War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

notes from PhD land

working on my first chapter of my dissertation in preparation with a meeting with my supervisor, and I’m flitting like a hummingbird with serious ADD from one source to another, to an idea, to a quote… down the rabbit hole of research into the warren of tunnels, no that’s mixing metaphors, try again… down the slender trumpet of the data datura from which a PhD might never return unless she’s very careful (Angel’s trumpets being dangerous things)…

one of the things I’m doing, besides looking at diaries and letters from poet-combatants (two days ago WWII RAF poet James Farrar, died age 20) and other war artists, I’m looking at my field notes.

today, notebook #6 WWx and Suffield

inside the cover, and on the first pages

There are no hard distinctions between what is real, nor between wha is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily true or false…” Harold Pinter, 1958
I believe these assertions still make sense and do still apply [them] to the exploration of reality through art. Harold Pinter, 1980 Nobel Speech_

under this,

1CMBG (with its numbers and regiments in detail)

next page

Dulcimus – we lead

Palma non sine pulvare Nothing worth having comes easily

next page

Feb. 7, 2008 Col. Corbould – CO 1CMBG invited me to spend time with him [shadowing him] @Suffield

Army News, Sgt. M 780 123 1234 [he wanted to do an interview]

DCoy MWO P Size 11 1/2 socks [he saw me knitting socks and wanted a pair]

inside the diary, pressed aspen leaves, sage, a raven’s feather, a menu from the Mess Dinner with the officers of 1CMBG (Prime Rib, cheesecake, toasts, march pasts), a printed schedule of the COIN talks,

the back inside cover, hand-drawn rank insignias (my cheat sheet) and descriptors of weapons

C 6 Machine Gun
C 7 Assault Rifle
C 9 Machine Gun

then within, pages of Ex., conversations, thoughts, fragments of poetry, descriptions of two wars on two fronts, someone has placed a post-it note, I’ve never seen it before, it quotes my work in familiar handwriting, “snipers tent next to chapel-nobody ever sees them” and I’m wondering if someone read my diary as next to this note is a missing page… and how did the note get in there?

and to read someone’s private diary, or read their emails, or their txts or anything one isn’t invited to read, is to me, a very low thing. I’ve heard of psycho wives pouring over cell phone bills, and psycho husbands installing spyware on their spouses computers…

maybe I’ll read through my diaries later. I don’t have the stomach for it. or maybe I’ll just burn them.

2 Comments (Closed)


please don’t burn, but stay lit, your flame a beacon…

Nov 26 2011 · 15:52

Alex VanderWoude

OMG, burning your diaries would be a sin of the first order. If you cannot read them yourself then put them in a safe and bequeath them or something. But removing them from the world? A thousand times no!

Nov 29 2011 · 22:23

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled notes from PhD land. It was posted here on November 24, 2011.


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