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From the Eye of the Paper Hurricane

2004-12-07 - 9:03 p.m.

Ladies and gentlemen and the transgender of all ages, welcome to the final week of classes, when everyone sacrifices their life to Academia, the bitch goddess of ass-kissing, bullshitting, and any other livestock-related expressions used to describe the fingernail scratches on the chalkboard of life.

Where the Hell did that come from?

No, actually, things are going okay. I have four papers due: a do-over of my genre paper (5-6 pages), a paper on the reading practices of medieval women and their relation to a collection of 14th century poems (8 pages), a paper on Salman Rushdie and his relation to poststructuralist conceptions of the author (8-10 pages) and a paper on Arundhati Roy and the performance of the public intellectual (10 pages). One paper is due Thursday morning, another due on Friday, and two more due Monday. The great news is that I have actually finished (for the most part) two of those papers! Which ones? The ones due on Monday, of course! The ones due this week come Hell or high water? Haven't even started yet! Woo-hoo!

This is pretty typical behavior for me. Actually, no that's not true. This is me being damn well ahead of the game, in so far as I would normally not have started the papers due Monday until Friday at the earliest. However, starting a paper due Thursday on Wednesday? Par for the course.

Notice how I said Wednesday rather than Tuesday, when I'm writing this entry. Well, I wrote my intro paragraph and my thesis, but for the most part I hit a wall today. I had been working like a dog since returning from The Notorious MOM's big day, and so today I took a rest, for the most part. My intention is to get up tomorrow, pack up all the necessary books into my rolling suitcase, drag said suitcase, along with my ass, to the English building by 8am, park said ass and suitcase in the library, and not leave campus until the bitch is DONE. Knocking on wood, we'll see how it goes.

Now, to any of my fellow graduate students who may be reading this and feel ready to knock out my teeth for being this done at least, all I can say is that while reading Arundhati Roy's essays for the fifty-sixth time on the flight back from Texas, with only a double-shot of Nyquil keeping me from shrieking in pain from the pressure on my sinuses, a voice came into my head from the dark reaches of my soul screaming, "That's it! That's it! I have fucking HAD IT! I want this done! I want this shit done! I want it out of my life forever! When I get home I am going to just sit down and get it all done so I'll never have to fucking look at it AGAIN!!!" It is only my intense psychoticness that allows me to get this done, and rest assured that although I have written 23 pages, I still have at least 15 more to go.

I have also been trying to recover from my illness this week, which is not easy when you're doing all this paper-writing and shit. I have mostly been consuming juice. Like, for meals. Juice, trail mix, and Cliff bars have been much of my life this past week. However, today I actually got my shit together and fixed myself two square meals, meeting up with an old Penn friend for the third (dosas at Udupi, which might not cure all ills but will certainly make you want to live again). I bought zinc lozenges after a certain Chicana genius I know introduced me to their magic. I have even--and it is a terrible thing to have to say this--laid off coffee. Yes, I know. How on Earth can I manage to do this without coffee? How can I actually go to a classroom and focus without coffee, much less fill up blank page after blank page with meaningless drivel cooked up to look like something that makes an intellectual contribution (at least I hope so--still knocking on wood here) without my precious morning mocha. It ain't easy. Tea doesn't fucking cut it. However, having my sinuses hurt so much that my jaw clenches ain't so fun either, so even I must forego my beloved peppermint mochas and cope.

God, I want school to be over with.

Some of you may be wondering why I'm even taking time to write this entry. Well, since I've apparently decided to take most of the day off, I figured I'd write an entry so that I won't be tempted to write one tomorrow, and I'll be able to check throughout the day to see if people left comments, so please leave comments so that I can have something to do when I absolutely cannot talk about intellectualism and performativity anymore, which should happen a lot tomorrow.

I've been putting this paper off, I think, not only because it's the most daunting topic, but because this is the one that I really want to do well on, which makes me scared of it, on some level. I would love to have the professor teaching it on a committee or two. I always feel extremely dumb in that class, and it's full of cool people that I want to hang out with and work with on performance projects. In the case of the other classes, I know most of the people and hang out with them already and know that they think I'm not a complete maroon (maybe 3/4 of one, or 4/5, but not complete). In this case, I can never tell. And this paper I am required to read out loud in front of the class. They will know if I fuck it up. So I have been putting it off, knowing that it will take the built up pressure of procrastination for me to punch it through.

As for the genre paper--I hate genre. I hated it the first time I wrote the paper and I hate it now. I have no desire whatsoever to do the paper, but I have to. I intend to start work on it as soon as class ends on Thursday and just hammer it out as soon as I can. And then maybe, just maybe, I'll be free. I might get a note from a prof saying that one of those papers I turned in earlier is a piece of crap, but if I don't, then I will have an entire. Weekend. Free.

Well, actually, not free, because I still have to interview someone and transcribe said interview for a class, but that requires very little thought, just a lot of typing. I can handle that.

I have been fantasizing about what I'm going to do when I finish everything. I'm going to buy the Terry Pratchett novel I haven't let myself buy this semester for fear of it occupying my time and I am going to read it in a single afternoon. I am going to wander around San Francisco. I am going to clean my room and get my artwork framed, transforming the hole where I do my work into the fabulous dwelling in which I will hopefully entertain many gentlemen callers next semester. I will go to sleep and wake up whenever the fuck I want and always, always make myself a big breakfast. It is these visions of paradise that keep me going. And then, then I will return home to Austin, where I will hang out with Shkbob and Pearljammer and Anarchaspud and Ms. Firecracker and StikiNiki and Miss Ginger Leigh and all those wonderful people whom I have missed. I will HAVE A LIFE AGAIN.

Then, of course, I'll come back for another semester.

I know this whole thing is making grad school sound like Hell (check out to see Matt Groening's equally Hellish take on things). And yes, it can indeed be Hell sometimes, a Hell in which you feel like nothing you do is of any importance and nothing you say is in any way new, and chances are you're right on both counts. But there are times when you think "I'm onto something here" and you think you just might be cut out for it. And you get to hang out with these incredibly brilliant people whom you have managed to convince, on occassion, that you are somewhere around their intellectual level. I was talking to my Penn friend who is applying to Berkeley's ethnic studies program, and she said afterwards that I made Berkeley sound even more wonderful than she thought it would be. This was funny, considering how much I bitch about things. But I really do think that if I had to do this grad school thing--which I do, in order to teach at a college level, which is something I think I really want to do with my life--I couldn't have found a better place. Now I just have to prove that letting me in was a good idea.

Well, my tea is getting cold, and my nose is starting to run again, and I need to get home so that I can get a full eight hours and STILL get up early tomorrow. Anyone out there, please feel free to drop me a line sometime. I'll need people to make sure that I'm still relatively sane. And if you're in Wheeler Hall, I'll be in the lounge or the library if not the bathroom and the vending machines.

Bring trail mix. I might run out.

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previous - next

The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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