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without branching into the hinterlands. But / that

      If I were sensible, I would give the whole idea a miss. I would stick to the dissertation outline I had already submitted to my advisor, focusing entirely on the spies’ European operations, without branching into the hinterlands.
      But I was curious. Let’s be honest, I was also looking for excuses to avoid writing up what I already had. Needing more research is always a brilliant reason to postpone actually writing your dissertation. After all, no one can accuse you of being lazy when you’re working. There’s a reason why you meet fifteenth-year grad students still diligently puttering away in the archives, amassing huge stockpiles of entirely undigested information. I knew one guy who spent nine years filling five file cabinets with notes without ever writing a single page of his dissertation.
      Of course, there was no way I could justify my incursions into the Selwick photo albums as work. That was a different type of curiosity entirely.

ex Lauren Willig, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily : A Pink Carnation Novel (2010; NAL pb 2011) : 200-201
short excerpt at google books : link

Lauren Willig at wikipedia : link
author’s website (opens to about) : link

some other “puttering’s” amongst Willig’s writing —

  1. ...puttering in the garage. They walked around the block, with the Hadleys pointing out houses where teenagers Jodie’s age lived, and where small children lived that she might want to baby-sit. Four o’clock approached quickly.... Runaway! (1989) : 58
  2. ... puttering about in the gardens of Kew. Not exactly an enticing prospect. But after last night, how could she have any doubt as to the Gentian’s identity? The evidence was overwhelming....
    The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (2005; 2006pb) : 194
  3. ...puttering about the village green. It was the sort of discovery that had “tenure” written all over it.
    The Deception of the Emerald Ring (2007) : 4
  4. ...Puttering about in the garden, trivia night with the vicar at the pub on Tuesdays, maybe a day trip into London to visit an aging relative if we were feeling really daring. I knew Colin had friends from his university days, I’d even met...
    The Passion of the Purple Plumeria : A Pink Carnation Novel (2013) : 155
  5. “...Hanging out of helicopters, taking pictures of war zones, all that sort of thing.” Julia’s image of the feeble old lady puttering away with her crochet hook underwent a quick revision. “Wow,” she said inadequately.
    That Summer : A Novel (2014) : 68

9 March 2024