30 November 2011

9 laziness, procrastination and/or the motivational power of an artificially created sense of heightened drama for the purposes of getting things done (or not)

i used to be able to get everything done.

in fact, in college, i was that terribly annoying girl who got everything done way early. the girl who habitually wrote her 20-page essays on "women's evolving roles in [insert time period here] [insert nationality here] [insert literary genre here]" a full three weeks before the due date. so i'd have plenty of time to tinker. enough wiggle room to perfect.

i do not do that now. this is a season of imperfection. there is a decided lack of wiggle room.

all of my hopes and dreams are coming true! i'm having the time of my life! that is actually true but it's a palliative of limited worth in face of the overwhelmingness of the everyday. ie. the fact that, by next monday, there's three hours worth of interview questions to be drawn up, two 300+-page good biographies and a 120-page really bad one to be read, a 400-word review to be knock out and a mortified script to be finalized.

i am not in grad school but, suddenly, life is feeling awful maphy.

there was this moment in maph when we realized there was absolutely no way all the assigned reading could be done. this realization is the beginning of wisdom and likely a common ephiphany in humanities programs (and hopefully one never ever experienced by doctors and the people responsible for saving our lives). i could read anna karenina in three days or i could read ten pages of hegel. the russians won every time.

file this under shallow thoughts from captain obvious, but i'm starting to realize that maybe- perish the thought!- life in general is a lot like the maph required reading. a largely incomprehensible mass over which we exert a limited degree of control by identifying the things we aren't ever going to do and picking and choosing between the things we want to do, the things we need to do and the things we absolutely must do because we cannot live with ourselves if we don't.

that is why, in the midst of all of these things that have to be done by monday, there's got to be other things- the really, really important things (omg, synonym for "things" stat!)- like movie night and greasy chinese and high tea on saturday afternoon. this isn't so much a matter of balance as a matter of life.


mak said...

FACT: Despite having both a BA and MA in Russian literature, I have never finished Anna K.

Also a FACT: I am using your blog as a reason to procrastinate right now. Much thanks.

oline said...

(1) FALSE! it must be! how can you be a russianist and not have finished anna k?

(2) that is what i/my unprofessional grab-bag of random nonsensical delights blog am/are here for.

mak said...

(1) Because I find it futile to spend 800 pages getting to an ending I already know with characters I'm not particularly fond of. Also, every lit major must have that one canonical book they've never read. This is mine.

(2) Keep up the good work.

oline said...

(1) fair enough
(2) catcher in the rye

mak said...

(1) I have nothing more to add to this one.

(2) Haven't read that one either, but it's on the list.

oline said...

the problem with the things on that list is that whenever you do read them, they very seldom live up to the hype. or their appeal is very much couched within a certain age range and you've aged out of it. which is just depressing. i don't think that argument holds true with AK (which is TIMELESS) but definitely for catcher and, in my experience, gatsby.

mak said...

Now you're just talking crazy, as Gatsby always holds up for me.

Osutein said...

I like "maphy." I'm going to start using that, especially in situations when a room smells of old paper, body odor, and stale beer, I can say, "smells maphy!"

oline said...

and the 1.3 people in the room who know what that means will laugh.

(because, at this point, we can assume that every room we are ever in will have at least 1 person in it who was also in maph, no?)