Monday, July 21, 2014

Reassurance

"Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." (Ernest Hemingway)

"It's reassuring to know these things: right orientation, disposition, atmosphere." (Michael Andrews)

Sometimes we despair. The project does not go as well as we had hoped, or we run into a familiar sort of laziness, or both, and suddenly what needs to be done seems beyond our abilities, or not worth the trouble, or both. And when we consider, then, how it must be for everyone else, that every intellectual project depends, at some point, on overcoming this sort of difficulty, under these sorts of conditions, and is dependent for its completion on this sort of effort, made or not made by human beings as imperfect as ourselves, well, we're likely to lose all hope for the academic enterprise as such. It's at moments like these that simple activities can help. I always find it reassuring that I can do ten push-ups, for example. Or that I can run five kilometers in about half an hour. Or that I can write a 175-word paragraph of prose at will. "Do not worry," I tell myself. "One thing at a time. Easy it does it."

1 comment:

profacero said...

Mais oui, I will use this post as a mantra. So much academic advice is about turning up heat but turning down has in fact always been what worked for me.