Sunday, 12 June 2016

‘Lascia ch'io pianga’

A visit to my Mum this weekend. She and I were briefly reminiscing over my PhD days. She remembers, in particular, how I used to wonder around the house complaining about my PhD, but in a silly, jokey way, interspersed with comedy wailing noises (my trademark was a sort of whingey, nasal ‘Waaaaaah!’… sound, obviously exaggerated, to let off steam.) (If you’re going to have a whinge, you might as well do it properly, with good sound effects.)

Anyway, she remembers one weekend in particular, when I was home, and she thought she could suddenly hear the whingeing noise, the ‘Waaaaaah!...’, issuing in one loud and continuous blast from somewhere in the house. She remembers thinking, oh God, if she hates it this much then maybe she should just stop this PhD!... Then she realized it was actually a car alarm that had gone off in the street.

My mum also remembers how I took my complaining to new levels: at one point, I was wandering about the house singing bits of the aria ‘Lascia ch'io pianga’ (my own, operatic/disco version, obvs). The words go

‘Lascia ch’io pianga mia cruda sorte/ E che sospiri la libertà.’

(Let me weep over my cruel fate/ And let me sigh for my freedom…’) (Appropriate, no?...)

It is a great song which I dedicate to all of you who are struggling with (or hating) your PhD thesis today.

Happy writing! X

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