Keyboards click, are you listening,
In the Diag, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re studying tonight,
Avoiding the winter wonderland.
It is that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. Everyone at the University, professors, and students alike, have only one thing on their mind. Its finals season and suddenly, many things have decreased in importance. Food is eaten at faster rates and lesser frequencies. If we could change human anatomy to accommodate even fewer hours of sleep, we would. If we could stop the Earth’s rotation, so that the next day of tests and deadlines would never come, we would. Even the strongest force in the universe could not tear us away from our laptops, our math notes, our unfinished papers. We are racing toward the finish line of another year and more crucially, another semester. New classes loom ominously on the horizon, but the only future that matters now is the next due date. We finish one assignment only to start the next. And there are so many assignments.
Perhaps that is what makes it both the best and worst time to be a writer. Everyone has some paper that needs to be written, meaning at least, there is a great quantity of writing is being done. The quality, however, can be questionable, when one is frantically typing to meet a word or page-count. There is simply no time to carefully consider structure or tone when one has another test at the end of the week. Although I finally get to write at this time of year, I also find myself without words. I realize that I have spewed them all out over the course of endless reflections and short essays for classes over the year. My brain only returns old ideas gone sour and dusty math equations. Writing out of desperation instead of inspiration turns the experience into some new and strange torture. The process of writing, already frustrating at times, now transforms into a slow march toward an unseen destination. I type out words only to be disgusted at their inanity, their pompousness. I usually delete everything. That is why I always dally over every paper, shelve my English assignments. I want to enjoy this process, no matter how tedious it may seem. Every forward step through that flood of reluctance and impatience is a triumph. Writing during finals seems like cheating instead. I am not doing the necessary work. Instead, I rush my thoughts onto paper without reflection. Turning in a rushed paper is cutting the conversation midway before anything of importance has even been said. Perhaps it is not the appropriate time to be reflecting on the writing process. Sometimes, things just must be accomplished. It is better to have something written then nothing at all. Yet, I worry that this is teaching us all the wrong things about writing. Writing is not quick and easy. It is not some frozen dinner, to be popped in to the microwave for five minutes, and popped out, perfectly done. Writing is agonizingly slow. And I love it.