December 21, 2007
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I’ve been to my university library three times today. It’s about to close for a week for the holidays, and I’m finding myself having panicky, pre-withdrawal, symptoms. I keep anxiously associating to books I’ve been meaning to read, and running down there to check them out. This impulse is generating new, flow-on anxieties. As it happens, several of the books I’ve attempted to check out, aren’t held at this campus, and so have to be recalled from other places: they won’t get here before the break. Some irrational part of myself – evidently certain that, over the next week, I’ll read through the seven books that I’m in the middle of right now, the dozens of other books I’ve had littering my office, untouched, for months, plus all the books I’ve just checked out today – is somehow finding energy for anxiety that I won’t have immediate access to these recalled materials. It’s like part of me is going, but, if you don’t have these exact books, a major breakthrough in your research will, will, er… um… be delayed a week!
The reality is, what I need most to do in the coming months isn’t really to read (although I’ll certainly be doing a fair amount of that, as well), but write – and write – and write. My theory is the absurd anxiety over lack of access to reading material, has more to do with the recognition that now, finally, is that “quiet time” I’ve been asking for – away from meetings and everyday distractions – so that I can finally revise a whole pile of material into some sort of coherent and linear shape. Wish me luck…