I left a hyphen after the title of this post, because I'm not really sure what to put there. As with everything (jobs, versions of news stories, Crouch End coffee shops, abominable leggings), there are multiple candidates competing for space. Specifically, I might have said any of the following:
1. PhD. As in it's done. Well, mostly. There is a tiny bit left to do, but the viva is over and passed and I can now check the Dr box on forms, as long as said form is not an application for a job demanding a PhD, as I am not yet able to provide a certificate. But basically, I'm done.
2. Apocalyptic. As in the back side of this whole completion thing is really a bit rubbish and anticlimactic. I was prepared for it, sure, by the wise women and men who have gone before me. But still. The aftermath is depressing, full of exhaustion, guilt, job applications and the creeping fear that somehow the torture you've gone through wasn't worth it in any sort of demonstrable sense. In response to the occasional suggestion, no doubt well-meaning, that surely the personal edification, growth and sense of accomplishment rendered by a PhD is recompense enough, I think no. Recompense, actual recompense, is recompense enough. If I wanted edification and pleasure, I would do a string of MAs. MAs are lovely, especially if they come with ample studio time and result in a subsequently marketable show, project or portfolio. PhDs are brutal. They are neither fun nor edifying. I am pleased to have completed, particularly after abandoning my MFA. But enough now, on to the next thing. Except I'm exhausted, which makes me feel guilty, which is silly, because I've been working hard, but not in a broadly socially acceptable way, because I haven't been paid, which makes me feel guilty for falling victim to the whips and snares of neoliberal market capitalism...(this is what it's like in my head right now).
3. Stasis. As in I find the most genuinely problematic area of my life to be a lack of agency. I'm no longer sure if things I think are difficult (like finding an affordable rehearsal space in London that I can actually rent on a regular basis, just to play with things) are actually difficult, or if they're just difficult for me. I honestly don't know. Other people complain about them, including people I trust, admire and respect, so it must not just be me. However, if I was truly tenacious (and this was my gifted education teacher's favorite word for describing my class's particular gifts), surely I would o'erleap this paltry concern. Wouldn't I?
4. Posturing. As in I am profoundly sick of the amount of unnecessary silliness that goes on. As in there is no way that I should publish this post, because what if a future employer reads it? And what if they do? Am I not allowed to have opinions and/or be annoyed that too high a percentage of human interaction tends towards pretense and instrumentality? Particularly in fields like mine, which are full of extremely smart, talented people, all slowly going mean and crazy because they can't do what they do, so rather than banding together and making a ruckus of some description, they joust pointlessly with each other in tones that make me want to cease all communication and move to a warehouse in Karlin.
5. Procrastination. As in sometime I had to begin to write again. And suppose this is it. More (and better) stuff soon.
Private and public
5 months ago