Sunday, May 20, 2007

Oh please...

Let me actually be on the edge of a breakthrough with this paper.

I have what is essentially a complete draft - and it is terrible. I came to the library, where I am now, between film screenings, to try and finish it up. And I realized just how deeply, deeply, it sucked. Like, truly deeply. It says nothing. It is pointless blather with no argument. I was sososososo despairing, and thoughts about my imminent and spectacular scholarly failure overcame me - predictable fraud-thoughts: "Why did a good, research uni like this hire me? Iam feeble-minded. I'll never be able to publish anything again, and I'll never get tenure. I am sunk!"

So despairing was I - I am really running out of time with this paper - that I decided just to go and try to calm myself with a cup of tea. I had exited the conference paper's file and was just about to shut down the computer when I was struck by some thoughts. I opened up Word again and quickly typed up notes, to remind myself when I open up the beast again tomorrow. Then I went to the bathroom, and in there I had a related chain of insights. I immediately scurried to one of those leather chairs to scribble them down in my paper notebook.

Oh, I so so so hope that this will lead somewhere, and that it won't involve rewriting the whole thing. Ack. I'm so nervous and worried, I could eat my own arm.


Earnest English said...

Oh I so know the kind of thing you're talking about. But you've got some ideas -- and, in knowing that the paper you have already is NOT what you want to say, you're closer to knowing what you DO want to say, yes?

Perhaps with the new notes, you can reframe some of what you have already. My process is often taking three different pieces of writing and weaving them together to create the whole. Maybe that would work for you too?

Is this a conference paper or article? A conference paper isn't always an argument, ya know. I've done conference papers that were basically all research presentation with a couple of conclusions/questions for more inquiry. Somewhere someone said that conference papers were really one of three basic types, but I can't remember what the types were or who said this marvelous thing.

I wish you TONS of luck -- my good writing mojo goes out to you (and Maude Lebowski).

squadratomagico said...

It can't be that bad, or you wouldn't be filled with more ideas after reading it. If it's making you think, then it's working somehow. Don't eat your arm yet!

Hilaire said...

You are both right, oh wise ones!! Those thoughts turned out to be productive, and I went with them this morning, and I finished the paper just a few minutes ago. I feel much better about it now. I'm a little nervous about the territory I've wandered into. Derrida territory: it seems that the quotation with which I headed my post about unknowable writing the other day was a kind of tasliman - because I went in *that* direction, in the end. Who knew? But anyway, now it is done. Tomorrow I will finesse it, but I am basically breathing many, many sighs of relief! Now I shall go out with the dog and get an iced capuccino from Tim Hortons! Hooray.

Oh, and Earnest, it's a conference paper. I totally know what you mean about those not needing to have cohesive arguments. BUt I think I was worried about the combination of a) the kind of (Derridean) territory I was treading, in the contexty of b), the audience at this conference. Those things, plus blather = me being hated, I worried. Thankfully, there is one less thing to worry about now.

Earnest English said...

YAY! You've finished! Brava!


dbm/gaa said...

"Derrida territory" eh? There be monsters!

squadratomagico said...

Yay for sudden insights and completion!