lunabee34: (Ouida by ponders_life)
I'd make a top-level post.

I am one of those exceptionally lucky people who remain deeply in love with the author I wrote my Master's thesis and dissertation about. So many people I know emerge from their dissertation loathing the author and the texts they chose to write about; it's such an arduous process that it destroys the initial joy that inspires the academic work for a lot of people. But for me, Ouida remains as fun and fascinating as she was when I first encountered her the semester I spent as Natalie Schroeder's research assistant.

Ouida is so full of contradictions. On the one hand, she wrote deeply purple, melodramatic prose about convoluted situations. She loved to write bits of dialogue in foreign languages, and her command of them was often shaky. She was frequently derided in the press of her day for writing books that are licentious, frivolous, silly, pretentious. And yet, everyfuckingbody read her books because they were fun and funny and she could hit you in the id with such a delicious anvil. Her books are a romp. She can elicit emotion from the reader like whoa.

On the surface, she seems to hate women. Her novels contain many misogynistic statements. Male friendship is always depicted as superior to heterosexual relationships. Her heroines are mostly childlike, morally pure, boring as shit women. LOL She makes many, many misogynistic statements in her non-fiction writing about how silly and stupid women are and how transcendent men are next to the fairer sex. And yet, her female villains are powerful; they are movers and shakers; they have agency; they are freaking cool as shit--sexy and smart and the equal of the men in the novel--and they aren't always punished for their villainy. In real life, Ouida seems to believe in a kind of third sex, The Genius, who (male or female) is just better than everybody else. She clearly includes herself in this category. LOL

She is an object of pity in many ways. She made so much money; she was so rich (and entirely from her writing), and she squandered it all on hothouse flowers and entertaining and feeding a little squadron of dogs veal for every meal. She died penniless in a rented house that stank of dog piss. She could not afford burial and was only interred decently because her friends paid for it.

She knew everybody, all the glitterati and literati of her age. She invited the men to her parties and held court, smoking cigars with them instead of retiring for a sedate sherry as was customary.

She was weird and gauche and pretentious, and I love her to bitty bits.

I'd recommend starting with Strathmore which can be read for free at archive.org along with most of the rest of her novels and non-fiction writing.

P.S. That's Ouida in my icon.
lunabee34: (Ouida by ponders_life)
I got back from Oxford yesterday after successfully defending my dissertation! I am now Dr. Lorraine, She Who May Read Fanfiction Guiltlessly All the Live-Long Day! LOL

I had to make the trip by myself, which was fine except for the crushing boredom of being alone in Oxford for two days while it rained. I realized on this trip that Oxford is no place for someone without a lot of disposable income or her doctor's permission to drink. LOL The rain prevented activities like walking around the Square (which is probably for the best as I always want to buy everything) or campus for the most part, and if I wasn't pregnant, I'd probably have parked myself in a bar and nursed a drink and talked to the townies for hours. Alas, instead I parked myself in the Super 8 and watched approximately four million hours of Frasier while waiting for the defense to roll around. Note to self: you get what you pay for; Super 8, you are dead to me.

I got very nervous before the defense, but once it started, I calmed down and the whole thing felt more like a conversation between friends than it did a grilling. My committee has all gotten very old in my absence. They're all in their seventies, and I think I made the right decision to go physically to Oxford for the defense rather than doing it by phone conference. These people (with the exception of the outside reader) comprised my MA committee as well, so they've been around my entire graduate student career, and it was very gratifying to see how proud they are of me and how much they feel that my success reflects positively on them.

I got zero criticism on the dissertation. No, "here's a flaw in your logic" or "what about this thing you left out?" Everyone was very complimentary, particularly on the writing style, and I left that room feeling like a million dollars--a very tired and hungry million dollars. LOL

