A brief introduction

Hello all. I decided I should stop lurking and finally introduce myself. I am Ruth and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I moved here in 2006 from Seattle, in order to pursue a graduate degree in English. My focus as a scholar is medieval British literature. I am currently working on my doctoral exams and my master’s thesis. Despite the academic nature of my current incarnation, I truly would prefer to focus on non-academic writing.

My writing interests are as varied as my reading interests. I have a draft of a mystery novel in a drawer, something I should eventually revise but can’t quite bring myself to resurrect. Frankly, I’d rather put a stake through that particular project’s heart. I also have a bit of interest in fantasy novels. I’m a fan of historical fiction as well. And, I enjoy writing poetry, although I rarely share it with others.

I noticed on another portion of the L&L forums that some are involved with the NaNoWriMo. I have not attempted it before but am considering doing so this year, despite the looming deadline for my master’s thesis. For those with a bit more writing experience, am I completely nuts to consider two writing projects that have nothing to do with one another? I have wondered if the two projects might actually help one another, allowing me to use both the academic and creative writing skills. Since the creative side has been quashed for the academic in recent years, I’m thinking the NaNo process might help breathe some life back into my writing.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: It depends on the writer. Some can’t handle more than one at once; some (like me) juggle multiple comparable-but-different worlds/stories at once. (And, after years of doing this, I’m realizing that though I can juggle three first-person narrators in my head okay, four is too many at once.)

I had to read this more than one time to realize it was the narrative you were juggling and not head. I was getting all excited until then. Up until that point I thought that maybe, just possibly, I you might have had my missing head. sigh

Hello rfsimon. There are sane folks like you around here, and then there is vic-k. He is a bit batty. Watch out for him. Since you have been lurking, you probably know this already.

As to the “two project” question, I might suggest that the thesis should be prioritized. If you do decide to “go both ways” you might want to make sure that you are spending time on the thesis that is equivalent to or greater than the time spent on nanoo-nanoo (think ork). You are kind of paying folks to make sure you get that done.

But then again, what do I know? I’m just an uneducated hick.

Hello Ruth,

Welcome to the forum. Do not ignore jaysen or vic, for beneath their crusty and batty exteriors beat hearts of lead. No, in fact they can be very helpful, most of all when indulging in goofiness.

I work both as scholar and creative writer, so I sympathize with your plight. If I were you, I’d put 80% of your time into that thesis, and only 20% into poetry or stories. Instead of Nanny NoGo, or whatever it’s called, I’d set yourself an equally taxing schedule for the thesis and finish that gem exactly six months from now, in early April. That should leave enough time for revision and submission for a June degree. If you want to go on for a doctorate, your faculty will want to see that kind of deliberate progress.

Wherever you go after that, you will have time for creative writing. If you work at it steadily, it will only get better as you see and do more living. But the ability to produce a solid contribution to scholarship is not an eternal gift. That’s why so many profs burn out after tenure and never produce a second book or set of essays. They will tell you it’s because of all their committee work, which only goes to prove my point.

Good luck, full speed ahead, and ignore all distractions, at least this year. --D :open_mouth:

Hi Ruth,

Welcome to the forums.

I am a Southren man. I can nat geeste ‘rum, ram, ruf,’ by lettre! (Actually I’m technically from the Midlands which was rife with alliterative poetry in the Fourteenth, but hey.)

I studied medieval British literature for my MA and (aborted) PhD, too. Which aspect? I love the Gawain poet and other fourteenth-century alliterative poetry, but obviously Chaucer overshadows the lot (unless you’re a Langland sort of person - I can certainly sympathise with him, spending his whole life trying to perfect one manuscript).

All the best,

Hi Everyone,

First, thank you all for your kind welcome. And, for the suggestions regarding my two projects. I greatly appreciate it.

Keith, like you, I’m a fan of the alliterative fourteenth-century poets. Langland and the Gawain-poet have a great deal of allure, although Chaucer does overshadow them, sadly. Not to take anything away from Chaucer’s brilliance but the discipline does elevate him at the expense of his contemporaries. I’m also fascinated by the anonymous “Mum and the Sothsegger”, one of the texts often lumped into the “Piers Plowman Tradition” by medievalists.


Hi Ruth, welcome aboard! My name is Alison and I studied journalism at university (along with graphic art and photography), but then spent the rest of my life doing media, advertising and design. I have two books stuck inside me at the moment, and need some kind of verbal laxative to ease them out. I find that Vic-k is a great help in that regard.

I also like to avoid all discussions that head into the cerebral, as my input tends to make me look ditsy, and I have to look up the big words. Did I mention that one of the two books is a children’s book? I should have.

Add it to your avatar. Use little tiny letters. :stuck_out_tongue: