Everything about this fall feels different than the past two I’ve experienced in Chicago. I’m no longer trying to figure out how to balance coursework and daily life or spending over twelve hours a week in class. I’m rushing from internship to job and home again, looking for any time in between to work on my thesis. And while I’m doing all that rushing, instead of being bundled up against the cold, I’m enjoying the 70-degree weather while it lasts.
Maybe things aren’t all THAT different, because instead of trying to balance my course load and daily life, I’m now balancing my jobs, internship, thesis, and regular old living. So where does a busy thesis year student have time to write that thesis?
Luckily for me (and unbeknownst to me at the time) I’ve been working on my thesis each year I’ve been in the program. Right now, I’m primarily focusing on revising and reworking essays I’ve written in prior semesters that speak to the overall concept of my thesis collection. I have some new essay ideas in the hopper, but right now I’m focusing on reading and cultivating those ideas while working through some older material.
My thesis collection covers a lot of ground, but if I were to be as brief (and probably as cryptic) as possible it involves the following themes/threads: female storytelling, technology, memory, identity, and what it means to be haunted—not necessarily by metaphysical apparitions, but by what remains of history and narrative.
I’m focusing on finding the right forms and approaches to delve into some of my newer materials, borrowing a lot from a project I did over the summer that involved image and text that was written completely on my typewriter. I’ve been working with old photographs and family heirlooms, using them for both reference and form.
It’s an adventure and constantly evolving, and while in many ways I feel just as busy as I was when I was doing my coursework, I’m enjoying the process as I discover new connections between my past work, the ideas that I keep coming back to, and new ideas I discover as I read both books and artifacts. BUT, I can’t say I’m not looking forward to all that free time during winter break where I’ll be able to pull marathon writing sessions and devote entire days to this project.