but everyone should read. It makes us better than we were before.

So there are some words about reading. But, you’ll say, the title is about writing. What do you have to say about that?

Well, in fact, quite a bit. I enjoy writing (even blogs, as I’m learning). But there’s something particularly special about words that have actually been written. Like, physically, pen-to-paper written. Some of you may know that I write letters on occasion, and it’s something that I find a great deal of pleasure in– both composing and receiving. My grandmother sent me here with a story she had written up about my great great grandfather, who came from England with an eighth grade education and beame one of the most influential people in Pocatello, Idaho. He strikes me as someone who would have written a great deal of very eloquent letters. Naturally, I sent her a letter telling her how much I appreciated it and how I was doing here so far. Eloquent, maybe not, but I did so enjoy writing it nonetheless. An underappreciated mode of communication in an age of ample technological means of communication (says the man writing a blog). As such, I think it conveys particular sincerity and care.

So here’s my challenge for you this week: write something and send it off. Not just a quick note, either. A full page, at least, a real letter. Mind you, I struggle to do this too. But just do one. Send it to a coworker you particularly appreciate or a friend you have been meaning to thank, but keep forgetting. Or a special someone to show them they are on your mind (a certain Enchanted song comes to mind–that’s how you know). Trust me, it will make a difference for both of you. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, just honest.

Anyway, musings for the day. Take them or leave them. Fresher’s week starts on Monday. Not much else to report. Until next time.