Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sarah Maclachlan and the Old English Orosius



So my monster of a first chapter has been in the revision stage since sometime in August. It's on the Old English Orosius, which might have been my first mistake: the Orosius is a text that is endlessly fascinating in the abstract, but the moment one starts actually close reading all six books of Old English prose, one realizes that it's very difficult to talk about -- not only because of its size, but also because of its relationship with the Latin Historiarum Adversum Paganos.

I've been told a part of the problem with the first chapter of a dissertation is that there is still an immense degree of fluctuation between what's necessary to a chapter and what will eventually become a part of the introduction to the dissertation as a whole. I've found this to be overwhelmingly the case. Confronted with the whole of Orosius criticism plus a large chunk of translation theory, it rapidly becomes very difficult to decide what piece of information goes where, and what should be left until I go back to the beginning in a year or so, and write the "big I" introduction. I'm still not quite clear on what the relation is, though I've made the breakthrough that needed to happen in terms of both my thinking and my writing. More on that another time.

There is, however, one thing I'm certain of on this day of wintry-mix, sleet and snow that makes me understand the Wanderer far too well: music. I don't normally work with music on in the background, because I find it vaguely distracting (a result of too much work towards a music minor in undergraduate). Today, however, I realized that my favorite music from high school -- Sarah Maclachlan's Mirrorball album -- is apparently the key to getting into a writing groove. And there you have it. It's not just for emo teenagers anymore.

8 comments:

Sarah said...

I often write to music (I find that if nothing else it drowns out less structured sound) but if I had to write to Sarah, I would have to go with _Fumbling Towards Ecstasy_.

Kári said...

“It's not just for emo teenagers anymore.”

That's as may be, but I would nevertheless posit that it might still just be for former emo teenagers.

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