28 April 2011

Writer's block

I'm blocked. No good writing this week. Basically, the problem is that I need to write about 800 more words for the chapter or literature review or whatever it is that I'm writing. I'm shooting for 10k words of theoretical framework and am at just about 9,200 now. It's going to give me operational definitions for a couple of key terms ('community' and 'impoliteness') and some theory to help me talk about what impoliteness accomplishes in the dataset. I have all the main ideas in the text, and it is deep enough (about 4 pages of references, used well and appropriately engaged), but I'm missing sort of the sinews of the writing; that is, the small bits of signposting that make everything come together. Miss about 20 or 30 important sentences in the chapter and the whole thing can feel disjointed and listless. I'm getting there. The introduction is there. There are three main sections: I just need to get them to talk to each other.

Talk to each other. This is what they need to do.

I went to a funding seminar today that was lead by one of my favourite people at the OU and although it ended up being a little bit frustrated seeing as realism about the cost of staying here and the visa has sunk in, it wasn't a complete waste of time. I've been waiting for someone to tell me that I've got it all wrong, I've missed the bigger picture: staying here is right, regardless of the cost. I say that I want someone to say that to me, but really, I don't. I feel like staying in the UK is what I should do, that it is the most logical step for someone in my situation, that it will lead to a good job with a good house with a good life for my family. The truth is, however, that I don't think it's what I want: I like the UK, but I'm not sure I'm ready to settle here... yet? I don't know. I don't know what it is. I suppose I feel a bit trapped and am interested in the idea of something else. The lie of a wide open world where anything is possible? Perhaps... I can't seem to accept a long-term future here, with the trouble that it creates for us as third country people. The money will never be great and we will never really be English. That's okay, it could be okay, but I still feel like if I have to settle some place, I still prefer Japan over just about anywhere else.

More than all that, I would like to find some place that is interesting, with a good salary and a good job. Near the sea, if possible. I don't want to do temporary work. I don't want to have to worry about visas constantly. I don't want to have to be under the thumb of the government with the fear that things will be different in a year or two. If it's going to be fluid, we might as well go somewhere with a bigger payoff then, 'Well, you might be able to get a temporary job next year. Depends on who's running the country.' Sod it, I'd rather work with purpose in a programme with some long-term goals, wherever that is.

Ugh. These are big problems to be worried about when I'm trying to do good academic work, but it is what is.

I didn't eat too much at the lunch. That was one good thing. There is cake in the kitchen of Stuart Hall Building Level 1 and I'm probably not going to have a piece and I'm sort of indifferent about it. Things are changing with my body and mind if this is honestly the case. I'm not sure that it is.

And I've been standing at work now for about three weeks and can say that I have converted. I have no urge to sit anymore: this has become my normative practice. I still haven't done a true full week of it yet, and next week I have to go to Spain, so it'll only be a day. Well, whatever: I feel great. It hasn't done anything noticeable to my caloric intake, however. I haven't lost any weight and this week, I've been eating like 2,200-2,300 kCals a day despite riding my bike to work and standing all day, and I haven't seen any drops in body fat or weight. Perhaps this is just the way my body is now. We'll have to see.

Is my sun tea done brewing? Yoko and the girls will be here in an hour and we will go to Ikea for dinner, which is a great thing, by the way. Cheap and much better than it sounds. Free coffee too. We got paid yesterday and, although it was the last month with a significant contribution from part-time work, we've done well this year so far. Well, Yoko has: conserving resources, doing more with less, and still being happy in the midst of it. I have worked, worked, and worked some more. Perhaps I will get new headphones for my birthday... Perhaps.

Until then, everyone, please, be well, okay?
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