One question I was asked during the defense that really gave me pause was about why I chose to dedicate my academic career to Ouida. Everyone already knew the most obvious answer. I was assigned to be my director's research assistant in my first semester of grad school and she was working on a book about Ouida. I fell in love with the author in the course of helping my director put this book together, and the practical side of me also thought it would be a shame not to put the extensive research and reading I'd done for this project into a second use. Also, Ouida hasn't been scholarshipped to death and there's plenty room to write about her without feeling like I'd be writing yet another diss on Faulkner or whoever. But that isn't what Dr. K. was asking me. He told me that he'd lost his father when he was a boy and that he'd chosen in part to write a dissertation about Boswell and Johnson because that search for a father figure resonated with him. He told me he had a friend in graduate school who was a little person who struggled with feeling as if she were grotesque, and she chose to focus on the grotesque for her Ph.D. work. What Dr. K. wanted to know is what draws me to Ouida beyond any practical concerns. What about her resonates with me on a psychological level? What answer am I looking for in her work? I realized that what draws me to her work is very connected to who I am as a fan, particularly a writer and reader of fanfiction. Ouida's books are melodramatic and filled with lush emotion (much like the fic I tend to spend most of my time reading), but they are also subversive and take place somewhere in those interstices between what happened in real Victorian people's lives and the ideal trajectories their lives were mean to move along (much like the fic I spend most of my time writing, fic that subverts canon while remaining canonically plausible). She also writes novels with extremely heavy slashy subtexts and lots of triangulation of desire. I didn't expect to come away from this experience with something new to think about (besides how to turn this monster into a book), but I'm glad I did.

So, to recap: starting in fall 2013 you will all have to address me as Associate Professor Dr. Lorraine forevermore. LOL

Thanks for all the cheerleading and well wishes along the way. I could not have completed this degree without the support of my friends, both online and off.

*hugs*
lunabee34: (spn: rocksalt ftw by surrexi)
Y'all, kinda squeeing out over here.

My dissertation defense date is set for April 11th. Yay, yay, yay I am almost done with this damn degree!

I will get a raise when I'm done (although whether that will apply for the academic year beginning fall 2013 or fall 2014 is unclear since I won't be able to "prove" I earned the degree until this summer). I will get an additional raise beginning this fall for sure because I was promoted to Associate Professor effective fall 2013!

It finally feels like all the hard work and the struggle and the anxiety and the diarrhea is paying off and being rewarded in a tangible way. I don't have words for how awesome that is. :)

Hug me, y'all! Share the joy!
lunabee34: (i am bjork!)
1. I turned in another chapter today! Half-way done on the dissertation!

2. I got a really cute postcard from [livejournal.com profile] shaddyr with McSheppy goodness written on the back (and a gorgeous Canadian mountainscape on the front).

3. 100 Things Post # 10: Among Friends by Caroline B. Cooney

I had two best friends in elementary school--Sandy and Shannon. All three of us were in the gifted program, little socially awkward nerdlings who clung to each other fiercely while also engaging in some pretty intense competition. In retrospect, I have no idea what our gifted teacher was thinking assigning us this book, but it haunted sixth grade for all three of us. The story follows three best friends--Jennie, Hilary, and Emilie. Jennie is clearly the smartest (although the other two are no slouches); she's headed for scholastic greatness. We all wondered: am I Jennie? Am I the smartest one? Am I the creative one? Or maybe the pretty one? Who do you think we are, Teach? I still have no answer to these questions, but the book made me think long and hard about my friendships and my perfectionism. I had something of a rivalry with Shannon; she and I were more closely matched in academic achievement (and, in fact, one of the things I remember about reading this book is Sandy's bitterness that she wasn't even in the running for Jennie), and she always beat me. Always. Not by much--a hair, a jot, a couple points. I spent pretty much 12 years loving Shannon wholeheartedly while also begrudging her every win and envying all her successes. I am deeply ashamed when I look back at that time in my life (and also can't help but wonder what compelled her to continue being my friend through all that teenage angst). When we went to college, we majored in different subjects, I grew the fuck up some already, and gradually that overwhelming sense of competition and rivalry faded away. She and I are not close now, but we do keep in touch from time to time, and I am proud to say that I have no desire stab her with a protractor any longer. LOL But if I ever want to remember what those sick, twisted up feelings of my youth were like--really liking somebody while also wanting to be better than them just for once--I go back to this book.

4. Secret happy things are happening! Rejoice with me, friends! I'm sure I'll tell you soon for, yea verily, I gots no patience.

