when you know you know, i guess you know

I've been struggling working on my Frankenstein paper. I know what I want to say but not how to fully explore it. And since the paper is for a professor I admire, I put extra pressure on myself to excel. So I've been sort of stuck and trying to write through it. Talking to my mother today over IM's she asks how the paper's going. So I explain what I am trying to explore and she says, "write for the moment and don't worry so much about using it later in [your] dissertation, that will come then."

And it hit me. I have trouble with being in the moment much less writing in it. It's all connected. I see the world in the big picture because I can't be in the moment. I can't be in the moment because I'm always, always thinking about the past or worrying about the future. My therapist asked me once how much time I live in the present. Very little. It's not that I absolutely can't live in the moment; it happens sometimes but when it does, it's a surprise. What hit me is how my writing process is affected, not just what I'm drawn to write about but how I approach the writing of it. How much I think about before I sit down to write; how I write in my head. I almost dread the moment my fingers hit the keyboard because I know, I know it's out of my control.

However, when I blog, I don't think in as much detail about what I will write. Usually I am struck by an idea, a phrase, a poem, a story: something I want to share and so I write it. There's little pressure for me, in this medium. I write here for pleasure, for connection. I write in the moment, or try to though I'm writing about a moment that has passed or that might happen.

I approach scholarship in a completely different way. In my Master's program, I immersed myself in my papers. (I was only taking 2 classes and teaching 1). I pounded the keyboard in my makeshift office at my Grandmother's. My fingers could never keep up with my ideas even when I got a laptop. I spent hours in the library looking for articles, reading microfiche. And when I wasn't researching, I was talking to other graduate students about my work or (probably boring) my family with my ideas. I wrote constantly, mostly poems, and stories. I drank a lot to escape my own mind. When the ideas overwhelmed me, I began to numb myself.

I've always had too much to say, thought too much, felt too deeply.

Starting my PhD program changed my approach to writing. Writing became scholarship. Something serious. Not that I wasn't interested in what I was writing, but it became about proving I belonged and not about the ideas. This semester, everything changed. I don't know if it's because of the class I took, or that I'm doing my Internship or that I'm a PA or that I am getting older and beginning to see things differently. Whatever it is, I get it now.