Sixteen days and it will all be over. I'll have done all I can to get the degree I've been working for, part-time (?!!!), since October 2007. My final portfolio will be out of my hands. It should have been submitted last September, but stuff got in the way and I couldn't work on it over the summer as planned. I got a new submission date for the end of December, and more stuff got in the way! But now the summer stuff has been brought into relative, if uneasy, harmony with the rest of life and the winter stuff has been dealt with, so I have no excuse but to get on and meet my latest date. I could have taken this semester off but I want to graduate this summer, so I decided to just do it. Deciding to just do it and actually doing it, though, are two quite different things, and it's only in the last few weeks that I've managed to spring into action. I've spent quite a lot of time since Christmas feeling guilty and angry with myself for doing bugger all. Then, a few days ago, Elizabeth wrote a post about procrastination in which she included a quotation about how we tend to ignore the voice that impels us to create. In the comments section I asked why we do that. She responded with this:
" She remembered from what now seemed the astonishing free and spacious days of her education the phenomenon of the first day's work on a task. One had to peel one's mind from its run of preoccupations: coffee to buy, am I in love, the yellow dress needs mending, Tim is unhappy, what is wrong with Marcus, how shall I live my life? It took time before the task in hand seemed possible, and more before it came to life, and more still before it became imperative and obsessive.
There had to be a time before thought, a wool-gathering time when nothing happened, a time of yawning, of wandering eyes and feet, of reluctance to do what would finally become delightful and energetic. Threads of thought had to rise and be gathered and catch on other threads of old thought, from some unused memory store."
A.S. Byatt Still Life.
I felt so much better after reading that, it feels so right and true: 'wool-gathering' is what I've been doing. And yesterday it finally became 'delightful and energetic.'
First, I awoke to an email from my supervisor saying: 'I think this is it!' about the latest incarnation of my essay.
Second, I decided to act on a growing notion to substitute an old radio drama for a short story that wasn't responding to redrafting. I was a bit nervous about opening the drama document: I hadn't looked at it for a year, it could have been terrible and needed much work, but it was fine and perfect for my theme. All I really needed for it was a different opening song. This could have been difficult but I'd heard what I thought could be the perfect one on Sunday on my iPod Shuffle, the only thing is I didn't know what it was called. A brief trawl through the contents of the Shuffle was all I needed to find it, and I got to listen to some Radiohead into the bargain. Good stuff.
Third, I began the great disentangling of the wool:
I need to be able to see, at every turn, where I'm at.
I cleared my table so I can lay out each piece as it is done in the hope that they will fall into perfect order.
New folder into which I'll put each piece once I've got it as good as I can, to keep them all in one place, and also so I feel I'm achieving something. Once the last piece is in I will dance!