Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Paper writing—a journal kept while writing a long term paper.

March 6th, 2006, AM I set myself deadlines. Earlier deadlines then when the paper is actually due because I know in my heart that I won’t be able to write the damn paper. That the words, once in my head, will fall out, dribble out, and melt onto the floor. I sit in front of my computer and freeze. I have written a hundred notes, a hundred little scribble inside of books, next to articles and on sticky notes. I prepare to write. I sit there. The computer sits there. I type three words, two of which I spell wrong and one of which is “and.” I backspace and erase all the words—they were bad words after all, lacking grace or specifics. I get up. I pace my office.
Why the hell did I ever think I could go back to school at this late date and time? I should just quit, just hang it up and go back to office work or exchanging tickets or something. Who gives a flying shit about a Ph.D. anymore, anyways? I am not even getting it in a standard area of study! Comparative studies, what the hell is that anyway? That is what everyone asks. So, you are studying what? Oh yeah, this will really help me out in the great wide world of reality.
I sit back down: “God damn-it.” I get back up. I refresh my coffee that I had refreshed just five minutes before. I pet the dog. Turn music on that will not distract me. I walk back to my computer and stand about five feet away from it—looking at it, cursing it. A new email! How lovely, a distraction! I open the email; it is from someone who wants to sell me pills to enhance my manhood. The problem is I am a woman and unless it is a pill that can jumpstart me into writing this paper, I don’t care. I get a lot of these emails: sex enhancers, hair replacement, investment tips, random emails not stating what they are selling but telling me where I can buy anyway. Hundreds find their way into my email box every week. Nice diversion but it doesn’t distract me for long as I am again looking at the blank page waiting for me. Damn blank page. Stupid blank page. I refresh my coffee again. March 7, 2006, AM I got 12 pages out yesterday, 12 pages that will most likely be cut down a lot. It is better to write more than less. I am writing a 24-30 page paper on cosmopolitism and the Antigone. I am writing on a new subject, a new take on a subject, and so must be inventive. I stopped at 10:30 last night. It was a day of fretting and typing. Sudden realizations and failures. Typing and backspacing. When did backspacing officially become a word? I have to start again but that same feeling of approaching doom is settling on my shoulders. Again, what the hell was I thinking going back to school at this late date when my husband and I don’t even have a retirement account started yet? Damn privatization. Damn corporations cutting everything from pensions to health insurance. Why be loyal to one company for a life time when they are not loyal to you. He used to get Christmas bonuses and now he gets an office party. We used to get good healthcare but now we have to justify on a multitude of forms why we went to the ER when George broke his ankle and was running a 103 temperature. I spelled temperature wrong and had to go back and correct it. Damn computers. No, I take it back, I love you computer, I love you, I love you. I love you. After writing yesterday, I realized that no one has told Ismene’s (Antigone’s sister) story. How sad. Her whole family dead, killed or suicide and her adopted family is dead. She is left with no one—just the house servants who probably resent her. Left in the house of Creon alone and forgotten. She was dismissed by her sister and her uncle but is the only one who does not try to escape through self-inflected death. I think Ismene is strong after all. I see her as a true heroine. This has nothing to do with my paper, but I think I will write Ismene’s story after I am done. No one should be forgotten in society. No one should be ignored. Damn paper. I write blog entries easier than I write papers. I am going back to work. 3:30 PM I was going real gangbusters there for a while. The words falling out of me faster than I could place them on the page:
I need to start here and then I will add this. No, wait, before I add this, I really should add that to give it historical grounding. Yes, that’s it. Right. Ok, now turn the corner here, back up to that last point and, slowly, slowly, pitch! A curve ball but right over the plate! Yes! I can do this! I have it in me. Go. Go. Go. Stop. This does not make sense. How the hell can I say that without first saying that other thing? Does that other thing belong here? No. shit! No. I need to bring it up at the start of the paper where I talk about language. Fuck. Now I have to rework that whole section. And look at this, passive voice all over the damn place. Why do I like using ‘to be’ so damn much??????
I went to print out what I had so I could see it in a different way but, I am out of ink. This pisses me off. I have no car to go get ink and am out of ink. I knew this too. Had shook the cartage just two day’s ago. I pushed it with the ink and now I can’t have a printed copy of this piece of shit paper that I feel needs to get done by Wednesday at the latest. One rough draft, please god. Just a rough draft with no passive “to be’s” anywhere! Apparently it is ok to say “to be” if you are Shakespeare but not if you are a student. Damn Shakespeare! March 8th, 8 AM I am on the last section of my paper now. I got up at midnight with an idea of how to fix the problem I was having. Now, however, my problem is that my paper is running too long! I also have to find time to work on my monologues before rehearsal tonight. So much to do I had better not write too much in this journal right now. 8:30 AM Get up, refresh coffee. Walk outside. Come back inside. Read other blogs. Hate myself for not working on my paper. Yell at myself. Encourage myself. Put coffee down and start writing. 2:30 PM I am done. The first draft is finished and waiting for later scrutiny. I am delighted by my trials and efforts. I feel I have reached a lovely orgasmic climax of words, ideas and insights. This felling should last for about a day until I pick up the paper as a whole, read it and become disillusioned, once again, by its gapping holes, comma splices, incomplete thoughts and areas of disorganization. I will then take a scalpel to the thing, cut and redefine, edit and reform. Like a piece of clay, this rough form will be pounded, thrown against the wall, embraced and loved. Until then, thank god this part of hell is complete. R

1 comment:

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