On account of us (that’s Daughter and I) setting off for Oxford later today, I’ll ponder the business of writing really clever stuff. For some obscure reason the previously mentioned Daughter started asking questions about dissertations the other week. And to be perfectly honest I’m not sure of the finer differences between things.
My educational background never stretched further than essays. Or possibly it did, and I’m just incorrectly using the word essay for my humble efforts. I wrote a dreadful thing on the American space programme, but the poor physics teacher was impressed. It didn’t take me long at all to work out what a feeble piece it was. It taught me the valuable lesson that sometimes the hardest thing is to write about what you love.
So later on at university I simply picked a topic off the tutor’s list and ended up with Under Milk Wood, of all subjects. But it was OK, and I enjoyed it. At the next stage I went for The Angry Young Men, which was less fun, but still interesting. On the other hand, I won’t be sorry if I never read another play by John Osborne. I would much have preferred Tom Stoppard, but apparently he was too fluffy and fun to take seriously.
Needless to say the Resident IT Consultant did stuff on IT kinds of things. I’ve never bothered reading it. And I couldn’t find a copy when I was going to show Daughter how clever her old people once were.
As I was busy flipping out with the effort of having two small Offspring at home, I met someone at one of our Swedish meetings, who taught at the university. She spent the first two years of her first child’s life polishing her PhD, while also effortlessly giving birth to child number two. In fact, I got the impression that for each child (she has four) she spent the maternity period on something academic.
I did try to read her thesis. She was actually very pleased when I inquired about it, and provided me with a copy. As I dug it out for Daughter’s investigation I noticed that I hadn’t even got halfway. It was sort of in my kind of subject, it being linguistics, but I still didn’t understand the finer points of Swedish noun phrases.
So I don’t know. Might be best if I stick with low-level blogging.