It’s gotten that bad around here.  I’m comparing blogging to laun-dry. 
If only…Unfortunate

I’m sweating out end-o-semester projects all weekend.  Due dates:
Wednesday, Friday and next Monday.  And that’s mostly all there is to
say.  I can’t believe how the writing demands have made me over,
reconstituted a once energetic, vroom-ish rhythm into flub-dub-flub-dub. 
I’m fairly stoic about it all (shrug-eh-dee-do-dah), but I *feel* distinctly
different about writing.  Period.  I don’t know whether it’s the
exhaustion of X-treme reading for four months. Who knows.  I’m ready to try
to crawl these creatures onto the monitor.  My latest ploy is munching on
leftover fortune cookies when I get stuck.  I’ve posted the unfortunate
read-outs here, but they’re not quite the boost I need. "Good
journey"? "Showered with good luck"? C’mon! More than luck, I
need a sentence on Barthes and Lakoff and myth on the right. 

BTW, anybody know how to cite a fortune cookie?


  1. I so feel your pain right now. Still got a Law paper and an Ethics paper to go. I need a sentence on Ong and the “containment of knowledge.” So I’m surfing blogs. Because that’s where those sorts of sentences live, you know.

  2. It’s definitely due to lack of sunshine. Some would call it SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or something like that.

    Go for a walk in a deep dark woods in the depth of night and you will be hammered by a bazillion ideas. Look up at the stars and let their light penetrate your soul. Walk alone, although one is never alone.

    If I remember correctly, Thoreau wrote about memorizing the loction a trail through the woods to his Walden cabin. He would feel his way through the dark night by touching trees.

    The feeling touch of each living tree is like another guiding star.

    Here’s something I put together within the first year after your mom past away:


    The magic moonbeams rained down on the snow,
    turning my wooded sanctuary,
    place of worship,
    into a wonderland.

    Journey had led me to this beautiful place,
    a place at the window of the moment,
    and I continued on with the cold snow crunching under my feet.

    At a turn in the path,
    you were there.

    We briefly paused,
    stood, looking and wondering.

    Our vague forms in the moonlight
    reflecting every tiny particle
    of the raining magic.

    The smiles we gave to one another were as if to say,
    “greetings and farewell.”

    As you disappeared,
    going in the direction from which I came,
    I stopped, briefly,
    turned around in hope of absorbing one last particle of you.

    And wondered
    …..where was Journey leading you?

  3. Thanks, Krista. I’m empathizing in kind. If I run across anything on Ong, I’ll definitely share. Haven’t found much on Barthes and Lakoff so I went back to making stuff up, one word after another.

    And Dad, well, what to say? It’s raining outside, so I’m going to pass on the walk. It’s freezing rain (wanting badly to be snow), so in my eye it might look like those stars you mentioned. And I’m not sure it’s SAD working on me yet. I’m thinking it’s more like WAD (When-will-the-freakin-semester-end Affective Disorder). From my windowless basement office how would I know if the sun wasn’t out? And tks for the poem; always well timed.

  4. First Cookie out of the bag, Jing Jing, Home Delivery Order, 12-10-2004.

    That’s the way I’d cite my fortune from last night, assuming I had occasion to cite it.

    Your post is reminding me that after my first year of graduate school, I applied for a summer job writing for the Salt Lake Tribune. I failed the newswriting test (produce a weather story in 20 minutes) because I’d been writing seminar prose all year and couldn’t write a lede to save my soul. So, yeah, all that kind of writing weighs heavy on both style and soul.

  5. Here’s a fortune cookie message for you. I’ve been carrying it (and a few others) around in my wallet since the last millenium: “You have a potential urge and the ability for accomplishment.”

    If that doesn’t encourage you, consider this one: “Alas! The onion you are eating is someone else’s water lily.”

  6. I have some actual serious advice. (Quite) a few years ago, when I was an assistant prof and went through my third-year review, I had to read all of my own work, so that I could talk about its “coherence.” (Right.) And it sent me into a hideous funk: I discovered that my prose style was dull, duller, dullest. Finally Sandra gave me the best writing advice I’ve ever received. First she agreed (hey, that’s what friends are for) that I have a dull prose style. But then she pointed out that my conference papers are quite another matter�lively and engaging. “Why not write all your stuff as if you were going to read it aloud?” she suggested. And it has worked miracles. True, I may still have a dull prose style, but brother, it’s a whole lot less so than it was fifteen years ago.

  7. Good advice all around. It definitely starts to weigh on my mind. When writing en mass, there comes a certain stagnation cloud where all the words turn clumsy, redundant. Those blase regulars keep sneaking in.

    Grateful for the onion/water lily bit, Jon. Still haven’t decided whether these are lilies or onions; only know that I’m 2/3 of the way through three projects.

    And imagining a spoken delivery has helped, too, especially for getting the draft down. Of course, I haven’t exactly become a regular a conferences, but what the heck as long as something’s working, right?

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