I had trouble deciding on a title for what I had nicknamed Sir Thesis of Doom, because everything is more ridiculous and giggle-provoking by adding “of Doom” to the end. I narrowed the choices down to two and then polled a few of the fantastic people who participate in National Novel Writing Month here in Boston. They all voted for the title I had been leaning towards, and so my thesis is now officially entitled “Paper Turtles.”
Editing my thesis turned into quite the adventure in self-discovery, or at least in sussing out how I best edit. The answer turned out to be rather odd. I tried to edit at my desk or sitting on one of my comfy armchairs. I got some done. I turned on the occasional movie or TV series in the background. Still, progress crawled.
After deciding I wanted to fiddle with edits on printed manuscripts and in my journal, I set the computer down on the red footstool. Progress on the computer had slowed to a drunken snail’s pace. I turned on the TV and played a miniseries adaption of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel that happens to have a great soundtrack and is just very pretty. I noticed a couple quick edits I needed to enter into the word doc, so I sat on the floor in front of the laptop rather than bend really far forward to reach it where it rested on the footstool. To my left, the pile of not-yet-edited essays covered in blue and green handwritten notes covered a patch of tan carpet, and to my right was the pile of essays I’d finished with.
I decided I wanted a beer. I wandered into the kitchen and poured a Scottish ale into a glass tipped at an angle to keep the beer from being too foamy, still thinking about the essay I’d started to edit. Something clicked in my brain. I took the beer back into the living room and set the glass down on the black end table next to black-and-white armchair and sat on the floor in front of the computer again. I picked up my wireless keyboard, and started typing, half listening to the BBC miniseries.
Four hours, two beer, and four episodes of Victorian drama later, I had almost three whole essays finished. Notes had been incorporated, hand-written scenes culled from journal, formatting issues fixed, and assorted spelling and grammar problems dealt with. Apparently I just need to sit on the floor and slowly sip a beer in order to successfully edit big projects.
The next night I repeated the process, only with an addictive, angsty drama I do not consider to be good streaming on my laptop. The main reason I continue subscribing to Netflix may be that it stays full screen on my television while I use other programs on my laptop screen. Most of the free sites won’t stay in fullscreen on one screen while I’m interacting with the other, the cheap bastards.
I find it amusing that my editing process involves beer (albeit not enough to even make me tipsy) when I can’t write worth shit if I’m having even minute amounts of alcohol. Evidently my muse is a bit finicky and a not-so-closet beer snob.
The thesis is finally all edited. I turned in an electronic copy on Friday and I’ll have to stop by campus Monday morning to drop off the hardcopies in my professors’ campus mailboxes. My thesis defense is set for December 1st. The end is in sight! I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of lull, where I can work on projects I’d mostly set aside while I finished my thesis and applied for programs to teach abroad.