Anyhow, my doctorate is technically in anthropology. Now, the study of humans is generally broken down into two main areas (well, 4, but let's not be all Boasian, okay?)--physical anthropology and socio-cultural anthropology. This can be roughly (and I do mean roughly) divided into studying living people (socio-cultural) and studying dead people & human origins (physical). I'm a molecular anthropologist, which means I study people through looking at their DNA and am firmly in the physical anthro side of things. Namely, I study ancient DNA, or the DNA of people that have died a long time ago. Think, like 1000 years or more. Some much longer, some a few hundred years more current. My dissertation was based on people that lived around 1k years ago though, so that's a pretty rough estimate of what I do.
Have you heard about the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome? That's molecular anthropology. We're cool like that.
No matter what, my academic life involves a lot of time in a small room working very carefully with small amounts of clear liquid. It allows me a lot of time to let my mind wander a bit (things can get pretty rote at times--think of loading a tiny drop of the same liquid into 96 little tubes). I love it, oddly, but it also gives me some mental space to think about my stories. And that combo is perfect for me.
|Constance Brennan from Bones|
(The random simalarities are kind of disturbing, actually. Bah. I, at least, have better social skills. I hope.)
Someday I will write a story that incorporates my academic life. Someday. And I'll wish I could do half as well as Kathy Reich :) Until then, that's what I do!
Tell me, what about your day job helps you with your writing? Anything? Nothing? Something in between?