The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: Aftermath

Friends. I cannot describe to you the relief that I feel right now. I imagine it’s somewhere between finishing a (Boston!) marathon and beating Tetris on Level 9 with the music set to Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Here are the details: In the last two weeks, I have written 80 new pages, re-written 220 pages, drank 11 (Sugar Free) Red Bulls, 17 Hot Teas (8 Green Ginger, 4 Refresh, 4 Awake, and 1 African Red Bush), ate 16 bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats mixed with Crispix, fallen asleep on my computer 8 times, run through 3 pairs of sweatpants, and let one man wearing a suit with a bow tie borrow my cell phone to make a “local” call to Canada. My final day I worked for 19 hours straight with a break only to eat pineapple and to field a call from my mom:

“Kevin, hon, how’s it going?”
“….Oh. It seems like you’re a little overtired, dear”
“AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (tears)”
“Oookkk….well, I just wanted to say good luck. I’ll let you get back to it.”

But then, miraculously, it was over. I got through the edits. I re-wrote an ending that will have to be re-written again. I went to Kinko’s, printed out two 300 page copies of the manuscript, hand delivered them to the homes of my thesis adviser and reader, then drove to my favorite deli and used up the rest of a gift certificate I got last year for my birthday on Robust Russet Cape Cod Potato Chips. But by far the best part of all of this was waking up in the morning on Saturday and realizing that I had NOTHING to do. No magazine deadline, no chapter to edit, no re-writes…nothing. All I had to do was play in a soccer game, get sunburned, drink (imported) beers and pass out while trying to watch Juno.

This is not over, of course. I have to defend my thesis on Thursday, which will involve at LEAST learning the names of all of my central characters, and then make sure the formatting is right, etc, etc, to turn it into the grad school office, and then i have to re-write again before releasing it into the public, but whatever. That’s, like, not even hard. That’s like beating Tetris on Level 6 with mute on so you can listen to your own Maxell Cassette mixtape featuring “Have You Seen Her” by MC Hammer.

Anyway, I also wanted to thank everyone for all of their support during my thesis insanity. Your comments, your links, your Youtube videos, all of it kept me from focusing but, like, in a good way. Seriously though, you all are fantastic. And to show my gratitude–as promised– click here for your own personal e-card:

I think that says it all. In the meantime, 1988 continues its unstoppable reign.

Tell it to,
my heart

Taylor Dayne

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19 thoughts on “The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: Aftermath

  1. Genevieve

    Ok, now I HAVE to go to Ireland. And Spain, New York, and Scotland, and Japan, and India…will I ever get to go to all of these places that I yearn to see? There’s no way to know. Like elephants that cross Tom’s room, like Kevin in sweatpants, like the structure of this sentence, I will run on. (que uplifting music)

  2. Tom


    If you enjoy going to pubs, stop in at the Roisin Dub (ah, I wonder if I’m still remembering how to spell that properly). Good live music there as well. The Burger Hut is/was across the street from it, and they have the most complete menu of chips/fries I have ever seen in my entire life. Garlic cheese chips…mmmmmmmmmmmm! Not health food, but sooooo good! Street performing is an art in that town. I saw a three piece punk band get dumped onto the sidewalk from the door of a small van, set up their entire sound system and gear, and perform an entire electric concert for fifteen minutes, whereupon the van reappeared and swept them away again. Other types of music and performance abound. Really incredible stuff!

    I have some Snow Patrol, and, well, dark and brooding pop just doesn’t come to mind when I think of Ireland. I never would have guessed.

    Tom (who gawks unabashedly at elephants in running apparel)

  3. Genevieve

    It’s hard to remember what I thought when I read the sentence that has implied so much to so many. But I think I visualized Kevin running while wearing sweatpants, like running around on his feet and everything. Not…um…soiling himself, for lack of a better comment-appropriate term. But now that you mention it, I can see why that would spring to mind. And I think the best way to react to an elephant wearing sweatpants is to avoid staring at him, Mr. Rude! Of course those pants make him look fat, but must you gawk unabashedly? Well? Must you?! (The correct response to this is, "Yes. Yes, I must.")

