Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

October 2007 Archives


On radio silence, options and Comp Lit.

Apologies for the lack of posts around here lately; I've been trying to determine exactly how to treat this journal moving forward, and my chronic indecisiveness has led to a long period of radio silence. Add to that a ridiculous avalanche of projects at work and the result has been dead air. Although I never would have imagined it to be possible, working at MIT is even more difficult than being a graduate student at MIT – and when I come home at night, which is usually after 7 o'clock most evenings (a 10.5-hour day), the last thing I want to do is fire up a computer. This has led to a precipitous decline in my amount of writing, art, etc., but a notable uptick in my amount of shopping, dining, reading (more on that in a moment), and playing with my cats.

It's not a bad life, just an uneven one.

Like I said, I've been doing a ton of reading lately – my nightstand is groaning with the number of books I've been reading simultaneously. The trouble with having a wide range of interests is that it's difficult to get all the way through entire books, surrendering to the siren song of something else after only a few paragraphs. I have a book on the modernization of Harvard on there a book of Borges' collected fictions, a book of Borges' collected poetry, Milan Kundera's recent essay on novels The Curtain (which is truly excellent), Italo Calvino's Six Essays for the New Millennium... The list goes on and on and on. I've also been enjoying a string of interesting movies and television; a few weekends ago, when I was feeling under the weather, Laura and I plowed through the entire second season of Supernatural, which I've been enjoying immensely: the Hardy-Boys-meets-X-Files vibe is right up my alley.

I've also been working on getting the last details in order on our apartment, things like curtains and whatnot, but following my parents' visit two weeks ago things have more or less slowed to a crawl. After long days at the office, wrestling with furniture and other nonsense isn't very high on my priorities list.

No, instead whenever I haven't been reading or chasing Albus and Tonks off of the kitchen counters, I've been doing research into Ph.D. programs. It looks like CMS is still a few years away from getting its own Ph.D. program in line, so I'm looking elsewhere for other options. Wonderfully, I'm finding them.

It looks like a growing number of programs across the country have some kind of digital studies subsets attached to their literature programs. Ohio State, for example, has a Digital Media Studies subset of its English degree, which sounds fascinating. However, most of the sparks I'm finding are less in standard literature programs and more in Comparative Literature or, sometimes, simply Comparative Studies.

"Sparks", you say? Yep. I'm changing the way I'm doing much of my research into Ph.D. programs – instead of focusing on just English programs, I'm broadening my search again and checking out which programs have the highest number of courses that look interesting to me. This should have been a no-brainer, but hey, sometimes I'm staggeringly dumb. Such is the case here – the classes that look really interesting to me right now are largely in Comparative Literature programs, which are – surprise, surprise – often classes that could easily be seen as a logical extension of Comparative Media Studies.

This is, I think, great news. At the very least I'm feeling rejuvenated and excited about future prospects – the downside is that now I need to learn several foreign languages quickly in order to get back up to speed. This shouldn't be a terribly arduous task, since I love language and am something of a language nerd. (True story: I've harbored a secret desire to learn Latin for years. Like I said, nerd.) So now I'm considering options and trying to decide when I want to apply. I have a great job right now and I'm reluctant to leave it, but I'd also like to be able to call myself "Dr. Long" before I'm 40. So we'll see what happens.

All things considered, I'm just thrilled to finally feel like I have some real, true options available again – there was a long time there when I felt like I was wandering in the desert, but now I'm filled with hope. Onward!


Links list: 10-10-07.