Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fun fact: This is my 100th blog post.

Okay, y'all, here it comes. I'm starting to remember what school was like. Is like. And I'm beginning to react to it the same way I did last time I tried it, and the time before — that is, with an intense desire to give up and go to sleep. It's not the workload, which is incredibly heavy at the moment, but manageable. It's not the work itself, which is very, very dull, but minimally difficult. To be honest, I can't really pin down the problem. I suspect it has a lot to do with fear of failure, and possibly even more to do with being overwhelmed and confounded by the prospect of dealing with a lot of other people in an unprogrammed setting. Which are not really separate issues, I suppose.

My one on-campus class is 7 1/2 hours a week of pleading with whatever higher power is out there not to make me do group work, and avoiding eye contact with the instructor because I dread being called on — which has actually never happened; I seem to be invisible to him, possibly because I'm really good at making myself invisible. But, here's the thing: I have things to say in this class. The discussion is never particularly engaging, but I'd happily be talking if I weren't mortally terrified. It's not fear of what the other students will think of me that keeps me from speaking up; I'm confident I wouldn't say anything they'd find stupid, and if I did, well, I'm pretty sure the only other people in the class who are even 20 years old yet are the crazy woman who goes off on tangents several times a day about surfing or her trip to to Sutter's Mill, and the balding guy with appalling back-of-the-neck hair. (Who actually seems like a smart guy. But you can't possibly overestimate the horror of this stuff. Hush, you already knew I was going to hell.) So I really have nothing to lose that I'm afraid of losing. I just can't make myself begin.

And, well, there is the work, too. I was just plain lying earlier when I said it wasn't the work. By writing this right now, I'm avoiding writing my first paper for Freshman Composition, which is due on Monday. It's supposed to be a "pop culture confession." It doesn't matter what that means, because I can't write it. I have an idea, I have a thesis more or less, but I keep questioning my thesis and thinking maybe I should write about something different, and then questioning that, and then doing a little more waffling, and of course not actually writing a damned thing. It's just a three page paper for Freshman Composition, so if I can string 750 words together in a somewhat coherent manner, I will do perfectly fine. But that's just it — I'm not afraid of not writing it well enough, I'm afraid of writing it. It's a strange way to be blocked, unless it's not.

So, I don't know if I can do this, people. It would be so easy just to quit again. Nothing but me is making me do this, and I can live a life without it that a lot of people would find enviable. I don't really want that life, but there it is, waiting. And in the other direction is something I'm not positive that I want either, and in order to find out whether I do want it or not, I'll have to put in a lot of really hard work — including work that shouldn't be hard but that I find nearly impossible for reasons I can't begin to understand. If I get through this, it will have to be through sheer force of will. And I'm a pretty goddamn stubborn person, but I don't know if I'm that stubborn.

* * *

Neko Case last night was incredible, gorgeous and powerfully moving. Her voice sounds unbelievably good live, her band was flawless, her banter was sassy and engaging, and I was completely caught up the whole time — plus she was wearing a shirt from Otsu when she came out to sing backup for her opening act, and I got to feel cool for recognizing it. But after listening to Blacklisted on the drive home last night, I had a realization: the songs actually sounded almost exactly the same in concert as they do on the albums. She has this huge, haunting, compelling voice, and she's got complete control over it — but she didn't take a single risk with it the whole night. So yes, the show was amazing, but it could have been so much more interesting, couldn't it?

I suspect I'm talking about this right now for a reason.


At 4:18 AM PDT, Blogger idler king said...

Oh, Jesus, girl, you made me cry.

At 11:28 AM PDT, Blogger piehat said...

Yeah, me too.

I'm a little better today. Boyfriend spent 2 1/2 hours helping me outline my paper last night (I don't know how to outline, because I was raised by wolves) and I even managed to start writing it. Of course, because I went to sleep without finishing it, I have to go through the process of making myself start writing again today, and even worse, making myself re-read what I've already written. So we'll see how that goes. It's nice to have my own private writing teacher, anyway.

Or were you sad because I kind of insulted Neko?

At 8:03 PM PDT, Anonymous shosh said...

I am terrified to start studying for my GRE, if it's any consolation.

Re. Neko: Bah, to you, Pie! Bah, I say!

Gimme some Sifl & Olly now.

At 11:02 PM PDT, Blogger piehat said...

It's no consolation to me that you are having a similar problem, but I obviously sympathize. Wanna have a math study group? Or are you too mad at me about the Neko thing to consort with me mathematically?

I'll totally bring you Sifl & Olly tomorrow if you want. Have I ever told you about the crazy rich guy from Lynchburg who has a thing for legless dogs and also burned down his own factory?


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