I will be fully emerging out of hibernation soon, but for now I wanted to at least say a long overdue "hello" and imprint myself here, even if in the smallest of ways. I officially submitted my comprehensive exams a week ago today and am now back in the city. I am still a little stunned and am slowly returning to a slightly more normal and balanced life (i.e. one in which I am not hunched over my computer for 12-16 hours a day frantically trying to make sense of large amounts of material and write coherent essay responses to two excellently posed and provocative exam questions). I still have an oral exam to compliment my written work next week (for which I am of course nervous and feel utterly unprepared), so I am not out of the woods yet, but I at least have time to pause and ground myself before then. I am absolutely and in every way exhausted, but I have so many exciting plans and projects ahead, and Spring will soon be here, so I don't feel completely defeated (despite losing an hour of sleep this weekend as a result of "springing forward," when I needed it most!). I did, however, have to say a sad and emotional (although also temporary) goodbye to Andrew on Sunday evening, when he left to return to the country after taking me and all my stuff back to Montreal for the next few months as I live out the rest of the school year in flesh instead of as a long distance "ghost" student. Although our long-distance relationship will soon be coming to an end and we have SO much to look forward to, including a small and intimate wedding this summer, it nevertheless gets harder and harder every time we have to say goodbye and return to our respective posts (I hestitate to say "homes," because I feel so divided between our two residences and my real home is with him and our little family, so "posts" is perhaps a better description). Both Hunter and Glasgow are staying with Andrew, so I am deeply missing the whole family.
Inspired in part by this exhausting exam process, as well as by Hila, the writer behind the always inspiring le projet d'amour, and by conversations with my colleagues, who likewise experience the loneliness, stresses, and self-doubt as graduate students and researchers, I am thinking of starting a new series "on doing a PhD in the arts" to relate my experiences and provide a small forum for a discussion of the difficulties (but also the pleasures and rewards) we face as PhD students in the humanities and social sciences. Although I am admittedly the type to lock myself up in my home workspace and self-isolate as an academic, community and encouragement in this field are so important. I also want to share more of my research and art historical perspectives, integrating these aspects of myself into arterie & co. rather than simply using the blog as a healthy escape from my academic work.
I have a few unfinished draft blog posts floating around, but I have not yet committed to anything and am undecided as to how I want to return to regular (or semi-regular) blogging. I am also trying to focus on nova lily designs and a new website so that I can launch the new collection(s) soon! There is so much to do, so please be patient as I readjust, slowly come out of hibernation, and continue to spring forward....
The above image is a view from my desk at our small and humble home in Laurentian Valley. Both the botanical calendar and fox card are from the lovely Rifle Paper Co., and the other small prints adorning the magnetic board (which is actually a door conventiently covering an electric panel) are by artists Leah Duncan, Yelena Bryksenkova, and Eva Juilet.