Sunday, January 13, 2008

Troubling Tedium

It's been one of those days. More accurately, it's been a few of those days.

Despite all the deadlines writhing around me, I have been completely unable to concentrate. If I've been at the computer for six hours during each of the past two days, at least four-and-three-quarter of those have been spent browsing pages that have nothing to do with notions of sociability and what they mean in a technologised world. Nothing whatsoever, I assure you. And yes, I should have been done with this essay at least four days ago.

I suspect I'm just dragging my feet because I haven't written something remotely academic in nearly five years. To make me an even greater (procrastinating) wreck, in response to a draft, the ex-professor said, and I quote: "Good work on the outline. I look forward to the essay." This in itself is not a big deal, you see. But in all the years he's known and taught me, it's most complimentary thing he's ever said to me — I'm officially ready to weep in terror now.

And that non-existent God knows, I've tried hard to concentrate. Yesterday I even clanged around the house, attempting to drum up some enthusiasm or even interest for the writing and research. Not a good idea because predictably, the clatter engendered no great spurt of intellectual brilliance. Instead, I got comfortable in bed and finished The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles and The Firework-Maker's Daughter AND I got started on The Book of Imaginary Beings. Groan...

What's that? Yes, of course I know a day spent in such absorbing company is never a waste. But I've got to get that essay done. It is essential, don't you know, to the health of one of those academic begging bowl packages. And still, I'm just being aimless, pointedly ignoring the bloody thing! These are times when I wonder if I should actually get back to academia. No matter that the course is mostly professional in nature, it will still involve paper-writing, research, and all the things that are currently wrapping me in endless ennui...

Today, I've come back to my computer and stared at blankly it for what seemed like an age and hence proceeded to get thoroughly depressed. To cheer myself up a little, I went trawling through my daily reads. In more than one place I found some incredible poetry or stories about poetry. And so, with sickening alacrity, I abandoned the one paper I'd managed to open and went about some poem sampling. I just know it — this essay is never going to get done!!

You must check out this wonderful Philip Larkin poem — which cut too close to home right now. One day, you should also remind me to tell you about the time I bought the hardcover edition of the Collected Philip Larkin from the British Library in Hyderabad for a paltry 200 rupees. It was whacked from me by another beloved ex-professor who has appropriated it so completely that she even claims to have inscribed it, to herself from me!

In those guilt-ridden hours, I also found this lovely one by Robert Frost — and being so completely taken by the brilliance of it, I spent another hour looking for his company. I'll leave you though with this one by Mary Kinzie — it's something that loosened the guilt with a wintery, imperceptible "aaah".

The Close Path

What have I trained for what
have the years of
whatever I did
during them
made me
ready to take on
if the tears are to
stream coldly
like long streaks
of rain down the light
brick of the storehouse
and I become
afraid to look
lest the pain
with my breathing
its path
near enough
to disappear


Anonymous said...

Bless you for digging out and presenting some wonderful poems, this one, and over the last few of your posts. I read them not so much as with a sense discovery, but that of rediscovery, as if encountering an old self in some backalley of beyond.

Plain Jane said...

I have to thank thee for sending me poem hunting.I am not even half the poem-reader as you, but if prodded, do read and eventually appreciate poetry! Your post did that exactly...much the thank yous my dear :-)

PS Something tells me that all the struggle is worth it...good things do lie ahead dearest, even if not just around the corner! Amen!

Extempore said...

@Nocturne: I quite understand... I found myself in the A quarters, walking past the RP-speaking professor's! :-)

@Plain Jane: Muchly you are welcome only! One can only continue to pray for the best, no? :-)