Thursday, 5 May 2011

Land Ahoy!

When I start to write my paper for class, I am always impressed by my own abilities, with the considerable strength of my rhetoric; I feel comparable to a king's sea galleon, decked in flags, scrubbed clean, painted anew. The bowsprit points toward victory. Is there no one to stop this literary juggernaut? 

I begin to edit; unflagging hopes wilt like a sail without wind. I fix a dangling modifier here, a word choice there--done. I step back only to see the imagined holes in my theory; I've been trying to plug a hole in a sinking ship. No land in sight!

Paper in hand, I go to hand it in, by now wallowing in the Slough of Despond. Why would anyone on earth read this? Vanity, vanity! Complete and utter drivel! Give me another day to make it better--I'll make it tighter, more fitting to its purpose. An hour! I plead. It will be perfect, ship shape, free sails pulled taut. I beg you, a minute! No, must resist the urge to edit, to bury my work deep in a salt mine somewhere.

Must lay it on the altar, offering up the first fruits of my labor to the gods of Academia, a final burnt offering. No repeats, no second tries.

It is finished.

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