Monday, January 26, 2004

Live from New York 

And frankly, I'm exhausted. Who'd have thought getting a couple of signatures would be so harrowing?!

For those who care, and mostly, for those who do not: my primary purpose for the trip was to do all of the stupid administrative crap that's necessary to graduate. The good news is, all of my committee members have signed off on the thesis, including my supervisor in England (though even that was fraught with tension: luckily, a couple of extra lines sucking up, er, acknowledging how vital her contributions were in the project seemed to do the trick.) They marvelled at what a nice job I did considering the short time I had to actually work on the project (less than 4 months) and how spiffy it looked (Thank you, MS Word Thesis template with a few adjustments.) So far, so good.

But have I graduated yet? Um, not exactly. The Dean of Graduate Studies has to sign off and contrary to what I'd been led to believe, he takes it home to read it and doesn't just sign the approval page because I told him to. Damn. Then there's the process of getting 2 copies of the thesis deposited into the library, which is a boringly tedious exercise that thankfully, I don't have to do myself as the Dean's Office has taken that responsibility upon them.

So in short, I won't let a couple of administrative quibbles hinder me: I'm DONE!

Now it's time to make merry. Tonight: Ken Bruen's signing at the store . So for those in the New York area who want to hear a fantastic Irish author tell stories in public, please show up. Or if you can't, you can always go to Rocky Sullivan's two nights later. Besides, CBS Sunday morning will be filming, so for those TV whores out there, here's your chance.

And finally, I love the train. The longer the trip, the better, because I can get so many books read. And luckily, I brought along the right books to read: John O'Hara's APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA, Tom Franklin's HELL AT THE BREECH (which would make my top 10 books of 2003, it is a fantastic and moving historical novel) an ARC of a book due out in June, and Jonathan Carroll's WHITE APPLES. The last book was especially amazing, because I wasn't sure I would like it as much as Carroll's earlier books, which I've enthused about here. I needn't have worried. It's a tour de force about love, death, the meaning of life and the afterlife, God, and has a hefty dose of Carroll's special brand of magical realism. When I closed the book I felt uplifted, like my heart had been pried open painfully to allow in a wide spectrum of feeling. Suddenly, at least at that moment, everything was going to be all right. And so I'll keep believing.

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