Writing the Dratted Diss: The True Story

I wanted to spare you this, I truly did. But it might serve the uninitiated as a dire warning what will happen to you when you’re doing a PhD. So, ladies and gentlemen, take a deep breath and brace yourselves for the awful horrors of academia.

On Saturday morning, the world was still a lovely place. Sandy and teh Kitteh were happy.

So happy, in fact, that they were surrounded by butterflies and flowers. (When I took the picture, the butterflies flew away, ’cause they’re shy. This is why you get to see only the flowers.)

See how happy we were?


We laughed …


… and kissed …


… and played peek-a-boo …


… and had a really good time.


Yes, we had.


And then I sat down to work on the dratted diss.
Fast forward to 5:00 p.m. …


(See? I’ve told you it won’t be pretty!)


Need sugar.


Hatez all dragons.


It’s a mean, mean world. Full of prepositions and complicated English words. And I’ve just realised that apparently I don’t know the difference between “subtle” and “supple”.


Going through proofreads is torture. It’s like stripping neikkid and running through the streets while wearing your panties on your head.
I also don’t know the difference between “illicit” and “elicit”. Well, I do know, but then I sort of don’t. If you know what I mean. Stupid English language.

Fast forward to 9:00 p.m. …


Still at it.


Still terrible.
Tea doesn’t help.


I’m a fraud. Who can’t speak English.

It’s now after midnight …


What did I mean by “difficult interrelations of jurisdiction”?

I have no clue.


Dragonz have etz me brainz.
And that’s the truth.

4 thoughts on “Writing the Dratted Diss: The True Story

  1. Laura Vivanco

    Of course you can speak English! But writing/speaking in an academic register, in a foreign language, to native speaker level, is very, very difficult. I’m sure I couldn’t have written my thesis in Spanish, at least, not without a lot of help from some native speakers (and I’m supposed to be more or less bilingual).

    There’s also the problem that when you look at a word/sentence long enough, it always looks a bit weird, even if it’s right. So in my experience proofreading one’s own work is frquently a rather odd and unpleasant experience.

  2. Carolyn

    Oh, Sandy!! I feel for you. But I still laughed at this post. Let me know if you want a reader. I stand ready to help, if you ever think it would be helpful.

    And Laura Vivcano is right. There comes a point when you really need a pair of unrelated fresh eyes.

  3. Sandra Schwab

    Thanks for cheering me up! In the bright light of the day, I know that I can speak English, but when it’s dark outside and I’m all alone in the dark with the baggy monster … well …

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