I think I can keep these balls up in the air! Maybe even add a couple more...

I'm baaa-aack! What have I been up to since I've been gone all this while?

Ever since early-Feb my life has been so nomadic that I felt like I was on a whirlwind tour - kind of like a rock star on tour without groupies and music...okay can I count participants as groupies if they *loved* the dissertation topic to the point where they're still in touch with me?

So what exactly have I been up to? As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, I was traveling in the South Asian region finishing up field research. I wouldn't say it's finished because the snowball gathered its own momentum and there are so many new folks to talk to or those I've spoken with at least once but could revisit - however, I'm putting a temporary stop to it since I know have enough to hopefully write some kick-ass chapters, precisely chapters 3, 5, and 6 (+ maybe 7 if I split this one up into two - time will tell). I'll definitely go back once I start working on the book manuscript - in fact I'm very excited about the prospect of doing that. Came back to the North American side of the Atlantic and went to the Big Disciplinary Conference - I'm sure there will be a post or two about that in the coming weeks and days. Last week I (finally!) started catching my breath and spent some quality time with my parents and friends outside my academic/Ph.D. existence. Till yesterday I felt like I was playing catch up but this morning I feel less dislocated and ready to tackle unfinished projects. I feel human again - how come?

1. Slept in till really late this morning. It was much needed to not feel like my body was in another time zone. I think I could have achieved it yesterday had it not been for Daylight Savings time!

2. Now that I've had some distance from it, I'm beginning to get some clarity re: the stuff that came in all of the interviews I've done over the last couple of years. I can see the dissertation taking some kind of concrete shape - although I'll admit I have no clue what directions I'll end up going in as I resume writing.

3. A colleague (whom I really respect intellectually and value as a friend) - let's call him "Sweet Potato" so that he knows who he is - and I sat down on Saturday and committed to a deadline for the first completed draft of 'The Dissertation' and ongoing dates to exchange each chapter as we work our way there. With the field research done and the postdoc applications cycle behind me (that wasn't very successful but I'm over it without being overwhelmingly under it in the first place!) I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...I know I can finish and perhaps take gradual/in-between stabs at that little thing called life while I'm working my way there.

4. I'm determined to be the person I want to be but am sometimes to lazy to live up to. Over the last couple of years, thanks to even the most trying of life experiences, I've in a sense rediscovered myself and feel rejuvenated in a strange way...like I'm back to who I was but definitely wiser and the happier, optimistic person I'm more used to being. Of course that sounds much more magical and free-floating than that whole thing was....let me rephrase: I figured out that life wasn't really kicking my ass, I was...and I found a way to stop it all. Don't ask me what the turning point was - it was a whole bunch of them. Let's just say I'm not carrying any excess baggage (and those unwanted pounds symbolic of that time will be gone soon too!).

All in all it feels like the calm after the storm - nothing clamoring for attention in ways that I feel I want to tear my hair out (of course got a fancier haircut that makes me feel like there is more to me than an ABD working feverishly towards Ph.D!) and re-energized by the stuff that emerged from my interviews and archival research this time round. Umm knock on wood people?!

Time to get back to work but I did want to post an update so that my MIA status from this blog was no more. Stay tuned - I'll be posting with a fair amount of regularity as I resume the writing part of dissertating.

Current deadline: April 16 for a chapter on films relevant to my dissertation topic.
Reward for finishing: hopefully attending a conference on my dissertation topic across the pond later this month and spending time with a very dear friend whom I haven't seen for I think 4 years now (fingers crossed).


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