This will in theory be a quick post, as it’s already 12:30am and I really ought to be in bed snuggling with my wife.
I spent most of the day stressing over getting back into the writing swing of things. After an extended period of dwindling amounts of writing, let alone academic writing, I was feeling particularly unsure of my capability to write in even an informal yet scholarly way. I found ways to put it off (as I’ve been putting it off for the past few days, cleaning my office for instance), such as making myself a far more complicated dinner than was really necessary, and making a checklist of things I need to do daily or at least weekly, because I have a habit of being forgetful.
I finally sat down and started to write, and after getting a paragraph down, I found myself finally getting back into the routine, which felt really good (nearly as good as when I get going in a creative bent… a feeling that I still remember, though I haven’t felt it in far too long). Four pages later, I have two informal annotations done and proofread (thanks to my lovely wife, Mickey, who I am convinced is the patron angel of editors), and feeling pretty comfortable about finishing up the last of my packet tomorrow for mailing either Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. Yes, that will make it fully two weeks late. My advisor IS aware that it is late, and has been quite patient with me thus far.
The bright side of being two weeks late is that it already puts the pressure on for the next packet, which will hopefully encourage me to just keep up this head of steam and pound out the next packet for an on-time delivery (further enticement is that we are discussing visiting some friends in California for a week around New Years, which would be a very welcome change of pace).
There is something else that motivated me into writing this evening, and is in fact powering this post as well: it’s called “chocolate covered espresso beans”. Past experience leaves me unconcerned about getting to sleep tonight, while at the same time I find my fingers far more willing to type and my mind far more willing to let out its rambling. I don’t recall where I heard it, but there has been some evidence to eating and studying simultaneously being beneficial to mental clarity and data retention. I could be talking out of my ass, but I really do think I saw it somewhere. Knowing my own oral fixation habits when reading and writing, I’m inclined to believe it.
Something else that really helped put me in the right mindset was my music selection. I finally finished ripping my entire music collection to AAC the other day (it’s fairly easy to sit and read your book and switch out cds whenever you hear the “ding”), which means that I’ve had access to music that I haven’t really listened to in months, since it doesn’t often occur to me to rummage through my cd collection unless I’m in the mood to listen to something specific on the kickass stereo. Otherwise I’m just at my computer and listening to things through my computer speakers as part of my makeshift “laptop station”. (I miss having a Mac desktop… maybe after I get a job, and definitely after Macworld:SF.)
What in particular was I listening to? An album called “Purified,” which is a collection of “chill out” music (it’s a style of music… laid back with a slight techno bent) published by “Water Music” (whom I tend to like… I also have their Sub-Zero collection which is also good). It’s been literally at least 6 months since I last listened to this album, and that was far too long. It starts off strong and gets you into a really great groove, and then settles in with some beats that keep you in an open state of mind. Great to drive to, great to wander to, great to write to (hmm, corrollation between writing and wandering and music that’s good for one being good for the other? Perhaps).
Okay, I promised to keep it short, so I’ll leave it here. I’m hoping that sometime in the next day or two, my friends will all post, as it would be nice to catch up with them. (Chris is the only one of us that really seems to have acquired the knack for posting consistently, a knack that I envy and aspire to.) Are you out there? Everything alright?