And…done! Well…9% done anyway.
Today I turned in the final paper for my first-ever grad class. While I do feel a bit proud of myself for seeing this first class through,1 I discovered last night, after I double-checked my MLA2 and printed the paper out, that my emotional investment wasn’t in the paper but in the research materials that helped me achieve it. All of the books were piled on the table3 and as I gathered them up to return them to the library, I discovered I’d miss them.
This is not surprising. Perhaps my most ingrained and longest-lasting emotional pathology is my predilection for developing attachments to things rather than people.4 But in the last two months I’ve spent many mornings with some of those books. Others helped me to understand things about my reality that I don’t think I’d have come to on my own. Others drew disdain and, in the case of one article in particular, outright wrath.5 They’d become something of a fixture at the table, just like the books on my bookshelves, something that sort-of made my home my home.
Packing them up and returning them to the library made me sad where I expected to feel relieved.
Though I am looking forward to having my weekend mornings back. And my weekday evenings. And the right to think about something other than David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, irony and humor6 first-thing when I wake up.
But still…I will miss those books, those piles on the table, in a way that the annotated bibliography just won’t make up for.
Next semester I’ll be immersed in literary theory and criticism. While at the moment I am very apprehensive about this course, I hope that I’ll have a reason to amass another pile of books.
- There were some rather this-is-way-too-much-work type moments back there, especially w/r/t to research. The worst part, though, was that everything I read gave me something else to read. Sometimes that was another article, but a lot of the time it was yet another work of fiction that I yet again didn’t have time to read.
- Modern Language Association. What L’Académie française is to the French language, the MLA is to American literature. Being so important, they devise and insidiously revise new rules for formatting and citation about every three years. Perhaps next semester I’ll offer a post-structuralist analysis of MLA formatting and citation rules.
- Said pile for some reason became a favorite resting place for at least one of the cats, while one of the others preferred my laptop…especially if I was trying to use it.
- Though Ashley is pretty awesome, and I find that if I don’t see her at all in a given day, around 7 or 8 in the evening I miss her quite a bit.
- Yes, that level of wrath.
- That’s humour for my across-the-pond readership.