>photo blog #3: luxembourg
>LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG
july 13-16, 2006
prologue: luxembourg is uber small (there’s only 450,000 people in the entire country!), and chrissy failed to pay attention to this fact when she booked THREE days and night in this beautiful nook of nothingness. thank god my roomies were gaggles of fun. maria (from prague, and her friend martina who’s not pictured) was hilarious, and julia (photo courtesy of her, btw) were the cat’s meow. we tried to party like it was 1999, but in luxembourg, it was more like 1499.
(side note: is it just me, or do i look skeletal in this shot? okay i admit, i’ve lost like 30 pounds in the past 2 years . . . but here i look sickly. not good, estima)
[photo courtesy of julia!]
below their feet, nothing but an expanse of air.
i was walking through the ghost of the city, came across this building and thought it was neato. later i discovered it’s apparently the oldest house in the nation, like 500 years old or something like that, and i was able to take tour through it, snooping through ancient bedrooms and kitchens. listening to the old wooden floorboards creak under my sketchers.
(photo courtesy of julia!)
christine’s oral defense – the abbreviated version.
walk in early before anyone arrives. stare down at the campus from the third floor window, take off your shoes, make fists with your toes, rubbing your skin against the carpet. not exactly scared, more like opening-night jitters.
the examing committee consists of the awesome kate lushington, laura levin, belarie zatzman, and jamie scott. before sitting down, they shake your hand, tell you how much they loved reading the 227-page dissertation:
which explores narratives of gendered-ethnicities on the toronto stage, post 9/11.
(try saying that 5 times, really fast)
your document blends academic theory with creative writing (short stories, flash fiction, and playwrighting) and life writing (journal entries).
so the round of questions and the oral begins:
jamie: this is a tour de force!
kate: i found this thesis extremely readable and enjoyable; a great relief for an outside examiner dreading an onslaught of academic jargon that i would have to unravel. this thesis was a page-turner! the greatest strengths of christine’s work are her own personal writing; her short stories are grippingly autobiographical, immediate, and dramatic, and her life writing journal entires are powerful and persuasive. her own responses to the present moment are always engaging and perceptive, and i would like to see her put more of her personal experience of theatre in this city into the discourse.
laura: one lovely aspect of this thesis is that, as readers, we are tracking your evolution and your search for identity as the pages turns. like you say, theatre occurs in the space between the audience and performer. likewise, your thesis occupies that immense space between the reader and your mind.
me, thinking: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . best. moment. ever.
jamie: i’ve read many texts that attempt to blend academic and creative writing, and they all have failed in their attempts. their structure and style never flows and it’s a trainwreck. this is the first time in my career that i’ve seen academic and creative writing blended so seamlessly, with such flow. with christine’s permission of course, i would like to use her thesis as a MODEL and template for future students wishing to do the same.
you pass your oral exam after two and half hours, and all you can think about are all those moments in the past 2 years where you cried on your professor’s couches, drank pepto-bismal like a martini, lost countless nights of sleep, avoided friends and family, and lived behind your computer just to finish this damn master’s degree, and now, just like *that*, it’s all over.
and what you feel is something unknowable.
jamie: christine, we are nominating your work for the Graduate Thesis Award.
me, thinking: . . . . . .holy. fuck. on. a. stick.
you interviewed her for your thesis, and d’bi has the midas touch.
as she sings and dances and laughs and weeps and owns every audience member’s heart in a mere 80 minutes, you look up and see layne giggling like a school boy in the balcony.
after the performance, you rush up to him to tell him the news. jump into his arms with a hug. layne gets down on his knees and hails you. he sees everything you do through the gauze of happiness.
you’ve been home for exactly 2 weeks, and you’ve been melancholy.
you deserved a good day.