Stephanie Burgis
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wedding stuff and thesis work
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It's been a funny week. On the one hand, I've been working very hard to deadlines, which is always desperately stress-inducing to anyone as perfectionistic and self-critical as I (despite counseling and basic common sense) just am, like it or not. On the other hand, it's been a whole lot less stressful than I'd expected. We've figured out the music for the wedding, after a miserable first try (where I came out crying and feeling miserable, having been completely talked-over by people telling us What Would Be Appropriate, and Here, Let Me Tell You How To Spell Composers' Names and Explain Music To You, while I tried to politely whisper that, no, actually, really, I do know a bit about music, honest...). I went back the next day, tried again, spoke loudly and confidently this time instead of just smiling weakly and nodding, and things worked out just fine. I'm excited about the wedding, and that makes the work for it worthwhile.

Also, all the academic work habits I've been building over the last month seem to have actually, honest-to-God paid off, because I have a supervisory appointment today, and for the first time I can remember, I'm not feeling panicky and full of dread about it. I think I've accomplished a decent amount of work. Not everything I dreamed of accomplishing--but that was because my dreams, last month, were pretty unrealistic. Something I've been working hard to wrap my mind around, lately, is the idea that, when I plan out goals, they should be based on the premise "if I work moderately hard in a consistent way, understanding that life will sometimes get in the way," instead of "if I work insanely hard and never ever let anything in my life interfere, because if I do, I suck as a student and as a person...." It's a fairly radical mind-shift, and it's still a struggle, but I'm already feeling a whole lot better because of it. It has a bizarre sort of appeal, that idea of not hating myself every time I get anything wrong or do anything less than perfectly....

And along with the work, it's been a nice week. Patrick and I have been scheduling lots of good, relaxing hang-out time as well as intense wedding-organization hours. Last night we managed to combine the two, as we picked out music for the reception. Although each of us has veto power, we're splitting the mix CDs evenly between us, picking out our favorite music in the world, and it's fun! It's particularly fun just to listen to the other person's music and talk about it and sip white wine (nice white wine, at that, a gift from some friends) and laugh. (And sometimes to play wholly inappropriate stuff just for fun and to make each other crack up. We probably won't be using some of my favorite Stephen Merritt songs, like the one where he sings, "I always say I love you, when I mean turn out the light...but the words you want to hear, you will never hear from me. I'll never say Happy Anniversary..." After a long evening of figuring out wedding details, though, it can be hilarious to play with that kind of song and imagine the possible reactions.)

And my new Vienna/Istanbul novel is chugging along. I'm in the middle of Chapter Three and having fun, and Patrick claims he is too (as I read it to him every night), so I'm feeling happy and productive with it. Next month it'll be time to take Masks and Shadows back out of hibernation and do a first run-through revision and then (gasp, choke) ask for harsh critiques...but for now, I'm just enjoying that first-draft feeling, like playing with crayons on a big sketchpad, and I'm glad not to have to worry about revisions yet.

Ah, well. Time to start work on my academic progress report....

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