Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week of Doom

The week of doom has officially ended. Why was it a week of doom?

I had to write a poem, write a creative essay, write a less-official creative essay off a prompt, finish and turn in an application for a teaching assistantship, write a conference paper and submit said paper to the conference. And that's on top of all my usual homework and my job.

This weekend and Monday I was in writing seclusion. I ate, breathed, and slept (ate drank and breathed? breathed slept and ate?) menstruation and creative energy. (My creative essay was on menstruation.) I actually enjoy writing seclusion. Who woulda guessed, Esme likes to write. Wednesday I allowed myself a break to celebrate Imbolc. And yesterday afternoon/evening I wrote my conference paper.

Conference paper means I submit an abstract to a conference and if the conference likes the abstract I present the paper in front of people. In front of my colleagues as well as strangers who have traveled here from who knows where. And the first and most important rule of the conference paper is that it be eight pages. No less, no more. This paper has been required by my professor David Sigler. He is my new favorite person. His class on British Romanticism makes me drool. As Katie will know based on my phone conversations, this class and this professor make me gush.

So last night I was like, "God, I have to write eight pages. I'm writing about William Blake and rape. I only have two pages worth of material and my argument is faulty. I hope the conference hates my abstract so I don't have to get up in front of these people and make a fool of myself. What is my professor going to think when he reads this paper? He will think I'm stupid. He's never seen my writing before. He doesn't know this is the week of doom. His first impression of my writing will be that I am a dunce.
"OK, I may only have tonight to write this, but I am switching topics. OK...Helen Maria Williams! The sublime! OK. OK, I've got four and a half pages written. Not great, but better than if I had done Blake. It's short, but I don't sound stupid. I'll just tidy up my introduction and conclusion...oh my god my paper is actually about gender roles! Keep writing. OK, six pages. That'll do it. It needs tightened and rearranged, but that'll make it even farther away from the goal of eight pages, so this will have to do.
"Sweet! It's not the best but it's interesting and hopefully my beloved professor will think I have good ideas! OK, so Sigler is studying Williams in depth right now and is even writing the article on her for some encyclopedia and obviously knows way more about her than I do, but maybe he will think I have good ideas?
"Maybe I should have botched the abstract so I wouldn't have to do this at the conference."

My professor has read my abstract, and will read my paper soon. He says it looks interesting.

Huh. This post has mainly just been about my conference paper, even though this week I have ate dreamed and lived menstruation and creative energy. In conclusion: Menstruation! It is awesome!

1 comment:

  1. Hearing about really cool academic papers (or ideas for them) makes me get little tingly nerd tingles all through my heart. And then I remember how AGONIZING writing them can be, and even thinking about writing them, and then I'm okay again. Just FYI.