I've settled into my PhD program and thought I'd post about it. I haven't had much time to do more than keep up with my class work and release my collection, but today I'm taking a minor breather to get a haircut and go see Dr. Strange before the big push to write term papers begins. So I thought I'd post a quick update about my life so far in St. John's.
The Folklore Department and Discipline
I like these people, every one. They remind me so much of the U of T Celtic Studies Department in the late 90's; personable, invested in scholarship, interested in my education. I think I might really succeed here, and that makes me so happy. I also enjoy the discipline quite a bit. I learned in field school to conduct interviews, write field notes, and archive materials. Now I'm peering beneath the surface of ballads, legends, personal narratives, jokes, parables, and other kinds of folklore to see how they work, and I'm gathering the theoretical tools necessary to write and talk about them. It's hard work right now, hard enough that if I didn't love it, I'd go home. But I do love it.
St. John's and Newfoundland in General
There's something about this town; its hilly, colourful core, it's rocky outskirts, its lively music scene. I like it here, and it doesn't hurt that the Peaceful Loft serves great vegan food! Also, I should mention that I haven't met a Newfoundlander yet who wasn't kind to me. Honestly, you would think that after nearly three months here, I might have had at least one negative experience with local folk. But no. They're wonderful.
As I look out my window, it's a grey, mid-autumn day, and the trees are either yellow or bare. The weather here was warmer and rainy yesterday, but today there is a Winter Is Coming chill in the air. Two months ago, I was picking blueberries in Cupids and tasting partridgeberry jam for the first time (reminds me of cranberry sauce). The Rock is carpeted in berries, and it's beautiful as only a wild, North Atlantic place can be.
I miss writing fiction. Gods, I miss it, and I do plan to keep writing a bit while I'm in school. But I've come to look upon this degree as a four-year book project. I plan to seek publication for my dissertation when I'm done, and afterward, I'm going to write for the rest of my life. So I'm not gone from what I love, I'm just learning to love it better.
That's all for now. Cheers!