Back in thesis mode, I’m once again tied up in crazy [massively self-absorbed] theoretical knots. For the fourth time this year, I’ve lost a sense of how my chapters work, as a logical progression through particular theoretical sites. Sometimes I know exactly how it all works, but it’s a really blink and you miss it enterprise: like one of those 3D pictures. There really is no logic, actually, just a cosmetic one that looks okay in thesis plans but comes apart when I try to write it out in those required linking sentences that end up about a paragraph long. “While in Chapter Two, I argued [insert long, grammatically suspect clause], in Chapter Three I shift registers to [insert another, longer, more grammatically suspect clause].” Hysterical.
Structure, discipline, thought order… All the things I mark my first-years down for in their teensy 1500 word essays, I fail monstrously at.
I think too much. I have too many ideas, and they all shoot off into the outer atmosphere right away. It’s like when I tell people what my thesis is about, and if they’re nice they generally say, “Wow, that’s so interesting, yeah, wow,” and tell me how they’ve heard that Singapore is the gender reassignment capital of the world or whatever, random contributions to the archive of trans travel practices. This archive is busting at the seams, it’s so huge, and I have decided for some insane reason that I should be the person to file it all under headings. I’m mostly interested in the crazy stories, the tiny details, the archive; not so interested in contextualising it all, making sense of it, fitting everything in boxes. But this is what a thesis does. Or so I’ve heard. It’s like P. said, after hearing one of my ‘o-hai-here’s-a-crazy-idea-i’m-still-working-on-the-theory’ papers earlier in the year: “So exciting! Or it will be, when you tie it all down.” And the bitch is, I know this monster won’t be readable or coherent unless I do that grounding work.
It’s hard to tie down. Maybe I should just throw the whole thing out and start again.