This week, from Monday to Friday, was difficult in terms of writing − specifically, structuring theories. Over the last few weeks, I’d read many articles, mapped the theories and tried to structure them. But I was looking at too many details and losing connections between them in the whole picture. Anxieties became entangled in my mind and I thought, I might not meet the deadline!

Luca probably felt sorry for me. He said, ‘tell me all about your concerns.’ I started talking about my problems: structuring a chapter, the level of detail, things I hadn’t really understood and worries about my goals. (Now I think I’d worried too much.) He typed everything I said, grouped them into categories of ‘worries’ and made a list of questions. He said, ‘ask your supervisor about these questions.’ When I saw the list, my problems became clear. The list already solved a large part of my concerns by putting them into categories. For me, it was a little magic. I decided to reorganise the questions on the list by myself and ask my supervisor about a few that really needed to be clarified.

Today (Saturday), I went to my favourite coffee shop and thought about my working chapter over coffee and a ham and cheese croissant. That was truly a relaxing, happy moment and I had a productive time.


Beppo on cleaning streets

While having a hard time writing, I remembered a famous novel, Momo (English title: The Grey Gentlemen) by Michael Ende, 1986. Quotes from Momo vividly came to mind.

‘You see, Momo,’ he told her one day, ‘it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept.’

He gazed silently into space before continuing. ‘And then you start to hurry,’ he went on. ‘You work faster and faster, and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop – and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.’

He pondered a while. Then he said, ‘You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.’

Again he paused for thought before adding, ‘That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.’

There was another long silence. At last he went on, ‘And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. What’s more, you aren’t out of breath.’ He nodded to himself. ‘That’s important, too,’ he concluded.

I found myself hurrying too much and probably worrying too much about the scope of the theory: ‘It’s terribly broad.’ Beppo’s philosophy reminded me of what makes me feel relief − having a cup of coffee − and I was able to take a step forward.


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Monday dinner: Pasta Bake


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Friday treat: Prosciutto e Melone


My achievements in week 80

  • Did 30-minute gym workout from Monday to Thursday, which helped me to be positive.
  • Eventually identified some directions to set an analytical framework.

Goals for week 81

  • Submit my draft.
  • Work on revising my paper.
  • Continue 30-minute exercise at least three days a week.