Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Head Traffic

I'm on the second floor of the library (that's the first floor in France) listening to Traffic and trying to do homework that should have already been done. Or, that I should have already done, to be more specific and culpable. No passive voice is to blame.

Every student has a week like this. Even bona fide grad school material like myself. There I said it. I'm bona fide.

I run a small risk by keeping this public blog, where curious and thorough admissions folk may find evidence of my frequent misspellings, sometimes Frasier-esque verbosity (recently exacerbated by French lessons), and my incriminating tones and voices that point to a blatant disregard for university administration, a childish preoccupation with words, and yes, a "work ethic" in retrograde. Worst of all, they will surely discover that I am not at all sérieuse!

So far, most of this journal does not detail my scholastic mishaps, you know, the kind that actually affect my grades. Tonight I will be(come) the most honest person I know and tell you all about them. Since they never affect my grades anyway.

Maintenant, instead of getting started on my Queen Elizabeth I paper, I'm listening to Traffic and writing to you. The organs and flutes keep my fingers tapping the borrowed keyboard (ancient library loaner laptop), but they are probably not conducive to scholarly outputs. I can picture myself composing some good fiction with 60s and 70s music as my background noise. But not academic work.

I don't listen to music when I write for school. I think that's the most idiotic thing I've ever seen.

Here's my secret: I'm a great procrastinator. And by great I mean I do a lot of it. And by great I mean I'm damn good at it.

I have lots of ideas. I keep everyone entertained and happy with my ideas. And my "insights." Then, eventually, when I get around to it, when I have no other choice, I actually write the ideas down one after another, throw in a couple of those insights here and there, until the collections of words miraculously form a "paper."

But I can't get started on things. Poe called it the "imp" of procrastination. His imp was bad enough he had to write about it when he should have been writing other things. So mine is that bad too.

I guess I don't feel too badly about this because I don't have a lot of nasty habits that waste time. I think I busy myself with habits that are enriching but aren't exactly what I should be doing en ce moment. Like this. And like managing the Philosophy Club, reading novels for pleasure, attempting to read random philosophy for pleasure, doing French lessons over and over, writing letters, or researching things online like how to make my own cider. All enriching activities, for sure.

I just made myself out to be an overachiever. I'm really just a glutton. I stuff myself with all the gooey, chocolaty knowledge eclairs I can get my mitts on, and I neglect my brain broccoli. It gets yellowed and crumbly in the crisper drawer, until I realize it's due the next day.

Sometimes I feel very guilty. I am overwhelmed with guilt. Should I be? Some people are good at some things. I am good at writing. If I wait until the last minute to produce it, that is between myself and my letters.

But I'm supposed to be writing about Liz I and her letters. So that's what I'll do. As soon as I help these guys in my head kill some dude named John Barleycorn. I wonder if he's friends with Jethro Tull?


  1. Libraries are such wonderful places. So quiet and peaceful, you could just lose yourself in whatever you're working on.

    Congrats on being bona fide ;) I actually just a deadline today, but it was partly because I was sick from Monday afternoon to Tuesday evening. Stupid migraine!

    You make a preoccupation with words, disregard for administration, and playful whimsy sound like a bad thing. I find this blog quite refreshing in a very Daily Show-type of way. Only with more culture.

    It always seems like there's something better to do when a deadline is fast approaching. I can't count the amount of times when research has kept me away from actually writing or working on a story.

    I learned to stop listening to Bob Dylan while doing homework in high school. Something about that guy's music always seemed to tickle my creative muse. Odd how music and school work never seem to mix. Even that Mozart For Your Mind never worked for me.

    Here's a strange little thing I've noticed: writers seem to be really good when it comes to procrastinating. It's strange, every writer I've ever read has written or talked about missing deadlines. My mentor has always tried to drill into me that this is unacceptable, although I think we've both been guilty of it a time or two.

    I like your method of writing papers. I've tried it before, but I have the horrible habit of obsessing over the tiniest of details. By the time I get around to writing, I've got several different stories going.

    POE!! I adore Poe! Did you know that his stepfather summoned him to his deathbed just so that he could yell and shake his cane at Poe? That story always makes me smile. "I became insane with long periods of horrible sanity."-Poe

    Your sprinkling in French words and phrases has me on my toes. I'm looking in an online dictionary every other sentence. Learning, what fun.

    Hey, at least you're distracted by enriching activities. That's truly a life worth living.

    Look at it this way, you may be a glutton, but think of how many papers are turned in late because someone just had to catch a rerun of America's Next Top Model.

    This was a great post. I apologize for my somewhat sporadic (probably not the word I'm looking for) comment. My mind is buzzing with a million and one thoughts at the moment. Darn December, really gets me down and out.

    Looking forward to your next blog :)

  2. Personally I find that it helps me to listen to music while writing for school. As I'm sure you're aware of I'm a bit of an ADD kid, so listening to the right kind of music seems to keep the part of my brain that's interested in shiny things occupied.

    But I guess that part of my brain is idiotic in some respects.

    Henry the Contrarian


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