Keep Calm

I apologize, my friends, for my absence on this blog the past month.  I’ve been working on finishing up my Masters thesis, and though that’s no excuse to ignore you, it has decreased my desire to sit and write anything at all.  My head is so full of thesis that I can’t seem to find the motivation to produce anything else.  Honestly, I’m having a hard enough time producing good work on this paper.  I’m pretty close to the end, and my initiative has dropped proportionately to the amount of paper I’ve finished.  So that means that I’m not very good at focusing right now.  My roommate knows this.  She has witnessed me sit for half an hour staring at my computer screen, then typing a sentence, looking self-satisfied and rewarding myself with a cookie.  “So industrious!” I think to myself, “You’ve really accomplished something here!  Now it’s time to watch a movie or take a nap.”  Needless to say, this style of work does not get me very far.  It seems unavoidable though!  At this point, every small sentence I wring out of my fatigued brain feels like a big achievement.  So…if I keep going at this rate, I should be done some time in 2016, along with President Habecker’s overhaul of Taylor University.

But seriously, I know I will finish this.  And I will finish this soon.  As my deadline draws nearer, the motivation will come.  And perhaps it will be a motivation of fear and desperation, but it will work.  Here’s my timeline, by the way:  March 30th, turn in complete rough draft to my advisor.  April 21st, turn in edited, absolutely final draft to the Bible department.  A couple of copies will be bound into books, and I will defend my thesis to the faculty sometime in May.  At the end of all this, they will hopefully give me my hood and a diploma and I will find a corner to huddle in for a while.

Thanks for being patient with me, readers.  As the Ministry of Information liked to say to the British public during WWII, “Keep calm and carry on.”*

*This has been my recent mantra.  Feel free to repeat it to yourself in a British accent whenever you are overwhelmed.  Perhaps pretend that you are the Queen Mum.  Trust me…you will feel better.

"Oh my, I daresay!"

**Update**  Oh no!  Now that I have written this blog post, I feel 0.00% motivation to work on my thesis!  The feeling of writing something has dulled whatever small inducement I had to work on the paper!  Curses!  Well…I’m gonna go have a cookie or something.

A Word-Worker

“Literature is nothing but carpentry … Both are very hard work.  With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood … I never have done any carpentry, but it’s the job I admire most.”  -Gabriel Garcia Márquez (Colombian Novelist)

Auschwitz

Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland

I walk beneath the black iron gateway

Arbeit Macht Frei

Work Makes Us Free

And cold anger settles like mercury in my gut

Horror perches on my shoulder

whispers in my ear

as I walk the death-paths of millions

And I peep into the long low houses

that absolutely no one called home

Finally, I immerse myself into the hell of the gas chamber

I stand near the wall while the guides drone on

in casual tones about what happened here

I can’t blame them

How could they let themselves feel the grief

on every tour, quarter past the hour

But to my left, I hear a low mutter

“Mein Gott…”

I want to see the man beside me

to know that he suffers as I do

but I can’t take my eyes off the scratches in the wall

Nails dragging down the unyielding metal

No one heeding the cry, “Mein Gott!”

When I step out of that room

[They didn’t step out]

The sun is shining

Breaking through the clouds with perseverance

Was this the freedom they earned?

Clawing, screaming, gasping

into the sunny sky

Carried along as black smoke on the wind