"Now is the winter of our discontent…"

“…made glorious summer by this son of York.”

Still possibly one of my most favourite Shakespeare plays (I’m a sucker for a fiendish villain, but even Iago doesn’t come close to old Crookshanks). Why start with a piece of Shakespeare? Probably because Richard sums up my antipathy and bitterness fairly well.

I’m still stuck with the writing. I think, for all his promises of still making time for his PhD students – even though on leave, my supervisor hasn’t. And they all tell me that I’m “so organised and don’t seem to have any troubles with my research” and that “we don’t see you as being desperately unhappy with the situation.” Huh. Well excuse me for not looking like I fit the status quo. I’m stuck, I’m isolated, and I’ve started to wonder if I may care more for my knitting than the fact that every time I attempt to think about how much I haven’t done (read burnout), I stress myself into a state and can’t do anything anyway. And I may sound calm, collected, and that I have it all under control when I’m talking to a panel member/random academic that I meet in the corridor and chalk that up to academic interaction, but that doesn’t mean I do have it all under control.

Actually, I lie. It took me 3 months, but I have my revised TOC for my panel – 6 chapters at roughly 15,000 words per chapter, and, to my mind, it is neat, coherent, cohesive, and focused. Of course, they may think differently, but nobody is available for contact now, are they? I have my central theme, my ideas, my millions of books still to read, and issues that I’m burning to write about. But I just don’t have the energy or the drive. I’d sooner sleep than finish a sentence, and its just not getting better. There is a lovely group on Ravelry, which I find has helped (I’m not alone! yay!) But it is just trying to kick start my initiative all over again.

I have a jersey to finish, a clappy to knit and a whole bunch of baby clothes to get done and posted off to the UK, and that’s all far more pressing in my mind. I think a reordering of priorities is clearly necessary. Limiting my knitting until benchmarks are set is all good and well, but only when things are running smoothly. Knitting is my security blanket – it calms me, and thinking of limiting it in order to work stresses me out almost as much as the lack of working. Talk about your vicious cycle.

I’m going to go bury myself in books at NatLib this afternoon and tomorrow in hopes of rekindling that flame. Hopefully, it works. Otherwise, I don’t quite know what I’m going to do…

I think I need knit. Or, maybe not.
I hate monastic cell-type offices. Coffee calls, and then, maybe, the books.



  1. I don’t think you should restrict your knitting to a reward type thing. You need to knit. it keeps you calm, as you said. Is there a way you can balance both the pensky and the knitting, so you can consider knitting your “thinking time”?

  2. I second Michell’s idea. It seems that when you do postgrad research, it becomes everything and all the time. Students arent encouraged to take a break or have down time – those who go 25 hours a day are the ones who seem to be most respected, or soemthing stupid like that.

    I think you and Magpie should take a holiday – take a week, go somewhere else if you can, and dont think about the Pensky for that time.

    You can’t be all about the Pensky every second of the day.

    And finally – be kind to yourself!

  3. Seconded here. (Did I mention that I’m in the Cotswolds writing this?) You can’t hurry thinking (like love). When you are ready the writing will happen.

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