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I’m coming to think about the Unnamable’s incomprehension more literally.  And the infinite regress of frustration, as well.  It’s boring to read complaints, I hear, but perhaps if I arrange them one by one on the page, they’ll begin to fall into patterns, and the patterns will perhaps show me how to go on.  I’m going to use this place to be unapologetically introspective, or whatever.  I never could keep up with journals, mostly because I always got hung up on that “whatever.”  The journal was always supposed to be something.  To make it something other than what it felt like it was supposed to be felt so uncomfortably indulgent.  I suppose this is also why I’m not an artist.  Art is the ultimate self-indulgence.  Well, this will be something of a self-indulgence, without the attempt to tailor for an audience.  Or, the audience, if there is one, can entertain itself in the frame of the words here.  For some value of “entertain.”

Maybe if I have a place to write prose without worrying about it and then push that prose off a cliff into the world instead of leaving it to sit aimlessly in my computer with all the other fragments, maybe then I can start writing prose again for my advisers.  I would say for myself, but at some point I will have to recognize that this is for my advisers, that if I try to write something for myself I’ll never get my degree.

It’s interesting how the humanities academic’s life is never present-focused, and achievement rarely comes with any sort of closure.  The classes taken, reviews, articles, degrees, lower-level jobs, book, slightly higher-level jobs, perhaps an award here and there, another book, etcetera..  Until finally tenure.  And people wonder why some professors seem to get “lazy” after tenure.  The psychic pressure builds into a kind of breathlessness, wondering when the payoff happens.  Each seeming achievement is nothing but a stepping stone, a grain on which to place another grain in pursuit of a heap that is indeed impossible.  This is probably why I’m bringing the idea of “enoughness” into my dissertation, the point at which it might as well be a heap, might as well be infinity, so we can treat it as enough while retaining just a little of the momentum that comes from the knowledge that enoughness isn’t completion.  But it’s the emotion I’m really interested in, the rest and relief, the satisfied sigh.  Humanities academics don’t really get that; they’re always gasping.  I generalize here, of course.  By academics I mean me, and a sort of vague feeling about the discipline.

It’s going to be interesting, this home stretch of the dissertating, the job search, whatever comes after.  By “home stretch” I mean actually getting the damn thing down on paper.  And by “job search” i’m not sure what I mean, because I don’t know what I want to do yet.  I don’t know if I’m one of those who is abandoning the ship; I think I’ve just got my toes in the water and I’m seeing if the ship is going to stay afloat for me.  To extend the metaphor a little too much.

I hate the feeling that I’m treating time like the proverbial baby, throwing it out with my motivational bathwater.  I feel like all I want is the time to work, but if I had been better using the time I have been wasting for the last couple of years, I would have been able to do all that slow reading of tangential sources, the winding notetaking and the writing of poems that may or may not have withered in the stopped-up space around my brainstem, down the shoulders.  Maybe the knots that gather there are like snowflakes, coalescing around the desiccated fragments of that poetry.

But now I’m just playing with images, or maybe just getting maudlin.

 

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