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Sunday, 24 April 2011

...and it get mugged by a gang of sloths.....

......When the police get there they ask the snail to describe the incident, and it says "I'm sorry, I really cant help you, it all happened so quickly"...

I am the snail. Actually, I think we all are, not the World, but the snail. But perhaps thats for another time.

This snail's tale picks up where I had just decided it was a brilliant idea to try to pretend my essay was nearly finished. I have suffered, and recovered from, as you may recall, a number of essay threatening ailments. I considered myself in the clear, the only question remaining whether I had the self-discipline to diligently complete the formalities required for completion.

I have a curious relationship with self-discipline. On the one hand, I can (and have) worked myself into practical and operational insanity (or at least instability) by completely over-riding any natural inclinations, or clinical indications that I should stop, or at least reduce, working. I accept that this might not be self-discipline, but stupidity, but nonetheless, I have the capacity to will my body to extremes. On the other hand, I am a complete jelly. On a warm summer's night when a nice, cold beer is indicated, I will jaunt to the local Fireworks/liquor store, buy a few tins of amberish nectar and plonk them in the fridge. The whole point of this exercise is in contrast - warm summer's night/cold beer. Yet I do not think I have ever waited until the beer has actually gotten cold before consuming it. Once it's bought, it has to be consumed, and I do not have the self-discipline to wait, even an hour until its actually of consumable temperature. Its beer, its there, I drink.

So there are questions on which side of self-discipline my ability to go through all the niceties of formatting and editing sit. I get no pleasure or comfort from the process unlike a lot of people I know, who like seeing everything neat and tidy. But on the other hand, I have uppermost in my mind that this academic thing is a competitive sport (Ref; Grasshopper 2001 onwards), and although I hate the indignity of conforming my genius to the artificially imposed constructs of a degree, if it means I win, then I'll do it. Usually, its not such a bad process anyway because I edit as I go along, so have minimal changes to make.

There are hitches though, mostly as a consequence of catching on of the writing diseases, a couple of which I've already illustrated in previous posts. Now, when I press save, and open the document in Word to give me a two-page view, I realise that I've contracted, somehow, further writing diseases. The first, and most obvious is that I've got Irregular Paragraph Syndrome. This is potentially the most serious condition yet. Instead of having a visually beautiful essay comprising a number of paragraphs of approximately equal length - with an allowable addition of two extra long paragraphs per two thousand words towards the end for Very Important Points - I have an essay whose paragraph length is totally random. There are really long paragraphs at the start, tiny ones in the middle, a mixture of long, medium and short towards the end and a couple of bits that look like Ogden Nash poetry in conclusion. It looks horrible.

The second disease I have is; Colonic and Semi-Colonic Uncertainty: a sub-condition or Punctuational Uncertainty, - where I have completely = lost the ability to punctuate. Properly. This,,, at least, is repairable - I think: at least if I can decipher what I (originally)meant to say ?! But like all Colon related issues, it is irritating.

So what's it to be, iron self-discipline or "that'll do" ? I look longingly at the fridge. I wonder if you can have both??


Sue said...

Try drinking the beer and then editing. It may, possibly...! Loosen. the colonic "uptightness";
(oh Christ?: NOW i've got it-)

MJN said...

See//? It's cAtching#. I think *its the :most serious|} outbreak yet\,,,: possibly &mutating^ into "Whole >keyboard Dysfunction" syndrome=+. Its ALL > ~downHill frm ear`, + usually the 6 final stAGES are "Sudden ONset Textspeak" ... LOL. IMHO. L8r.