It is a truth universally acknowledged that somewhere around the three-week mark in any romance, I lose my ability to sustain full-time infatuation (although part-time infatuation continues to reign supreme). Luckily, I think, this seems to be the same time-frame for (crap, I need a pseudonym for him… let’s go with…) The Dude. I mean, we still like each other and everything, but now that we’ve declared ourselves and have agreed to be “boyfriend-girlfriend” and whatnot, we can focus on reality once again.
Which, frankly, is a welcome reprieve from all of the mushy stuff, because I’ve got some shit to do. (Though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I am concerned about how things work going forward, since infatuation does blind one to the other’s flaws, and since infatuation also blinds one to the irritating things about maintaining an actual “relationship,” which means that I have now entered the “picking” phase of things, which could have deleterious effects on the whole “ridiculously in love” business, though I’m hopeful that this time – ha! – will be different. I should note that The Dude remains awesome, and I have no reason to think that he will transform into somebody non-awesome anytime soon. Anyway.)
Reality for me means the article for which I’ve already gotten an extension, which MUST be done before Christmas. So I spent the day wrestling with it, and while I know what I want to say, and while I know that what I want to say is ultimately really freaking cool, translating what I want to say into what I’m actually writing is, perhaps, a bit more of a challenge than I’d like for it to be. Perhaps (though I hope not, but it feels like it right now) it is impossible.
The problem is actually with the literary text that I’m analyzing, which is unusual (although not totally unheard of) for me. Typically, I do great when I’m analyzing the literary text, and where I have trouble is with critical and theoretical context – with “showing my work” as it were. With this article, though, the crucial bit of the literary text that I need to quote and analyze is… well, it defies what I’m trying to do. And not just because I’m me: it clearly has defied every other critic, because nobody has written about this part of the novel in a sustained way with any conviction. (I’m not saying that to be douchey – it’s just everybody has talked about this part in ways that make judgements about the whole but that fail to handle the language of the section.) Probably (it now occurs to me) because it’s so seemingly impossible to break out pithy quotes for careful analysis.
The good news is that I’ve run into this particular problem before in my scholarly work, and I do actually know how to resolve it. The bad news is that resolving this sort of a problem is hard freaking work and it takes all of my concentration and sustained periods of time, which, of course, as I’m at the end of my semester, is not ideal. Especially because I am like the host for a bunch of anxious parasites right now (and yes, that’s how I’m describing my students, for with all of their insecurities and anxieties that I have to assuage, I do feel like they are eating up all of my reserves of strength).
I got some good work done today, though, and I anticipate having 2 full days this weekend to commit myself to writing. This means that I’ll need to bail on CF’s cocktail party. It also means that I’ll need to resist the temptation to boy-craziness, though this task is made easier since the novel that I’m writing about is decidedly cynical about the probability of ever finding fulfillment in a love relationship.
(Note: it might be possible that the reason I’ve been single for, lo, these many years is that I have until very, very recently chosen to focus on literary texts that are very cynical about romantic love. It also might be possible that the reason I have fallen in love right now is because of the grant proposal that I wrote in which I proposed a course that is all about romantic love, and in the course of putting that proposal together and designing a syllabus for that course, which I will try out for the first time in the Spring, that I’ve been forced to take romantic love seriously instead of cynically. And it might be possible that I give books way too much credit for my state of mind and heart.)
So. Love vs. Work. Love and work. Love is work. Whatever. I need to write a fucking article.