Monthly Archives: May 2007

Too Far From Normal?

discipline-and-punishMaybe it’s a sign that one has a rather serious fetish when, in the midst of discussing one’s research project and ones academic future with ones department graduate adviser, one is distracted almost mid sentence by reading the title of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish off of the professor’s office bookcase.  This despite having read the book many times, both for courses and research.  And knowing that the book is almost always on any English academic’s bookshelves, including ones own.

Not that I’m saying this happened to me last week or anything, mind.

(But yes, I have read the book many times.  For some reason my copy almost always falls open on the sketches of the spanking machine.)

Punished Hands

A week ago today I had my hands tawsed during a rather lovely role play / punishment scene with a dear friend.  He used an insanely heavy tawse that had been specially made by the London Tanner from an extra thick bit of leather.  The tawse was heavy enough that 4 on the right hand and 3 on the left (yes, an uneven number) was deemed plenty.  It was also the first time I’d pulled my hands in and danced ::blush:: between strokes.

The result? (Click for a larger image.)


Okay, I know it isn’t entirely easy to see here, but the marks were really a rather impressive vivid blue (sadly, only for a couple of days).  Anyway, the blackish shadows you see aren’t newsprint or dirt.  Paul says that he can see the tawse edges in the bruising.  I’m not sure I do, but maybe you can.

There’s probably something very wrong with me, but I actually loved having these bruises.  It’s the first time a hand tawsing left these sorts of marks.

Small Kindnesses

I used to be a really good student.  I’m not especially smarter than average, maybe even below average for a PhD student, but I was a really good student.  The sort that does extra work, not for praise, or at least not just for praise, but because I loved the work and was really excited about it.  This isn’t especially unusual either, I suspect.  Why else would someone work in literature after all?

Then my personal life fell apart and got put back together in a much happier way (divorce, romance, second marriage).  And then I got sick and sicker and sicker. Drugs.  Anxiety.  Therapy. Surgery.  And then I got better and better and better.  More surgery.

In the meantime, the university forced me to take my quals.  I passed. And then a whole lot of nothing. 

Last Spring / Summer? Maybe 20 pages of dissertation.  And a plan to finish in a year or so.

This Fall / Spring?  Another 65.  And a plan to finish in a year.

And, of course, meantime noises about graduate students taking too long to complete.  Them being pushed out.  I feared being told much the same.

Yesterday I swallowed my pride and wrote emails to my department’s Graduate Director (Professor K) and my own dissertation chair (Professor M).  Professor K emailed me back at once wanting to see me today.  I panicked, but made the meeting, armed only with a realistic completion plan and my trusty draft chapters..

It was wonderful. Professor K was nothing but supportive and encouraging.  Glad I was working away and happy I’d come to see him.  He advised me to meet with my chair, Professor M, as soon as possible. 

After I left his office, I noticed the door to Professor M’s office was open and stuck my head in.  We met for a few minutes, arranged a meeting for tomorrow afternoon and I walked back to my office. 

Suddenly I’m a PhD candidate in good standing.   And apparently have been all along.

Who knew?