Good friends and readers,
Hello from finals land.
This is a place slightly different from “finals panic” (which I was experiencing a few weeks ago). This is a place where everything is mapped out, everything is drafted out, and all I have to do is continue working at a good clip to slide into the finish.
My last final is due May 13th. And man, I cannot wait to plonk that baby down and close the book on what has been a phenomenal, engrossing, enormous, scary year.
The thing about finals land is that it is extremely draining. The writing process, for me, is a slow one and one that requires meticulous drafting and re-drafting. As I have previously mentioned, it takes between 6 and 8 drafts for me to produce something that I feel comfortable turning in. I like to work on one draft a day but, as I am currently simultaneously grappling with three large papers, that means I’m required to produce approximately 21 drafts to feel good about my product. I have 13 days to do it. This means that I’m going to have to average 1.6 drafts a day (provided I take zero days off between now and due dates). Which, realistically, means that I’m going to have to be churning out two drafts a day to give myself room for a breath sometime this weekend.
What this really and truly means is that my brain feels like a wrung-out sponge. I feel like I’ve given everything I have to this semester and I simply have nothing left to give.
Unfortunately, I’ve not got the option to stop now. There’s this last little bit of mountain to climb to get to the top of what’s been an arduous (but entirely rewarding) year.
There’s this saying in clown training; “find the energy”. There are two zones in clowning; “the red” which is where you are when you are in-nose and thereby in-character, and “the black” which is somewhere below that, not quite fully to the point of true clown yet. You get tired really quickly in clowning, it takes a lot to keep yourself going. When you’re training to do it, you are constantly told to “find the energy”. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself in the red. Dance, throw stuff, run around, keep going, dip into the deep part of yourself where you store the bits that you don’t generally access and use those to fuel whatever it is you are doing until it’s done.
And really, these days, that’s all I’ve got. I’ve got to find the energy to keep going, no matter where that energy comes from (at the moment, it’s coming from some lovely earl gray I’ve been drinking like it’s my job, though I may switch to something a little less caffeinated soon… also, girl scout cookies never hurt…).
In a few short weeks, I will be able to collapse and have a break (and trust me, in the two weeks between finals and my summer German class I intend to take full advantage of break time… if my past experience with graduate school has been at all indicative of my future experience with graduate school, I will be laid out on the couch unable to move for a solid three days before I regain the capacity to speak much less function in the real world). In a few short weeks, I can pick up a book that I want to read and read it for no other reason than “I want to”. In a few short weeks, I can hit all those extra random deadlines that have been lurking on the side of my whiteboard all but ignored because I simply did not have the time to devote attention to them.
…at least nature cooperated today. It was a gray, dreary day here in Boston – the kind of day that really does make me want to curl up on my office futon with a blankie, a French press full of tea, and my writing to red-pen. So that’s exactly what I did.
And I hit my writing goals. Here’s hoping that mother nature continues to cooperate and doesn’t insist on too many beautiful days between now and the 13th.