    Yeah, Snow Patrol is from Ireland. Check ’em out. Good music and pretty, dark, brooding pictures.

  4. Tom


    Come on, don’t tell me YOU didn’t think of that same thing about the sweatpants! You’re way creative enough to come up with that on your own. Of course, I’m tactless enough to mention it, but it was SO THERE! It’s like not saying, "Hey, has anyone noticed there’s an elephant wearing sweatpants in the room?" I cannot ignore the elephant, or the sweatpants.

    Snow patrol is from Ireland? That reminds me, Renee, you should try and make a stop into Galway on the west coast. Good times in Galway! Excellent nightlife!

    And I’ll be public about some lack of knowledge on my part: What’s this "defending of the thesis" thing all about? I’ve never known someone to go through that process, so I’m kind lost. I figured you just turned it in and they went "It rules!" or "SUCK IT!" and that was the end of things. Kev, if you can share some light on the process in the future, that would rule.

  5. Valerie

    I remember those tear-jerking phone calls from home while one is in the throes of assignment hell. One hellish night when I was ultra manic, my mom asked "why I thought this ‘writing thing’ was the right thing for me to major in…she’ll never understand. I explained Kurt Vonnegut’s experience with his editor who told him he’d never met a carpenter who was in love with his anvil. Tis true.
    Congratulations. Breathe.

  6. Sheri

    Kevin, I am so happy that the worst of it is over. Congrats on making it through. We knew you could do it! By the way, the ecard was sooo moving. It’s nice to know you care.

    I’m not even gonna touch the sweatpants issue, which is probably a good thing after all the not-so-pleasant images that were brought to mind by certain persons *coughtomlisacough*. (Though I think I made the situation worse by adding the word ‘issue.’)

    Renee, not that I’m jealous or anything, but I hope you get eaten by a leprechaun.

  7. Genevieve

    You did it, Kevin! Yaaaay! Only a man with a true love of the art would deny himself so much sleep and consume so much tea and pineapple. I love how you always talk about food on your blog. That reminds me, the e-card was moving but (and I’m speaking for your commentators everywhere) when your book is published we will be expecting e-chocolate and e-flowers.

    I wish you luck on Thursday, but I think the effort you’ve put into this baby will be enough to carry you through. Use Juno as creative motivation.

    Renee – Ireland! No way! While you’re there ask Snow Patrol why they haven’t played in New Orleans lately.

    Tom, Lisa – Ew!

  8. Tom

    Let’s all pause to feel really sorry for Renee in having to go to Ireland.

    I agree on the bit with Kev’s mom. I imagine her saying it in that happy mom voice that they use for when you’re going out with friends: "Okay, well don’t you kids have to much fun!"

  9. Renee

    I love Awake hot tea…though it does not do what the name suggests. I’m sure you will do great on Thursday, but I will not find out for a while since I leave for Ireland on Saturday 🙂

  10. Lisa Bakewell


    Wow! I’m tired just reading about your "marathon". Great job on getting it all down on paper– and on time.

    I have to agree with Tom regarding the sweat pants, though. To "run through 3 pairs" is way too graphic for the imaginative writer’s brain to handle. The visual was not nice.

    BTW, love your mom! "Oookkk….well, I just wanted to say good luck. I’ll let you get back to it." (Back away from the child having the meltdown.)

    Good luck on Thursday! Let us know how it goes.


  11. Tom

    Dude, you’re obviously back to some semblance of sanity, as the 80s hits are strong today, as is general hot-linkiness.

    I question the wisdom of the phrasing here, however: "run through 3 pairs of sweatpants." Perhaps a word other than "run" would be a little less…gross-out inducing. Maybe this is just me. It probably is. I’m a victim of an incredibly active imagination.

    The ecard was much appreciated. The greatest part being that it took the page a minute to load, so it I didn’t get to "until it started raining" right away.

    I still own Maxell mix cassettes somewhere. Those were, like, the shizzle back before the word "shizzle" was even a thought.

    Good luck on Thursday!