A Whole Different Kind of Panic

Posted on 30/11/2011 by

2


Me: I hope you don’t get bored. It is academic after all. And the intro, I think, is pretty dull. But… there are humorous chapter titles.
Claire: Stop with the justifications woman, I haven’t even started it yet!
Me: I have residual anxiety when it comes to my thesis.

A thesis is a funny thing. You spend years on what is by definition ground-breaking research. And yet, you also know that in the end like three people are going to read it. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But, you know, not by much. That’s the thing about being the expert in a ridiculously small field, that aren’t that many people who are going to say, “Wow, that tiny niche area of interest? I’m all over that. Gimme.”Image of spine and front of hardbound thesis. Spine reads 'K. E. V. Mavrick DCA(Curtin) 2009' Front reads 'Curtin University of Technology Kandace Edana Vashti Mavrick The Path of the Monster: The Alien "Other" in Science Fiction and Fantasy for Young Adults'

So when people do ask to read it, I worry that they don’t know what they’re getting into. That they won’t enjoy it. Possibly because no one gets drunk or stabs anyone in the foot. And there are very few jokes. Also there are footnotes. And not the good Terry Pratchett kind of footnotes. The regular ones. Academic writing would be a lot better if you could do Terry Pratchett style footnotes.

I mean I think my thesis topic is interesting — hell, fascinating. I’m borderline obsessed with the ideas in there. I can go on for hours about the self/other dichotomy in identity formation, about the way we represent the other in fiction and… Yeah. But, you know, that’s me. I am, at least intellectually, aware that other people don’t put the same emphasis on this stuff. Although I can argue about it with you if you like. I can say, But everyone should find this interesting. It’s fundamental to our psychology. EVERYONE should identify with this. Cause they’ve BEEN there.

Of course, that’s the kind of logic that says just because you were once a child you must automatically be fond of them. I remember what I was like as a child. Delightful, in case you were wondering. Although the phrase duplicitous little sneak also springs to mind. (Come on, what did you expect? I was blonde, blue-eyed, missing my two front teeth for about seven years and I could fake a lisp like nobody’s business when I had a mark in mind. You thought I wasn’t going to use that?)

The point is, I have to respect the reality that just because everyone in the entire world should be able to relate to the psychological element of my thesis doesn’t mean they care. Also doesn’t guarantee it’s fun to read (beyond the humorous chapter titles, which are awesome, man). So. A whole different kind of panic. Which is ridiculous. I am so done with panicking about my thesis. I am just going to sit here and be all zen about it. So I’ll sit here and just be for a bit, I guess, see how that goes.