One time last semester, life was falling in pieces, or at least I thought it was. I really can’t remember why I was upset. I just know that I was in my spot on the Dennison steps, legs dangling a few feet above the heads of students walking below. Judy came along behind me, and speaking the universal code that is I wish I could help but really can’t, she gave me food. Flatbread crackers, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese has been my thing ever since.
I work on deadlines. I always have. Pretty sure the over-achiever, ambitious timelines I set fall in rhythm with my own heartbeat. Supposing this connection were true, it would explain why not meeting deadlines of any kind, include my own, sets my pulse racing.
Watching an idea larger than I can properly explain come together has been the achievement of my academic life. Admittedly, there are things far more important. Likewise, a few dozen mostly coherent pages doesn’t really count for anything truly “academic.” While its stolen my life, interests, time, relationships, sleep, and is about to get away with my sanity, a thesis is an exercise, not book. If I’m a lucky, a dozen people will actually read it, and half of them will be either paid to do so or share my bloodline.
And yet, it’s all I want tonight, because it still matters. The sophomoric (literally, cause I was a sophomore) Thursday night stomachache of fear and tension and not actually being fully convinced of my ability to make my deadline is setting on with prodigious force.
I spent most of the day camping out in the CSS library, a location with the unique advantage of being unoccupied, large enough to pace, and far enough away from anything that matters to yell at my computer without disturbing anyone. The introduction I wanted to complete on Thursday is finally written and the rewrite of Part I is at last underweight, but the gaps, unwritten conclusion, edits, and eight days I have until I need a complete draft rise on my shallow breaths.
I’ve never run a marathon before, but I’m pretty sure this is the intellectual equivalent, and I’m doing it on flatbread crackers and cheese.