Friday, October 28, 2005

The rewards and the exhaustion

Talk about cutting it close. My first all-nighter in, oh, about two, maybe two and a half months... I think I made it through okay. I took an hour-long nap at one point, just for kicks. Otherwise, I was either up studying or up writing my paper. Before I knew it, it was about 8:30 in the morning, and Jane was up and making coffee. I downed a cup of my morning fix, threw some clothes on, and got to class just in time. The test was handed out with two... count 'em... two blue books. It was comprised of five essay questions, and it took me the full two hours to crank it out. I can't feel too bad about it, though... only two or three people finished before me, and they looked a little better rested than I'm sure I did. Anyway, I think it went okay. I'm guessing that, worst case scenario, I get a B on this thing, which I can live with. So okay, the midterm was behind me. Of course, there was still the issue of the unfinished paper.

Since I'd made studying for the midterm my priority, I worked on the paper a little more sparingly than I might have otherwise. I had an hour and a half to finish, and it wasn't exactly looking feasible. The class began (note that this was the class for which the paper was due), and there I was, laptop open, as usual... and taking notes, honest. Among other things. Let's just say that, miraculously, the paper was done by the end of class, and I got it turned in after all. God, I love technology.

I got home, completely dazed. It was as though I'd just blinked, and it was all over. Hey, I'm not complaining. It was weird, though. And speaking of weird...

For out Qualitative Research class, we were asked to turn in a written protocol a couple of weeks ago; this was supposed to be a description of an unfortunate event in our lives. No big surprise what I wrote about, I'm sure. Anyway, we all read one another's stories (which were amazing, actually), but the authors were kept anonymous, so no one knew who wrote what. We were then asked, as a class, to choose one that the whole class would analyze. There was a vote, and it came down to the person who had to catch a baby from a third story window and the "throat cancer one." Two guesses which they chose. Dr. Wertz and I then decided it would be less weird for everyone if I went ahead and came out from behind the anonymity curtain. About two seconds later, an email went out from Dr. Wertz, announcing my identity to the class. For the next few hours, I kept receiving emails from people in the class expressng thanks or admiration or whatever. Um... yeah. It's so much less weird now. Now, If I could just get a few other strangers who now know intimate secrets about me sending me well-meaning yet oddly discomforting emails, that would be a lot more normal.

Speaking of emails, I just received one from the Graduate Student Association, and I've been asked to join the student activities committee, since I'm not busy. (By the way... for anyone not yet familiar with my schedule or my sense of humor... this is an example of my stupidity... watch this...) The first meeting is on a Friday, just before I have to go to Lincoln Center to teach. So I'll be there, but just for, like, twenty minutes. No, really. I'm going. Hey, look at me! I get to be on a friggin' GSA committee! How cool is that? Well, okay, maybe it's not gonna get me into any VIP lounges, but I couldn't care less... besides, that's what the cancer's for. Yeah, that's right. A cancer joke. I got a million of 'em.

I'm trying to write some songs, but I keep getting stumped. I've started four already... I'm about to burst with all of it, though, so I figure it's just a matter of time before something finally clicks. I just wish I could hurry it up, already. I've got a gig coming up, and I've only got one song nailed down for it. I feel utterly moved at almost every moment of the day, pen in hand, feeling all kinds of powerful everythings, just on the verge of winking at me and slinking their way onto a notecard... I write my songs on notecards, usually, if anyone wondered. Yeah, I'm close, though. Just on the verge, as usual. Frustrating to be here all the time, feeling like I'm always just on the edge of the top of a moment I've always been waiting for... there are times lately when I feel like, at any moment, I could just throw my head back, fling my arms out, and fly crashing through the ceiling and into the whole wide world of sky.

I'm exhausted. It's delicious, though, and I love it. It's a lot like that sumptuous breathlessness that you feel all over after some silly little sexual climax... only this is better, a lot easier to surrender yourself to. This is what the searing, groaning hunger of the soul for its art can do to you, I've learned. If you've never felt it, come to New York, and I'll show you.


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