Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No more school for me (probably) forever

Last Thursday I defended my master's thesis. It was a score for the first 23 minutes (roughly a third) of an album of songs called Welcome Oklahomagain. The project is unsurreptitiously an unofficial installment in Sufjan Stevens's (probably) abandoned "Fifty States Project".

The defense went better than well. It was actually quite fun. All three professors on my committee had encouraging things to say, and each of their critiques of the project in its current state were well-needed and accurate. Nobody didn't sign the piece of paper that tells OU I am "satisfactory", so I guess the Graduate College is satisfactored with me now.

The School of Music, however, must still be sated. A year ago I enrolled in a self-invented independent study called "The Concept Album in Popular Music". Sounds like a fun class, eh? Well, mostly it just meant I got to go to a History of Rock Music class without having to do any assignments or take any tests, which WAS fun. The part that meant I still got 1 hour of graduate elective credit was that I had to write a 25-page paper by the end of it, which I did not do.

I took an incomplete for the course, figuring I could put the paper together in my spare time and turn it in at my leisure. Well, a year's worth of spare time has come and gone and I have found plenty of other things to do at my leisure that are NOT writing a research paper.

So now I've got three days till the end of the semester (and the end of my window of opportunity to receive my master's degree), and I've written nine pages. Six of those happened within the last day. The paper itself is about the two state-themed albums that Sufjan made before he stopped making state-themed albums, so it is directly related to my thesis. But writing something that sounds like research about someone who doesn't get talked about in books is REALLY HARD. So I've abandoned the goal of sounding academic. The paper is a complete hodge-podge of writing styles, meandering in and out of fictional storytelling, music theory analysis, personal anecdotes, biographical sketches, American history, lyrical commentary, and Christian devotion. In other words, the paper reads about how Sufjan's albums sound. 

As long as I make a C on it, they won't withhold my degree. I'll let you know how that pans out...