Tuesday, January 26

Desert Mirage

Posted by Shelly Holder

I've recently been thinking about academic writing, and thinking about doing a college honors thesis that I would want to develop into a book, a masters thesis that I would want to develop into a book, a Ph. D thesis that I would want to develop into a book. I've gone on a quest to buy reference books at Barnes and Nobles on academic writing (thanks again for the birthday present Paternal Voice!) and approach professors about this topic. But undergraduate publishing is one of those goals that are more hazy than say, publishing a single poem, but more concrete than say, buying a yacht and sailing around the world in 180 days. It's a desert mirage, close enough to touch but as insubstantial as the sand.

I don't know why this mentality seems to take over sometime. The kind of half-carelessness, half-lacking-in-awareness, half-un-prioritized mentality that stops you before you ever take a step. The kind that never says "You can't" because you never even reached "You can."

It's a stupid sort of mentality, and one I fell into without even really realizing it. It's not just dreaming, saying "I will" without following through, but something more sly and insidious. But I'm not going to focus on the mentality, but on how I broke it.

Last night, I submitted a term paper to a campus academic journal. It felt weird, taking something I've already written and just submitting it, without the agony and the massive bouts of indecision. I spent maybe 45 minutes tops to edit it, not because it was brilliant, but because the paper was stoutly solid. One of those papers that serve to build a reputation on, but nothing to gather any calls of genius.

But it didn't need to be. What I needed, I submitted. And I submitted an academic paper, a hurdle that I never foresaw facing in the first week of classes, much less in this semester. I was preparing for a battle that never came, and the ease of the entire process is discerning.

But I submitted an academic paper.

And even if I'm entering into a race that I didn't sign up for because I was training for the race next year, guess what? I still took that first hurdle.

I submitted an academic paper.

Right now:
What I'm listening to: "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga
What I want most: a little free time to write from a new book of exercises