5. Free drabble to first person who identifies subject line!
lunabee34: (true blood: jessica by whenitsquiet)
1. I got linked to on an academic blog! As [personal profile] lunabee34 so it can't go on my vita, but yayness. Here's the link: Writing Sandcastles Versus Playing in Sandboxes: The Writing Life in the Twenty-First Century by Alex Jenkins.

2. Sitting at 52 pages right now on the current chapter of the dissertation. I didn't write last week because I had to write a conference paper and an article for publication. Nose to the grindstone again tomorrow.

3. Even though I went to school at Ole Miss, I'd never read much Barry Hannah. A colleague who considered him a close friend and mentor gave me a couple short stories. I read one of them, and while I didn't care for it all that much, I am considering changing the title of this journal to "Hoisting the nipplements of my wayout enhooterment" as a consequence. Thoughts?

Who wants to talk about

a. last night's Game of Thrones
b. Inuyasha
c. Friedman's Magister series (still in the middle of the first book)
d. what anime we should watch next with Emma once Inuyasha is over
e. Bridesmaids (watched and kinda went meh)
f. 21 Jump Street
g. the best you read this week
h. other stuff

?

And, scene.
lunabee34: (writer by sukibluefiction)
I have been scarce for the past while, y'all, but I have good news. :)

In the past fourteen days, I have written 48 pages on my dissertation, had a conference proposal accepted, and lost 6 lbs (well that took more like 3 weeks LOL). I'm teaching two ten week classes that meet for the final time next Wednesday. Six extra hours a week to write for the rest of the semester! Yay!

I might just make friends with 2012 after all.
lunabee34: (cthuhlu santa by angstpuppy)
1. Emma is rocking the track. She came in 49th in her race (out of 73) and had a time of 11:08 for a mile on the outdoor track. Not bad for a third grader starting out. :) And bonus--she is finally interested in an extra curricular activity! Yay! I don't want to be one of those parents who forces her children to do tons of extra curriculars. She is nine. LOL However, she has trouble making friends and gets really bored during the summer, and so we've been trying for a couple years to get her interested in doing something that might help with both those things.

2. So we're never shopping at Lowe's again.

3. What the hell was up with Glee tonight? I mean, Rachel singing "Coming on Christmas" was gorgeous, and I loved Blaine and Kurt's version of "Let It Snow." But otherwise, BORING BORING BORING BORING.

4. Awesome feedback from dissertation director! Whooo! Work on chapter one goes apace! One of the three books needed to be read down! Trajectory for chapter one mapped out! How do I tell my dissertation director that two of the commas she wants me to insert are grammatically incorrect? I mean, I know for 100% sure that she is wrong. I've been teaching grammar for three and half years now, and I know if you're not actively studying grammar rules, you can be a bit fuzzy on them. I also know that British comma rules and American comma rules are different (although I do not know exactly in what way), and I wonder if she corrects me thusly because she mostly reads Victorian literature all the time and has internalized British rules. But anyway. I will make whatever stylistic, word choice, add info changes she wants regardless of whether I agree with them but I draw the line at adding grammatically incorrect commas. Help.
lunabee34: (spn: ruby 2nd incarnationby keyweegirlie)
Ems is doing a little track camp, and she ran six miles today! Go, fast feet.

I started writing my dissertation 9 days ago. Introduction down! Good feedback from director! 1/3 of the way done with chapter 1! 400 of the 1400 pages of reading necessary to complete chapter 1 down!

70 percent COMPASS pass rate for my Learning Support students with possibility of 100 percent with retest!
lunabee34: (shit could be worse by unsospiro)
I have a shit ton of stuff to be happy about.

I have successfully defended my prospectus! Whooo! Conference call went swimmingly yesterday.

Josh is out of town this weekend, so I get to spend two nights mainlining Remix fic! Whoooo!

The semester is done, and I have turned in grades for all classes. This might be the biggest whoooooo! LOL

And yet on the other hand,

cut to spare the whinging for those who don't believe misery loves company )
lunabee34: (writer by sukibluefiction)
C&P from dissertation director's email re: my prospectus--


Ok. Got it read. It is EXCELLENT!!! It is going to be a brilliant dissertation. I have no suggestions to revise it at all, except number the pages.


