FiSch blog

Time to grow?

Like many who are not schoolteachers, NHS staff or other key workers, in these recent weeks I have been getting used to spending most of my time at home, getting very acquainted with Zoom and the various tools we are using for online teaching at the university where I work. It’s been quite enlightening (and at times quite shocking!) to see how this period of enforced restriction has affected my sense of time: little jobs can stretch out to fill a whole day, and often I will look at the clock (or the calendar!) and be startled to see how much time has passed.

Writing acknowledgements: depending on others

Just over a week ago I submitted my doctoral thesis. One of the most enjoyable parts of the final few weeks of this process was writing the acknowledgements. Before sitting down to do this, I had thought to myself: "I'm not going to be one of those people who writes pages and pages of acknowledgements. It's self-indulgent and a bit too much like showing off. Surely a paragraph or two will be enough."

George MacDonald, Anxiety, and Joy

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish clergyman and writer who profoundly influenced the fiction and non-fiction works of C.S. Lewis. One of Lewis’s lesser-known publications is an edited collection of MacDonald’s writings: the book can be hard to find in print now, but a dear friend gifted my a copy of it two years ago, offering me a valuable 'guided tour' of MacDonald's profound, if at times abstruse, writings on life and faith.

Solitude and unity: a medieval perspective

Like many of you, I spent yesterday morning, not at church, where I would usually be, but sitting on my sofa at home in front of a laptop, watching a livestream of my pastor preaching to an empty building. In just a week, it seems, everything has changed. The Covid-19 pandemic means that ordinary Sunday services, along with most other kinds of social gathering, won't be possible for some time to come. It's unprecedented and unsettling (though I'm very grateful for the technology that enables virtual connections of various types).

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Academic Publishing: A Necessary Evil?

For the early academic, the rallying cry is ‘publish or die’! In an over-saturated job market, we are trained to focus on publication, believing—because we are more or less told—that we are only as good as our publishing record.

I have long dreaded the publication process. The stakes seem so high and I’ve been resentful of how the pressure to publish shifts my focus from my research topic itself to how I can market is successfully. I know that publishing is a ‘necessary evil’ in academia, but I also know it as a hollow and demoralising process.

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