Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gathering Flowers

You know, I always say the reason I'm a journalist (and now an academic) is I don't have the stamina (or the attention span) for long, sustained writing.

I like small things-- news articles, press releases, 5-page literary analyses, etc. -- things you can finish in short order. I work very intensely for awhile, then move on and forget about it.

I am struggling to manage my thesis, which in the grand scheme of things isn't even that long, really: approximately 50 pages when it's done. But I am lost in it and overwhelmed by it.

I have these novelist friends, who think nothing of 40,000 words, who have to limit themselves to a single volume. I look at them in wonder; they're sort of alien beings to me, creatures who have been blessed by both inspiration and tenacity.

I could never do that.

And then I think of the Bitten Apple. OK, so it's an anthology, which by the way comes from the Greek anthologia "flower-gathering-- a collection of smaller works. But there are 217 of them, counting this one.

I am encouraged. Apparently I can do this if I break it into mini-tasks, each section of my thesis like a mini-paper all in itself. Intro, Lit Review, Definitions, Apprenticeship, Transparency, ESL Research, Textbooks, and Conclusion.

I just have to write each one like a small paper, then gather them like flowers, and arrange them elegantly into a thing called a Master's Thesis.

I like this analogy better than Frank.


Diana Hahn said...

Yes that is the way!

Anonymous said...

I'm like that. When my best friend told me he had seen a program on TV's 20/20 show, and said he thought I had Attention Deficit Disorder, I got so angry, I stormed out of the room.

A year later, ABC showed that program again. I saw it. I realized suddenly that I did have it.

What a relief it was to me! To find out that this complicated condition that had caused me so much trouble had a name. A diagnosis was possible. Maybe I could find some effective treatment to give me at least a little relief.

I'm not so bold or foolish as to tell you that my experience is just like yours would be if you do what I did. But I will say I got the name of a good psychiatrist from my family doctor, met with him, found that I did indeed have "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in an Adult" and got a prescription for a remarkably effective medication that costs very little, has no side effects, and that is not a stimulant.

Now I can do things like watch a movie from beginning to end and still remember the beginning of the movie by the time the movie ends!

But I'm like you when it comes to novels and other long works of art. Can't do it, even now.

But all the things I can do now that I couldn't do before would fill a book. Two books, actually.

Hang in there, Indie. The world still has many wonderful surprises to reveal.

Indie said...

What a sweet, sweet post, Anonymous. I appreciate everything you said.

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