Thursday, 2 May 2013

first stop - reading

A couple of times a month I leave the pocket of rural England I currently call home and get on a train to the big smoke for PhD supervision and library raids.  That's what I did yesterday and travelling back via Reading (dappled pink sky, May blossom softening the urban edges of the M4 corridor), I realised that I'd reached my own particular station stop on this PhD journey.  My supervisor had advised me to stop reading (for the time being) and start writing my Lit Review chapter.  
To my surprise, my first reaction was regret!  Last autumn, the idea of 'reading for a year' seemed a) ridiculous, b) impossible, c) profoundly indulgent.  But 'reading' has turned out to mean so much more.  Reading has meant grappling with new technological know how and the virtual abundance of library resources; becoming strategic about database searches and library book renewal; working out an effective notetaking/filing system; learning how to to navigate the highways, short cuts, dead ends and voyages of discovery in every bibliography; discovering the joy of indexes; not being afraid of sentences that begin: A lack of corporeal finality arises from a mutual inherence between psychical interior and corporeal exterior...*; analysing, connecting and getting past the authoritative voices in my field; expressing their relevance to my research in my own words, tentatively at first, then with increasing confidence...
If I'm honest, I'd like at least another six months.  But it's on to the next station stop. 
*McNay, L. (1999) Theory Culture Society, 16:98

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