The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Thesis Blues pt. 14

with one comment

It’s 2AM. My neighborhood is very quiet. I know because I just took a walk around it. The cold air felt refreshing on my bald head; it revived me.

I am 13 hours removed from the most important meeting I’ve had with Sandi. She had her usual load of comments, but it was what we resolved that was most significant. For one, I’ve been twitching about how I’m going to write the hugest transition in the story, the one that helps the story go from Jim in 2008 to Jim from 1971-1990. I’ve thought about it and dodged doing it for the past month; I even thought about it all the way through my drive downtown this morning. I realized it’s not as big as I think it is, nor will it be as difficult to write as I imagined it being. In fact, when Sandi and I talked, I realized I can rearrange a few paragraphs, load one up with a few more expository sentences, and it will work perfectly as the transition I so desperately need.

That leaves me with two significant parts still to write. One is Jim from 2001-2008. I have the interviews for that time span and listened to them tonight while I washed dishes after I worked out. I’m almost halfway through the writing of that part as I write this. I’ll probably finish the rest of the first draft of it tomorrow. I’m unsure of how many touches it’s going to need; I’m really feeling it right now and putting down some strong stuff.

The other part is the conclusion. It’s been coming together in bits and pieces as I’ve worked the past 3 months. I’m not worried about it right now.

Once I get those two parts done, I have a complete draft. I’ll send it to Sandi on the 20th of this month. It will include everything, including massive rewrites of the first and second halves of the story (we’ve been working by halves… don’t know why, but it seems to work best that way). We’ll meet two more times, at least, before I send it to my second reader for his approval. I know for fact that once it gets Sandi’s approval, I’m good to graduate.

I asked Sandi point blank this morning if she was seeing enough from me to indicate that this will be a done deal within the next five or six weeks. She said yes.

As for why I’m awake at 2AM on a school night: I’m not going to school tomorrow. Personal Day (read: Mental Health Day). I planned this, and even planned being up tonight for however long working on however much writing I can get done. I’ll wake up whenever Monday morning, and get back on it for however long I feel like it. I’m trying to go gonzo for a short period of time (if it’s any indication of Hunter S. Thompson’s style, I’m on my third Flor de Cana 7 cocktail and feeling fine). I have to do this to get out of my rut. I have to keep myself off balance right now, this weekend, today, to push through as much as I can. I can’t stay the course at this particular moment. I’ve often found that when I purposely put myself off-balance, it’s good for my writing. It puts my mind in a different place, I focus on different things, and the results are at least interesting.

When I left Sandi this afternoon, I went directly to The Men’s Wearhouse and scored two new shirts, two new ties, and a new pair of pants. I’ve been sick of my wardrobe lately, and will be excited to wear some new duds to school when I get back there. Then I sat at Panera for 3 hours and worked on rewrites. It has been liberating knowing that I don’t have to worry about time or sleep or anything for at least today and tomorrow.

I have to figure out why I feel the need to write in such a stiff, elevated style. Many of Sandi’s notes for me are about shortening sentences, using more conversational and casual syntax, and relaxing the text. She’s right. I want to sound very intelligent and insightful, and as a result I end up writing incredibly complex sentences and belaboring the point sometimes to where I might as well be hitting the reader over the head. I have to get to what is happening in my mind to make me want to do that. The best writing is as short and simple as possible. It’s easy for me to forget that when I’m wrapped up describing things, hacking out newly-discovered thoughts and ideas, and plugging in research I spent hours working on. You’d think I have brought on enough trouble given the complex structure of the story without adding ticky-tack things like the language I’m using, but it’s really not that simple. It’s happening subconsciously with me for the most part; I have to get my thumb on it.

I’m withing striking distance. It’s a great feeling. If there was but one thing I learned running Cross Country in high school, it was that you stay in the race no matter what– when you can see the finish line, you crank it up with whatever you have left; sometimes, you’re going to find gears you didn’t know you had.


Written by seeker70

March 9, 2009 at 7:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I’m sure you can see the finish line and when you get there, it will all be worthwhile. Keep writing, keep rewriting, don’t think too much about getting it perfect. Nothing ever is…Good thoughts from EGV…

    Cory Fosco

    March 10, 2009 at 2:01 am

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