Thanks for all the well wishes and positive vibes, y'all. They clearly did the trick.

*massive flist hug*
lunabee34: (fandom is my fandom by laurashapiro)
First off, everybody congratulate me and cross your fingers! I just sent off the prospectus to my director, and she will surely say that it is the most beautifully composed document to ever cross her inbox and that I need not revise a single word.

Secondly, in a note of sadness, Writercon has announced its demise. :( They recommended that people go to Wincon instead. Is anyone planning on going? It's in New Orleans this October.

I have to admit I was highly put off by the con's no boys allowed policy. WTF, con? One of the highlights of Writercon for me was meeting and hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] alixtii, who is cool beans, as well as the handful of other dudes who were attended the two years I went. And also the idea that I could get in trouble with the con for *gasp* talking to my husband in the lobby or daring to speak with him in our hotel room is kinda crazycakes bizarre to me.

However, I enjoyed Writercon so much, and I'd really like to fill that void in some way. Thoughts?
lunabee34: (help by jjjean65)
Can anybody translate these passages?  I think they're French (although they may not be good French LOL).  I'll love you forever!



J’ai professé de l’anatomie pendant des longues années, jai passé une bonne partie de mavie dans les amphitheatres, mais je n’en ai pas moins éprouvé un sentiment penible en trouvant dans toutes les maisons d’education des squellettes d’animaux et des mannequins anatomiques entre les mains des fillettes.

And

L’école nouvelle des femmes libres oublie qu’on ne puisse pas à la fois combattre l’homme sur son propre terrain, et attendre de lui des politesses, des tendresses, et des galantéries.  Il ne faut pas au même moment prendre de l’homme son chaire à l’Université et sa place dans l’omnibus; si on lui arrâche son gagne-pain on ne peut pas exiger qu’il offer aussi sa parapluie.

lunabee34: (fandom is my fandom by laurashapiro)
I have lost the energy to wax effusive, for I AM ACTUALLY WRITING MY DISSERTATION OMG! It is exhausting me, but I had these bookmarked, and I wanted to go ahead and rec them before the vidder reveal. Rest assured, they are all awesome.

Amnesia by Anon; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Big Pimpin'/Papercut by Anon; Event Horizon

Life During Wartime by Anon; Lone Gunmen

Vanished Marvels by Anon; Memphis Belle &hearts &hearts &hearts

Bare Your Teeth by Anon; Snow White: A Tale of Terror

Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives by Anon; Sweeney Todd

Falling in Love at a Pie Shop by Anon; Sweeney Todd

And I didn't watch this one yet because we're almost done with the first season of Mad Men and I didn't want to be spoiled: Let It Be by Anon.
lunabee34: (help by jjjean65)
Can anybody tell me what

Il n'y que l'embarras du choix

means in French? It is quite possibly ungrammatical French.
lunabee34: (Ouida by ponders_life)
Just a bit of housekeeping:

This is the do or die semester in which I must complete the dissertation, so I am cutting the flist back to the inner circle. I have to read everything on my flist. It's pathological, so I'm reducing the temptation. I still love all you guys.

Off to answer comments.
lunabee34: (thanks by ponders_life)
Thanks for the prayers and the wishes and the candles and everything else.

*beams*

Another hurdle down, folks.
lunabee34: (help by jjjean65)
Surely she's not crazy when they get married? What's the sitch? Explain this subplot to me somebody!
lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
Yesterday, I read all 800 pages of Middlemarch. Because I am awesome.

/PSA
lunabee34: (Ouida by ponders_life)
Comp date is set: April 16. I have less than a month to finish reading everything. You guys are super awesome, so don't take this the wrong way, but we probably won't hang out much until after I'm done. Love y'all. See ya on the flipside. :)

Prayers, sacrifices, and all other methods of well-wishing are desperately appreciated.

*crosses fingers*
lunabee34: (spn: rock salt ftw by surrexi)
I PASSED MY WRITTEN COMP!!!!!!!!

Make merry with me, people. I'm one step closer to being Dr. Lunabee34.

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