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A place to process for those entangled in the writing process, a space to share insights for those who have completed this magna opus, and a forum to bounce off ideas for those looking down the road at the journey they are about to undertake.

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  • My dissertation,
    I am slowly coming to realize,
    Has become my inconstant lover.
    I spent every available moment with him,
    Pouring my soul into our time together,
    Ruminating about him when we are separated.
    There are times when I just can't face him,
    Most often when I have sent him to be with her,
    And he has come back changed,
    In some ways, unrecognizable to me.
    At those times, it takes days for me to come to grips
    With where he has been and what they have become.
    Soon, however, my life force kicks in
    And I am ready to get on with my life,
    A life he is very much a part of at present.
    I could disassociate myself from him,
    Rage,
    Scream,
    Cry,
    But he is my focus right now;
    So I incorporate what she has contributed
    To his sense of wellbeing and move forward.
    But why?
    Although I am completely devoted to him,
    At this moment in time,
    He is not really mine
    And, in my heart of hearts,
    I do not want him to be.
    Perhaps he is the son I never had;
    The radiant divine child of my dreams
    With whom I have been impregnanted
    By a Magnificant Luminescent Being
    This truth is beginning to reveal itself
    Peeling back the veils of deception.
    Yes, I have gestated this sweet being
    For years and years
    During those dreams and visions
    Of merging with a numinous Being
    Of radiating light.
    With this understanding,
    I can prepare him
    To go out in the world
    And to be of service.
    Perhaps he is the one
    Who dances us into being.
  • Thanks, Bonnie, for extending the invitation! My thoughts are with all of you as you prep . . . There really is life after COMPS!
  • Wow! Setting parameters and personal confession . . .

    I am in the tangle of both of these issues, even as I write this! My dissertation is already 199 pp. and I am still writing the last three chapters AND mine is a creative dissertation with a production . . . So, I am NO authority on setting limits! However, what has worked for me is to be very specific with the research questions, because that narrows the scope of the inquiry. The more broad we are, the more universal and less concentrated or watered down the data. I guess you could say: KNOW what you want to KNOW! As other projects arise, pursue them if you must, but don't include them in your dissertation.

    Ed certainly offers some clear guidance regarding confession. What I have found is that it is a delicate high wire balancing act to share personal stories or, in my case, dreams. However, for me, my dream is the basis of the dream dance I choreographed for my creative dissertation. Therefore, the dream is part of the data. What I have determined is NOT part of the data is my personal associations to the dream. When it seems relevant, I include my amplifications, which lead to the dream choreography. Still, it is an act of disernment that can become foggy with my closeness to it all. So far, my advisor has really been a great aid in this process. I will probably call on a couple of close friends to read segments of these last couple chapters to help me determine whether or not I am crossing the line between sharing experience in the hope of brightening someone else path vs. self-indulgent, narcissistic rambing! So, you have opened the discussion with really challenging issues.
  • Gabrielle, as to confession, I have wondered about the self-serving aspect of confession, in other words, a confession that remains part of a complex rather than leading to an eventual incorporation and release from the complex. I guess even confessing can be a behavior out of a complex. In slightly more theological terms, I've thought that a true confessional experience is the first stage of redemption/transformation. In using the word "deep," I'm inclined to say that a confession of depth is one that invites and enables transformation. I am not really sure that a true confession can come from a place "deeper" than the transformational potential constellated with it.
  • Bonnie recently emailed all her cohort to tell them of this group, so maybe, after we all finish comps. we may have more fellow travelors.
  • So I guess I'll chime in with two dissertation queries for contemplation and opinion... Jeanne, how did you control the size of your work? By that I mean when the ideas are coming fast and furious, how do you temper the scope of your project? I'm doing an eco-phenomenological project, but opportunities are coming up that could vastly expand my parameters. It doesn't help that this is also a production piece that's requiring my own artwork. Any suggestions? My other musing is on anyone's opinion on the line that crosses into confession...when do you think deep enough is deep enough? Sooo grateful for this space! The isolation can weigh heavily at times. Warmly, Gabrielle
  • I am thrilled to sense the circle expanding. I can say from nearly two years of doing this "dissertation dance," that it can be a very lonely solo experience. It is my desire for us to companion each other through the process, from the sharing of early ideas to the celebration on the day of our dissertation defenses. Please invite fellow pilgrims!
  • Love the title though, at this point, I can only handle a two-step dance.
    Hopefully, I'll get the beat down soon, but I've got two more years...
  • Such a great idea for a group, Jeanne! I'm not quite there yet, but topics are starting to claim their spaces in the fallout. I'm thrilled to think there is a supportive container where we're all essentially in the same boat and/or have just been through it. Knowing the power of many minds together, I have no doubt this will be a valuable space. Thank you!
  • It is such an all consuming experience to be in dialogue with ourselves. A PhD psychologist friend of mine asked, "Why the hell did you have to tie your dissertation to your individuation?" Brilliant question! Of course, some of my colleagues at Berry College are happy to share the "war" stories of their dissertation sagas. Perhaps the most concrete feedback I have gotten is: "The only good dissertation is a finished dissertation!" So, let's all keep slugging away!
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