I kind of, deep down inside, want a lit PhD.
I mostly don’t, and, as a result, I don’t, you know, have one. But the undead body of a desire for a lit PhD keeps clawing itself out of its grave, and this time my main reason for wanting one is: I want to write creatively (Evernost especially) out of deep and learned reading and not random and substandard reading. (But, says my inner critic, all that reading has to be spontaneous and done out of passion if it’s going to influence your writing in any way any astute reader would actually care about instead of turning you into a pretentious idiot. And I’m like, “Maybe, but did it ever hurt to try?”)
Because PhD Zombie keeps intermittently chewing on my brain, I try to make compromises with it. Such as “I will write a scholarly article on X” or “I will read Y books of theory and blog about them” or “I will get through reading list Z.” These compromise goals mostly come to nothing.
This spring’s compromise goal is: I am going to read the Great Books and important literary criticism that I already own. I will start by reading the Oxford Book of Verse (the Christopher Ricks edition, which I bought rather at random at the bookstore where I work) in a month, take notes, maybe write pastiches of the poems, and create from it my own reading list (in addition to whatever I have lying around). I am going to blog about this. I am going to spend one to two hours a day on this project during my work week and three to four on days off (along with three to four hours on creative pursuits).
In practice, this feels rather unlikely. But then, over the past five-ish years, Evernost has motivated me to write a fantasy trilogy and self-publish illustrated chapbooks and write sixty-something poems, some of which I even like. Maybe it will motivate me to do a lot of good reading.
In the meantime, I’ve put together another tiny chapbook, Of the Firebirds, which I plan to sell locally and perhaps as a Kindle book—not sure yet.
Wish me luck.