Another week, and still not much progress. My thesis is trying to write itself in the best way it can, but there's no brain behind it. Or rather, no heart. The paragraphs I've strung together have technical finesse, but the words feel hollow and directionless, like a blurry facsimile of the real story I want somehow to tell. And the writer in me knows it. After letting the thesis grow so many lines of text, like mutant tentacles searching for a place to catch hold, my own brain balks. This just isn't going anywhere, it says.
I've hit the point in the narrative where the story is too big for me to see its arc again. Unfortunately, this isn't a block that can be solved by reading the words of other writers for reinvigoration. In a way, it's like I've been trying to work my way out of the center of a bull's eye. The tiny circle in the middle was the first chapter; the next ring out, the four that followed. Finding a vantage point from which to see that second group of chapters took months -- from last February to last August -- and I don't have the luxury of time anymore.
I have some twenty pages to fill and two years' worth of research. Even if the story isn't falling into place, my process of seeking answers is certainly well documented. So my plan, which I've now e-mailed my advisor, is to use all of that to write an afterword. It'll give voice to a lot of questions that haven't yet been asked within the narrative and reveal the as-yet-unaddressed pieces of the story, rough as their introduction there might feel to me.
It's not the way I want to finish this. But finished is what this needs to be.
Addendum 3/6: My laptop fried a portion of its hard drive today. First the adapter cord, now the disk itself? I'm not liking this trend.
2 hours ago