Daily Archives: November 15, 2015

On elephants and Gannt Charts

Last weekend I was in Aldeburgh for the poetry festival. I met up with lots of favourite poets: Kei Miller, Helen Mort, John Burnside. I also discovered some poets I’d not met before but who will become future favourites I think: Choman Hardi and Paul Hoagland who read on the last afternoon of the festival.  Choman Hardi is a Kurdish poet who has written a collection from first hand reports of the Kurdish massacre in Iraq in the eighties. A stunning and very moving piece of writing: if you don’t know her work, check it out. Hoagland is American, political, cynical and funny. More books to buy then.

I made the five hour drive home on Monday and since then my week has been completely out of sync. I got up on Tuesday thinking it was Monday, nearly missed a hair appointment, realised just in time. Then on Thursday I missed a breast screening appointment, thinking I was on Wednesday (to be fair that was probably a Freudian slip, I hate having my breasts squeezed in a vice!). So all week I seem to have been running to catch up. Until yesterday. Yesterday I thought it was Sunday all day. i think I must have been ‘running to catch up’ too fast and passed myself somewhere on Friday!

Friday. What a dreadful day. I’m not going to dwell on the Paris attacks here, but that and the attack on Beirut on Thursday do put life into perspective somewhat. At times like these you have to remind yourself that the good in the world does indeed outweigh the bad.

So here I am, reporting on week three of the blog and RD1 is still the elephant in the room. I have worked on it, ticked all the boxes with an assumed confidence I don’t feel, and a little help from my friends. It asks if I have prepared a Gannt Chart. I didn’t even know what a Gannt Chart was until I googled it and checked out the video on the MMU website on how to set one up. Apparently, and you may know this already, a Gannt Chart is a spreadsheet of timeline planning for your project. To be honest, the video wasn’t much help to me on two counts. First, the voice-over had a strong Spanish accent that I found difficult to follow; and second, the version of Excel on the video is not the same version as mine. However, there is a website, http://www.tomsplanner.com that enables you to set up a Gannt Chart for free. As with most of these websites, the free bit is wonderful but if you want extras you have to pay. Unfortunately, the ability to print the chart is an extra, as is saving it to my computer, it has to be cloud-saved online. So I won’t be able to attach it to the RD1 submission, but at least I have one, albeit very rudimentary at this stage. it can be added to and given more detail as my workload progresses.

I have also edited my 1000 word abstract for the project so that is about ready to send off, but in a ‘first draft’ format until I’ve discussed it with my supervisory team. So I’m thinking that old elephant will be out of my study and on someone else’s desk by next weekend. Then I can begin work in earnest in line with my new Gannt Chart. Or put another way, then the real pain can begin.

On top of all this, lots of reading has been happening, still quite broad and unfocussed, but it is giving me a good idea of where I need to go. Greek myths and psychoanalysis: a heady aperitif to a main course of literary criticism and poetry reading/writing. Bring on the pudding.