Novak (novak) wrote,

Theological Notebook/Personal: Dissertation Shift; Dan O'Brien Rules ABC

Huh. I got a call from Fr. Fahey a little bit ago, telling me he was done with my last chapter and sending it back to me with his remarks. He said he only had some cosmetic corrections he wanted me to make, but was including a few suggestions for the book version of the dissertation to come later. I'm still kind of amazed: as Editor of Theological Studies, he regularly brutalized the writing of chaired professors world-wide. Even retired, major names continue to send him articles to proof, because he does that good a job at improving them. My first chapters had as much red ink as I've ever seen in my writing, and all good suggestions and comments, to be sure. I'm just a bit shocked that my learning curve has apparently been that good: I know that when I send him something, I'm still not at all sure that it will be up to his standards.

But he also debated with me about making a considerable shift in how I am ending the dissertation, arguing that some of what I had included at the end probably wasn't necessary. I had some subsidiary topics that I was offering as further evidence of my overall programme, but he thought that these could stand alone, and probably worked better as parts of a follow-up study or as articles. "You already have a magnum opus; this is just more." So that kind of language was gratifying, to say the least.

It's been a bit hard to write the last few days, just being distracted by the magnitude of the horror in Haiti. I think it might help to have this fresh new "assignment" from him, just to be able to throw myself into something productive. So now I'm spending the weekend taking what I've got and re-designing it, refashioning the conclusion of the dissertation in about half the space I had imagined. It's a bit of a curve ball, to change the shape of this part right at the end, but it does certainly cut down on the total output of what I was going to do over the next week. It's actually kind of interesting to be suddenly re-designing some of this, since I've basically been following the same plan since I outlined it two years ago.

I took a break and crashed last night in front of ABC to watch the new Grey's. So it was good fun to see Dan O'Brien not once but twice during the commercials: first on a new Staples ad that I had heard he was in, and then with Luke Wilson on an AT&T commercial. Since I'm nowhere near the New York stage scene, it's fun to be able to catch him by seeing his work in commercials taking off over the last year or two. I had had a link to his old acting reel on the previously-linked entry, but he apparently has taken that down now. This new version, however, has an especially cool banking commercial with some awesome special effects. Again, it's particularly funny just to see how Dan he still ends up being in several of these commercials: that I'd hardly be surprised to witness him acting like this part or that in real life....

Tags: dissertation, fahey, friends-notre dame era, movies/film/tv, personal, theological notebook, writing, youtube

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