Saturday, October 29, 2016

Extended essay crisis

The phenomenon of the 'essay crisis' was a recurrent feature of my undergraduate days.  Set weekly assignments to write with deadlines to reach I knew exactly what the targets were.  Always there was much reading material to wade through followed by reflection and then....action, as pen was put to paper.  And that's how it used to be!  Pen to paper.... with every major mistake, paragraph out of order, just plain bad English grammar requiring fresh sheets.

Too often the sequence I followed enjoyed the first parts....absorbing the reading and even reflecting on its contents.  Often I mapped out a structure for my assignment and opened my argument with a confident first page or so.  But then I read it and realized it could do with so much more cogency and flow.  Paper was scrunched into a ball, thrown into the waste paper basket and another start made. Hour after hour, often starting very early in the morning especially on the day it was due.  It is not that I am a perfectionist.  Really. I have always practiced that 'good is good enough' but it does matter that it is at least good!

Why am I recalling those days of 50 years ago?  Because I am in the midst of the same phenomenon. No!? Of course it's not with pen and paper today though I still like to print out sheets for editing by fountain pen. But in other respects it is the same.  I have until Nov 2nd. to complete the last 30 pages of my resource book A New Kind of Preacher/Leader.  I know exactly what the target is. And I am living in the same cyclical pattern...hour after hour.  I have structure but always I want more cogency and flow and liveliness with page-turning wonder etc. etc.!

Carol has been very patient because the essay crisis has already lasted twelve days.  I try and make Sunday a day of rest so that leaves me just three days left.  Who would have thought such excruciating history would repeat itself? Maybe I will let you know what happens next!  It all depends.....

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