"—Little by little in the dark it began—"

A Conclusion to the Conclusion of the previous Conclusion of the Conclusion of Chapter 3

—finicky. I’ve started attending the informal classes again in order to understand how to use InDesign, the layout program for the thesis. Adrian’s left it rather last minute to teach everybody how to use it, and I don’t find much confidence in him saying “—it takes Design students three years to be able to use it properly—”. We have about a fortnight, and this doesn’t really include the printers, or the printing, the payment for that printing (which isn’t covered by the university, and which Shaun and I stressed was an unfair burden on students half-finishing their theses/exegeses). Just where is the money for my degree going? Why isn’t this covered? Why can’t I just hand it in stapled in the corner?

After a while, InDesign becomes increasingly more co-operative. I’ve given myself the extra week to learn how to use it (read: jumped the gun) because I always want to stay a step ahead from everybody else. I know a lot of panic layouts will be hustled together in the week everything’s due, and 12 computers in the Honours lab for over 24 students doesn’t even out. The partition on the Macs can’t handle the amount of storage of everybody’s work, and so they’re slower than they should be, which lengthens the whole layout process, and stresses everybody out for time.

My meeting with Shaun went well, and he got to see the layout and the cover for my thesis before I sent away for the printers. He even read the new Conclusion… and then re-read it… and read it again… I could see it caught him up a bit, made him stop and think, tugged on his own memories: “—you’ve turned a Ford Commodore into a Tank—”. BAM. Just what was needed, but not entirely what I expected. It’s always nice to hear your work’s appreciated, but when it gets to somebody, you know all the strife, all the pain, all the process involved in putting them together, was worth it.

Did I waste time?

It’s my time to be wasted.

Just like this is your time to be wasted.

[Written Whilst Listening To: “Dream”, by John Cage]


A Conclusion to the Conclusion of the Conclusion of Chapter 3

—probably the most difficult passage to write out of the whole thesis. Not because of the amount of time involved in the thesis, but because I had to emotionally bowl Shaun over. Not something I thought would be easy, given the task, but I have had other people cry after reading some of my poetry (not all of it’s pure Vogon). The first half of the Conclusion was fine, after having been an introduction to the Conclusion itself. I’d written this for Shaun the previous week, and it was the only part of the Conclusion he enjoyed; but by itself, it still wasn’t enough to make him cry.

It took me three days to write 400 words, one paragraph. In comparison, it took about 5 days to re-re-edit Chapter 2. I can’t explain the process behind why there is such a difference in the amount of time it takes me to write something with emphasis, something poetic, than it does something factual. I spent most of it typing out possible paragraphs, toying with old poems that never got anywhere, starring at the sheet of paper with the two words underlined that Shaun had said would be the key to unlocking the Conclusion: “interrelated “experience””.

This interrelated “experience” occurs between the audience and the extreme durational moving image, where the one informs the duration of the other. It is difficult to put into words here in the journal without referring to the thesis itself, but it is the time spent watching a film and not the film itself, which lends itself to this “experience”. It is especially heightened in extreme durational moving images because there is a vast quantity of time at the disposal of the audience.

In the end, I realise I’ve come full circle and included the very author who inspired my 1am musings way back in the beginning of Semester 1: Jorge Luis Borges. Back in my first undergraduate year, Borges was required reading. I had a mean lecturer for this class, but I am most grateful that she included his work on her course’s set readings. No other writer have I found such affinity with than Borges. He is at once poetic as he is insightful, and he is able to communicate such complex ideas in an elegance of simplicity. He inspires me, even though he is long since dead (as most of my favourite authors are), to find the beauty in complexity, to not be afraid to challenge, to not be afraid to write layers and layers and layers beneath my writing so only the most astute reader can find them.

The new Conclusion I have is similarly layered. I’ve destroyed the last poem I wrote last year just for a handful of its lines, and it’s perfect. In its destruction, I have created something… poignant, something that tears me asunder just in the same way that Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs always does. Life happens, and it hurts.

[Written Whilst Listening To: “Symphony No. 3, Op. 36”, by Henryk Górecki]


The Aftermath

—and after going to lab, I come away with an awkward hollow feeling. Like I left something behind, like the past couple of weeks by myself, tucked away with my writing, my lover, hadn’t really happened. I get this way after finishing a  sustained project, best described as a floating feeling. A piece of myself has been annexed onto paper, I cannot absorb it back into myself, I can never see it without remembering everything involved in its creation/destruction. There is this big hole in my head emptied of everything, and physically I feel drained. I can’t remember what we did in lab, I can’t remember even the past couple of days, only that there are words on the page, and I finished the Conclusion.

Today’s meeting with Shaun went better than expected, though. Shaun’s initial plan was for me to re-edit everything, and then for the two of us to go through it together “—for as long as it takes—” to remove any unnecessary waffle that might be there so it’s ready to be printed. We caught up at the Oxford for a friendly, and he had the pages printed off himself – the first time I’ve ever seen him do it. Usually I print them off, and I had a hard-copy to give him for this meeting, which I gave to him to hold onto “—just in case Tabitha (my computer, I named her, she works better with an identity) explodes, or my house burns down—”.

Everything I’d written, everything I’d gone through, had finally paid off. Shaun only had half a dozen sentences for me to tweak; the rest of it, he was proud to put his name to. I asked him if we needed to schedule a joint-edit, I was still keen, because I’d sort of imagined us editing together like how Will Hunting (Matt Damon) and Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) do on the blackboard with mathematics in Good Will Hunting (Van Sant; 1997). Shaun didn’t seem to think it was necessary, though, “—up to you—”. I’d cut out a lot of guff during the re-re-edit. The only thing that still needs doing, though, is the Conclusion, “—still missing that big BANG; you need to go out with a BANG instead of a whimper. You need to be able to make your examiners cry, like I did, with your last line—”. I agreed.

The way that the Conclusion sits now, it’s highly iterative of the introduction. I’m still not too sure what to write, but I feel more secure knowing that 99% of the thesis is ready to get printed up and submitted. Shit is getting real.

[Written Whilst Listening To: “We Have Gone Mad” (Original Mix), by Butterfly]