I'm pretty well convinced that my brain does not work the way it should or at least in any sort of way that would make my life easier. First of all, let me point out that I see myself as a creative writer more than a scholarly writer. However, in the past 2 years I have begun to learn that there are overlapping qualities in both and I find great enjoyment when I am surprised my a merging of my creative and analytical selves. However, however, add intimidation and time restraints and I dissolve into a puddle of temper tantrums and tears. Luckily my husband is an English major also and is able to talk me through my worst episodes--such as when I'm laying on the couch with tears streaming down my face screaming: "I caaaaaaaaaaaaaan't doooooooooooooo it!" When this happens I find that I get really frustrated that I'm not like those people that so easily fit the mold and are able to write with hardly any effort. I start feeling like I'm stupid, like I'm a loser, and like a big fat drama queen. This is also the moment that I start seriously considering the notion of dropping out of school--even if I am just one week and a thesis away from graduating. So what! But then I remember: no degree, no teaching... and it promptly throws that option out the window. Damn. Ok--so eventually I buck up and make every attempt to celebrate the eccentric workings of my mind. This part always feels good, at least for the first 10-20 seconds before I start agonizing about the fact that I will never fit into academia--which is exactly where I hope to someday find a permanent job, teaching. And then the real low self-confidence kicks in...it sinks down deep and then expands.
And I think that's actually the point where I start crying and yelling into pillows and have to be talked down by my ever-loving husband.
So today I spent approximately 9 solid hours sitting in front of my computer. Yesterday I spent about 4 hours and before that I spent a whole lot of time reading and researching sources. I have 2 semi-polished paragraphs and a couple pages of notes to show for it, not to mention, a very sore ass--that's it.
The most frustrating part is how absolutely, passionately excited I was starting out. But now I have to take every thought I have had and every connection I have made and tweek it to fit into what's expected. I am attempting to discuss the beauty, the power, and the danger that language holds--but what it is quickly turning into is just a lame ol' comparison and contrast essay (since that is, after all, the assignment).
All the while Morrison's words from her Nobel Lecture are floating around in my head fighting for air. Things like:
"Underneath the eloquence, the glamour, the scholarly associations, however stirring or seductive, the heart of such language is languishing, or perhaps not beating at all--if the bird is already dead. . . She has thought about what could have been the intellectual history of any discipline if it had not insisted upon, or been forced into, the waste of time and life that rationalizations for and representations of dominance required--lethal discourse of exclusion blocking access to cognition for both the excluder and the excluded."
I attempt to say what I mean, but instead my throat is packed "like a pate-producing goose with unsayable, transgressive words." I become hyper-aware of the "arrogant pseudo-empirical language" that Morrison argues is "crafted to lock creative people into cages of inferiority and hopelessness."
Ugh--but you see, that is not what I meant to say either! What I meant to say had something to do with valuing language and recognizing its power to transform. What I meant to say uplifts the spirit and inspires. What I meant to say is that language is not innocent unless it breathes life into language by vigilantly "grappling with with meaning, providing guidance, or expressing love." But instead I am left with several messy pages of nothing and another overly-dramatic blog post.
I can imagine that after writing this essay, life can only get easier. My problem is that:
- I'm a perfectionist.
- I'm stubborn.
- I don't fit in.
'Cuz around here it's just