Moral support

There’s good news and there’s bad news on the dissertation front. First, the bad news.

Yesterday I broke my laptop.

Well, more accurately, I lost two keys on my laptop. I was working at the library at Keene State, and I was severely sleep deprived. I had a huge stack of books I was going through one by one by one as I revised Chapter 1, the intro to my entire dissertation.

In the course of double-checking research citations, I grabbed one book and BAM dropped it right on my laptop keyboard. The “T” key and the “menu” key went flying off in opposite directions. Oops…

Now, I don’t think I’ve EVER used my “menu” key. But my “T” key is an essential bit: after all, nearly all of my chapters talk about Henry David Thoreau (henceforth referred to as “Horeau”), and this intro chapter talks about H.D. Horeau alongside Mary Austin (henceforth referred to as Mary Ausin).

So if I had to choose a key to sacrifice to the Computer Gods, it’s not like “T” would be the one I’d choose. Why not X, Z, or Q, for instance?

But, now for the good news…actually, several bits of good news. Last night was Chris’s birthday, so Chris’s brother took us out for a wonderful meal at the best restaurant in Keene. When we got home from being wined & dined, I planned to stay up finishing up that Chapter 1 revision before emailing it off to my committee. And believe me, I tried…

Ultimately, though, the influence of good food and fine wine cannot be denied. Around 9 o’clock I set that chapter aside, went to bed, and slept until 6 am. Yep, that’s nine hours of sound, oblivion-like sleep, which is exactly what I needed. I got up this morning, put the finishing touches on that chapter, and sent it to my committee. Today’s task is to revise Chapter 6, my conclusion, and email that first thing tomorrow. Then I format the entire diss, and then I draft my presentation for Monday…

I’m behind on my original schedule, I don’t have a “T” on my keyboard, and I still could use about a week’s worth of sleep. But looking at the world the morning after nine hours of sleep, life is good. The chapter I sent this morning isn’t perfect–they never are–but it’s pretty damn good. I’m proud of it, and I won’t mind reading parts of it at my defense on Monday. And after Monday, I can sleep and sleep and sleep some more…

And life without a “T” ain’t that bad. I’m slowly getting used to fingering the bare keypad. Once the diss is done and submitted, I’ll see about getting it repaired; in the meantime, nobody’s coming between me and my laptop. Chris already tried to fix the missing key, and he’s already offered to switch laptops with me, but I’m used to this one: we’ve seen many early mornings, late nights, and countless words, words, words (and millions of T’s) together. The two of us, my laptop and I, are going to make it to Monday’s deadline even if we have to lose the occasional bit or piece along the way.

In the meantime, the task for today is to revise Chapter 6, the conclusion, which considers texts by Leslie Marmon Silko, Aldo Leopold, and Terry Tempest Williams…henceforth referred to as Erry Empes Williams.

And after that, I think I’m going to allow myself another full night’s sleep. You know the best thing about sleeping for a full nine hours?

You don’t need a “T” to do it.