My friend Ericka has been my partner in crime for the past several months. Both of us spent the better part of summer and fall locked away, each with our own writing project underway. We’d check in with each other, making sure the other wasn’t going stir-crazy and insisting on tea and cupcakes if they were.
Today, I witnessed the fruit of Ericka’s work: she defended her 577-page (!) dissertation on “L’Amour, La Femme, et La Nouvelle Vague” before a jury who are experts on the subject. She was officially conferred the title of “doctor” 3 hours later.
Did I mention Ericka’s a native Texan and wrote her dissertation in French? Did you notice that page count? Could I defend anything in another language, much less before people who consider it their special domaine? I had to smile when her advisor talked of love as a “French specialty.”
Well, I don’t know about that, but the French do know how to intimidate.
Notice that one chair behind the big table, facing the jury? There sat brave Ericka, with 10 of us watching the proceedings. I have no idea how it works in the States, but I didn’t know a defense could be public in this way.
I am grateful to have been allowed to witness it. I had tears in my eyes when the jury conferred the title on her. And it motivated me to continue my work. (Yeah, one of us was much more productive as she locked herself away).
Well, I have just finished the first draft of a 45-minute lecture I will have to deliver for my graduating residency. The critical thesis is already done. Hopefully soon I will get back to the novel.
The desire to accomplish something – to finish! – was definitely heightened in me today. But more than anything, I feel grateful to have such awesome people in my life. (Did I mention this is the same friend who’s also a singer-songerwriter and purveyor of honky tonk in Paris?)
Bravo, Ericka! Kick-ass in every way.