Until now, my Second Supervisor has not had a look in here but a few weeks back we met for a scheduled lunch. We had to catch up on several aspects of mutual interest, not least of which is a long overdue paper for Irish Geography on digital parish mapping. Among the chat, one of his phrases stands out as most especially relevant to today’s post: “anyone can write chapters; to write the thesis, that’s another matter”. To this end, he said, people often write the introduction and concluding remarks together.
Since then a new way of thinking about the 90,000 or so words that I have written for this thesis has come into view. It is that I have written chapters as discrete blocks of work and writing and not so much about the entirety of the argument and discussion that i am presenting in the thesis. It might be a simple gestalt switch but it has never struck me as forcefully as it did that lunchtime.
So today, after some anxiety about handing over the entire corpus written thus far, I delivered to him a print out of the introduction, chapters one through six and a provisional bibliography. It is by no means finalised and there will be much crafting between now and Valentine’s Day 2014. The diagrams and images used need re-titling and the small matter of the dreaded continuous pagination is also a focus for some work over the New Year. However, the Second Supervisor has alluded to something that The Supervisor has had in his view all along: the entire thesis, visualised in his head as a print out of real weight. Strange feelings.