December 24th, 2003

grandma ryan

Thesis musings

It pleases me to know that what I wrote to earn my degree is something people actually want to read.

I also have had others request copies or go to the Reed library to read it. A few nights before I left for Seattle a girl I know who is majoring in Studio Art and was a freshman last year told me she read my thesis and that it was interesting and it made her excited to write her own. Rachel told me after she read it that she was stymied as to what she would write for her thesis (next year) as she felt I had said it all already.

So many people's theses disappear into the thesis tower and are never read again. I feel very honored that with mine that is not the case. I have written something that does not just dribble over dry academics but also keeps rapt and challenges. For this I am proud.

I am also proud that I finally managed to improve my clarity to such a great degree.
During the course of writing, my thesis advisor once said, "I'm not worried about your work, it's your writing I'm concerned about." I think his misgivings were a combination of this issue I have with clarity in the written word, and my intimidating lack of reliability when it comes to having work done enough in advance to do editing (or on time at all). Really, it was the editing process which made the difference with really was never all that much either, mostly small grammatical rearrangements and simplifications of unnecessarily complicated language. (Also... Ethan saying that was very nearly the closest thing I ever got in terms of a compliment from that man, so I recall it often. It also comes in handy when talking about him to other Reed art majors.)

But after all, without much push on my own— I'm drawing in readers, with a longish piece of academic work, and I think that is pretty impressive. Hail to the king.