Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mind, Unraveled

I've never been good at splitting a single day's attention among more than one or two complicated tasks, and I'm even worse at dispersing work for a single task across more than one day. But I've been doing both relentlessly over the past week - since I started actually writing my thesis - and the result, I'm finally realizing, is not good. I'm just not getting things done. If I'd been able to sit down for five or six days in a row with nothing to do but write my thesis, I'd be done by now. I would've been impossible to be around for those five or six days, but at least I would be done. As it is, I've been trying to balance my work on my thesis with work for the class I teach, work for the class I'm taking, preparation for my comprehensive exams, and my actual life (that thing that would be so easy to forget I have if I didn't force myself to come out of my academic haze once in a while to cook and clean and make love and go to friends' houses to watch fantastically erotic movies). And trying to balance all of those things has led to this: I write an average of two or three measly pages a day on my thesis, I haven't done any of the reading for tomorrow night's class except the section on Nietzsche (and I read that only because I have to present on it), I haven't graded the writing exercises or the five revised papers I need to hand back tomorrow, I haven't thorougly organized my thoughts on the movie my class will be discussing tomorrow, I've barely thought about the questions I need to devise for my rhetorical theory comp, and my house is grossing me out.

This afternoon I had an hour or so of brilliant clarity, and none of this bothered me. I was certain that all of these things would fall naturally into place in the next few days, and I was looking forward to the transcendent feeling of accomplishment when that happened. Then I finished reading Nietzsche, and the clarity devolved into muddled despair. Because, it turns out, the last parts of Nietzsche's theory of tragedy confuse the hell out of me and I think preparing my presentation will take up much more time and brain juice than I had planned. If only I could sit down and focus for a while on grading those papers, I think the clarity might return. But I feel panicky now, and I'm afraid to try focusing on anything because I dread the feeling of disappointment that's so familiar to me lately.

But I will try. Wish me luck.


Blogger Froyd said...

good luck.

3/06/2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Thank you. Actually, things went rather well after that post.

3/06/2006 12:48 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

I understand these feelings of being overwhelmed--deeply. It is hard to focus on any one thing when there are ten things that are all screaming for immeditate attention. I, too often, find myself unable to do ANYTHING because I don't know where to start. This, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me because that's never happened to me before. It is difficult to settle my mind enough to concentrate. Yes--I sympathize with your plight. But you are doing good Amber--remember that. We are only half way through the sememster and you already have a lot of accomplishments under your belt.

As for your presentation on Nietzsche-- I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found what you had to say on him facinating and couldn't help but wonder what Nietzsche would have to say if he was a present day rhetorician. oh--wouldn't that be interesting!

Ok--I could go on forever, but I'll quit now. I wish you luck with everything. Hang in there!

3/07/2006 8:26 PM  

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