Only it’s not so bloody big just yet. Talking about the PhD — which has been taking a bit longer than I originally planned. If I don’t count the two years to get the Masters as an entry ticket, I’ve been involved with this doctorate in Creative Writing for the last seven years. Officially it’s only half that period as I had a false start which lost me a couple of years, and then a long stretch on suspension due to very poor health. So I’m still inside the overall average length of PhD programs which is apparently around 4½ years. But it’s starting to feel like a lifelong project. On the one hand I really enjoy the writing (well, the creative stuff anyway), but on the other, I’d just like to have it finished.
I’ve been asked more than once why I’m bothering with study at this level when I don’t have any academic aspirations. Well, it’s ego stuff. I’m a member of that brigade who left school barely fifteen years old with no certificate of any kind. I was bright enough but family circumstances didn’t favour me staying on at school when I could be out earning some money to bring home to the common pot. And yes, I do regret that was the situation though I’m not seeking sympathy. Those years working at all sorts of jobs, some interesting, a lot ‘dead end’, provide me with almost endless source material for writing.
A wonderful thing is that ‘it’s never too late’ as some wit once observed, and so here I am having a late run and a fair bit of fun doing so. I’ve always been scribbling but had never seemed to find enough time to do it properly. After a big scare (rushed into a cardiac unit with suspected major coronary going on — wasn’t, it turned out to be a virus faking things very dramatically) I decided that there were a couple of things on my bucket list I hadn’t yet ticked off. One was to get writing seriously, the other to achieve a doctorate.
The writing is going okay. No big breakthrough but several individual poems and short stories published in Oz and overseas. Plus one book of poetry (available as a book and also as a CD with audio files).
The PhD however is having a longish gestation. I’ve nominated a re-jigged date for submission somewhere around the middle of next year (and the end of 2014 as a desperation appointment!) I usually pull off deadlines with style so let’s hope this will be another stunning success. In the meantime I had better get back to it.
Dreams are important
But reality is where
Your dreams can come true
Ruari Jack Hughes