Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Still Smells Like Pine Needles Around Here...

So there's this scene in It's a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey walks into his future wife Mary Hatch's house, awkwardly shambles through the foyer, nervously handles his hat, and remarks "I see it still smells like pine needles around here."

And this is what I'm feeling right about now.  See, George Bailey is *supposed* to be with Mary.  We just know it.  We know he has a purpose and that something bigger than him has vision that he can't even see.  But he's fought against it and tried a dozen other things and so when he's finally where he's supposed to be...well, I guess it still smells like pine needles or whatever.

Because if I'm George Bailey, writing is my Mary Hatch and it's been a long time since I've visited her.  I've been noncommittal and crappy to her.  Her mom is very justified in wondering why she doesn't just ditch me for Sam Wainwright.

I'm not fighting against anything, but I am in a season of life where it's all so busy.  It's almost over.  I can feel my subconscious hyperventilating subsiding a little.  The great thing about grad school as a highly motivated overachiever is that I devote myself to what I'm doing and insist on exacting standards of quality from what I'm doing.  This is also the terrible, horrible thing about grad school as a highly motivated overachiever, and the reason that other areas of my life--areas that make me a happy human person--have suffered.

Like writing.  I did zipsquilch this fall.  Not entirely true--I did some, here and there, but the momentum I could establish was quickly subsumed by readings and papers and teaching.  Then the semester break happened, and despite every intention I had to work on my thesis, I worked on something else instead.

I love the smell of pine needles.

It felt right to devote a ton of time to a draft that's been sitting...waiting...every so patient, ever so Mary Hatch.  There's light at the end of the semester, and though I expect the midpoint of this semester--with thesis revisions, portfolios, and a myriad requirements--to be as bad or worse than the fall, I'm looking forward to a better balance after that.

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