It's been about a week since I left New Orleans--long enough for the dark days of finals to turn into a sort of hazy bad dream. My blood pressure has stabilized, my emotional mind set has returned to normal--or at least relatively normal, considering what I was working with before. The problem, I've found, with finals is that it is a time in which imagination dies. Dead dead dead for a solid week. Well now, you might think, that's a little dramatic. To you I say--you don't know me, you don't own me, and yes it's dramatic, but please refer back to where I mention I may not ever be one hundred percent emotionally stable. No, in all honesty, I do think that's one of the most distressing parts of being suddenly asked to produce volumes of high quality work in a short amount of time. I can only speak as a student who generally writes papers instead of takes tests--this semester I had four due four days after classes ended. Riddle me that. I mean really, talk about a time management nightmare. I had a professor ask how we managed to keep our creativity up in one of our last classes, and she was met with eight, glassy-eyed English major stares. I actually laughed a little bit in a stellar display of social ineptness, but hey, I was under a lot of stress. Really though, it is a problem--the creativity thing, I mean. I feel bad because I know that what I could write if I had two weeks would be far better than what I handed in. I shouldn't complain too much because I did Ralphie grade my way through this semester, but I find it distressing that I couldn't more fully explore American political identity through the lens of modern literature. I mean who wouldn't? Really just heartbreaking that I had to cut short my arguments on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's failure to appropriately manage the pain of South African women. A fascinating subject to most, I'm sure.
Instead I sat up late in the library forcing sentence after sentence out of my puny little brain until I was reduced to a sort of half-coherent state where my only productive thoughts were "more" and "words". I walked around for days with a horribly knotted tangle of thoughts occupying the forefront of my mind--french short stories and political theories and books on apartheid all swirled together until nothing was understandable and all I could think about then was where I was going to get more coffee. Sometimes I would be left with a wonderfully blank feeling in my head, like when I left the library or when I was standing in line, where I would be thinking nothing, probably due to a lack of sleep. And then I would think, well, these are the glory days, better enjoy them while they last. Cue shudder and a return to the tangle.
There is a funny sort of camaraderie on campus though that I enjoy--you walk around and see hundreds of wan faces much like your own because everyone is tired and cranky and sick of studying and the inside of the library. Actually things can get a little bit cutthroat--don't think about leaving your cubicle on the third floor and expect to get it back. Because it will come to blows. Quickly and without warning.
Anyway, now I'm in a better place. I have learned, over the course of my years at Tulane, that it will all eventually get done. It just becomes a question of how easily it will get done. And then, when it is done and turned it, you have to leave that stress and worry behind. Out of my hands and into God's! It's one of my favorite sayings. Just go on ahead and leave that behind, because guaranteed there is more worry and stress ahead. For example, you might have a terrible tooth that has to be violently removed. But more on that later.