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January 31, 2007

The Brink

I found it again, but this time much earlier than in any other semester. As a matter of fact, I should have been expecting it. Instead I assumed that because I didn't have five literature/writing classes at the same time I might subvert it.

Dr. Arnzen warned me. He said to have something non-writing, non-reading to do. I thought I'd have time to think over what I wanted that thing to be. Little did I know that The Brink was much closer than I imagined.

I know you English majors out there have found The Brink. And if you're not sure what I mean, I'll enlighten you, even though I'm certain you've felt this way... but maybe you just didn't know it was called The Brink.

How to Tell You've Hit The Brink:

10) Your writing begins to suggest that you're living vicariously through critics you're reading for the first time and, even though literary criticism is still rather new to you, it's nice to think about feeling like you might someday sound important. And that impresses you.

9) When you get contact from home, you begin seeing dialogue written in your head with the other person or you begin thinking of how you would characterize them in a story, thinking what you would say about the person in your literature classes were they in a story, or self-thesaurizing their vocabulary to reduce redundancy and repetitiveness.

8) You cannot refrain from making up words and/or using literary terms/references in everyday conversation/writing. (I.e. "Oh the irony." "How 1984 is that?!" "Excuse the metaphor." "To be or not to be." etc.)

7) Material from your courses is beginning to drift into the others subconsciously. For example, you might bring up literature in your art history class, for instance (where a ton of art majors just stare at you like "Get out of my art class, you English geek"). (Not that this has happened to me.)

6) The stack of books you brought to school that you stupidly thought you might get to pleasure-read have been packed into the bottom of your closet/under your bed/beneath a stack of style books or literary term glossaries. (I admit it--I've done this every semester... I guess I'm a literate optimist.)

5) You're so desperate to blog something non-academic that you make up a top ten list or something equally as likely to be ignored by your peers who are not interested in commenting on (or maybe even reading) anything that they don't have to.

4) The books you normally shuffle from shelf to desk and back to shelf have all taken up residence on your desk (which severely limits your typing space, by the way).

3) Your list of things to-do has taken precedence on your desk over photos of loved ones.

2) You have one song that you loop continuously while you write papers. (The theory behind this is that if the music isn't changing, you can't notice it change, thus putting you in a trance-like state for writing. My newest song, by the way, I just bought from iTunes: it's called "Writers Block" from the "Stranger than Fiction" soundtrack. I know--oh, the irony.)

1) You've come to realize that even though you're reading and writing, reflecting and analyzing more now than ever before in your life and regardless of warnings sounded by wiser, more ordained members of this insane community, you somehow find it easier (and more pleasurable) to write something (a blog entry, perhaps) about your madness rather than pop in a DVD, take a walk, or play some kind of game.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at January 31, 2007 10:19 PM


This is such a great blog Karissa, even though I have yet to hit the Brink, although I have experienced 6,5,and 4. And I think I will have to take your advice in taking something that has nothing to do with reading or writing (I think one of these days I'm going to take Acting 1 just for the heck of it).

Posted by: Sue at February 1, 2007 1:27 AM

Thanks, Sue. Haha, yeah, I'm taking Drawing II right now and I like it a lot... it just doesn't help me with the idea that I'm still stuck with all of my work-wotk focused on reading and writing.

Posted by: Karissa at February 1, 2007 7:31 AM

Oh how I have also hit that brink. It's bad when you are doing hw at work just so that you don't have has much reading to do at night before you head to bed...

Posted by: Tiffany at February 1, 2007 8:23 AM

Although I empathize with the pain that gave birth to this entry, its creativity and optimism is simply wonderful. I like how you're using writing to write about writing (metawriting!) -- a sure sign of either a) neurotic obsession, b) educational thriving, or c) coming of age as an academic. Once you fall over the brink, you'll never see the world the same way again: EVERYTHING IS A TEXT. Enjoy literary criticism!

-- Dr. A.

Posted by: Mike Arnzen at February 1, 2007 1:46 PM

Haha :) Thanks, Dr. A. So maybe this is a positive thing? I'm a creative optimist? Nice... Who knew.

Posted by: Karissa at February 1, 2007 4:38 PM

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