Among other things, Kat asked something no one ever asks — for details about what I was actually supposed to be working on in grad school when I started writing fiction.
There’s a link to the paper that came out of my master’s thesis. It is not, I warn you, an example of scintillating prose. It is, however, a decent example of non-scintillating academic prose.
If anyone actually clicks through all the way and wonders, the other author was my graduate advisor. All the writing is mine. All the guidance through the statistics was his. How well I remember the moment when he asked, “So, have you checked the residuals? How does that look?”
I also remember my answer clearly. I said, “Not yet, Jeff, but I’ll get on that soon.” Translation — Um, what are residuals again? I had to go look that up and then figure out how to calculate residual variation and then interpret the results.
I don’t miss those days at all, I must say. I still write (casual, rough, just good enough for bureaucratic purposes) analyses of tutoring outcomes for my job. That’s fine, but yeah, it was very plain at the time that I was never, ever going to like doing research. Fiction, as tough as it can be at times, is much better. Much.