"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I've been having one of those weeks when nothing in particular happens. My work on thesis has just become one long stream of writing and reading and thinking that flows through every day and (to continue this metaphor a bit further) just runs underground for a bit every night only to reappear the next morning when I wake up. All my other work has taken on secondary importance. I no longer segregate my serious thesis writing to the weekends. Even my meal times have become part of it - more often than not I find myself sitting at a table with my computer, a few heavily ear-marked books, and a cup of tea or plate of food in front of me.

This is by no means a complaint. I enjoy the work very much, especially the continuity of it. But it sometimes feels as though the days are slipping by without my really noticing them. I try to get outside, sit in the sun, acknowledge that there's a world outside of my head, but at other times I just sink into the thought world. I notice the time passing, but I don't necessarily feel it, in the way that one feels the rhythms of the day in one's body.

In my down time, too, I always tend to turn back into my mind. Exhausted from reading and writing so intensely during the day, I find I can't do much more than re-watch episodes of Game of Thrones before stumbling to bed.

However, I have kept my resolution so far of spending 10-15 minutes a day taking care of my body, and, for a college student, I sleep obscenely well and long. And then every morning I'm up again, thinking about how I'm going to finish off Chapter 6 of my thesis and how I'll fit in that homework that's due on Tuesday and how amazing I hope season 2 of Game of Thrones is going to be.

Academia a funny kind of life.

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