Sunday, January 14, 2007

That girl needs therapy

I am eating my words from a post last November, about how school in Saskatoon is never canceled because of snow. On Wednesday, my Saskatoon friends endured the worst blizzard in 60 years. It took my mom the same amount of time to get home from downtown as it usually takes to get to Regina – 2 hours compared to the normal 15 minutes. Some people apparently had to spend the night at Costco. I hear they pulled out all the samples to feed them :)... I’ve been telling people that I left just in time, ha ha, good thing I’m back in Vancouver. But secretly I would have liked to be there. It seems like a relatively major event to have missed out on. And I like being able to brag about surviving things like that. I found myself watching the Weather channel for updates on Saskatoon (the Weather channel!) just to feel more included in it. Anyway, I’m glad everyone made it through. Including me.

Currently in Vancouver we are experiencing what us experts in the Bible school world like to call a “chiasm”, or “inclusio”, or perhaps “envelope structure weather”. First there was the unceasing rain in early November, if you remember, when we had to boil our drinking water. Then was the incredible snowfall. Then, right before I left for Christmas, a windstorm. As soon as I got back, we had another windstorm. Then it snowed again, and the snow is still on the ground. Now I predict… torrential rainfall. (Not a bad prediction in Vancouver even when there’s no chiasm to hint at it). Like any good chiasm, the center is the most important, and the center was Christ. Well, Christmas, anyway.

Man, I keep telling myself I write too much about the weather, but it’s so hard when it keeps increasing its own interestingness. Enough. Let’s talk about what I’m listening to right now, which my new CD of a cappela choral music called “Cloudburst”. If you don’t think you’re interested in a cappela choral music, you are wrong, and you have not listened to Eric Whitacre’s music. At least listen to “Sleep” on his myspace – This guy is from Nevada, he’s 36, and his music is brilliant. It makes me feel things I rarely feel listening to music – it’s almost ecstatic at times, pure, surging …with clashes strikingly made and deliciously resolved, triads piled on top of each other into shimmering clusters, beautifully made voice-leading, the way he lands on words… ok, I admit, I copied that last part from the CD booklet… I wish I could write reviews like that! But it’s all true. Thanks to Alexa for sharing your passion for Whitacre with me.

I’ve been writing this paper… have I ever mentioned that I hate writing papers? This is one reason why I don’t think I’d make a very good pastor. They pretty much write a paper every week. It’s not that I get bad marks on them, it’s more… the process. I think I do papers sort of like I do puzzles. Normally, I like puzzles, but normally I don’t have deadlines for finishing them. Like the box cover of a puzzle, I have this picture in my head of how my paper should look in the end. All of the pieces are floating in my head, and I have to write them and figure out where they fit. First I work on one paragraph, trying to shape that piece, then I get frustrated or bored with it and start working on another one, then another one, in completely separate parts of the paper. It’s like when you start to put the sky together in a puzzle, and get tired of blue, so you work on the edge pieces for a while. I never finish one paragraph before starting another, and I often cut and paste things around, moving bits that seem to fit better elsewhere. I never start at the beginning and write until the end – how can you start at the beginning with a puzzle? There is no beginning. Thank goodness for computers. If I had to write papers 50 years ago, I would need a lot of scissors and tape.

The point is: this is frustrating. It takes way too long. Especially with this particular paper, because there are so many details that the professor wants me to cram into my own self-constructed "picture" of the paper, like extra requirements on top of making the puzzle pieces fit together, and it's hard to reconcile both my requirements and his, while remaining under the strict word limit. I get so tired from thinking about what which word out of so many words to write next that I’m forced to spend half of my energy on keeping myself from frantically finding anything else to do besides writing the paper. But here is the more crucial problem, which I usually try to avoid thinking about… I don't know if my "box cover picture" of the paper is actually right, because I don’t know where it comes from. I'm not sure if it's actually a good paper. For all I know, some evil scientist has programmed my brain with this “wonderful paper” picture that’s actually very awful, but I obediently churn it out, to his mad scientist delight. All I know is that once I reach the magic moment when the paper looks like the picture in my head, I never want to look at it again. I don't want to consider whether other people (like my prof) will like it, I don't want to edit it, and I don’t want to read it once it’s marked, because I’m afraid I will suddenly come to my senses and realize that my mind was tricking me all along.

I'm probably boring you all tremendously. I’m sorry. To sum up, I hate my method of writing papers according to my brain’s mysterious preprogrammed standards, and if anyone knows a paper-writing therapist, I’d love to set up an appointment.

I’ve probably just been a student for too long…


Anonymous said...

Purely psychosomatic!

Anonymous said...

i too felt sad that i wasn't able to make some horrendous trip home through zero visibiity in saskatoon - i felt like i was missing out on a major part of saskatoon making me less from there and more from vancouver. silly, but true. i also wanted to comment on your last post but my comp at home is SO slow and wouldn't let me, needless to say, i really enjoyed it and felt as though it echoed alot of what i feel as well. i'm glad at least one person from this city understands what it feels like to come from saskatoon. much love,