Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh Why Must I Be Such a Blasted Perfectionist?!

Yesterday evening, I finally finished that miserable final paper. I wasn't terribly pleased with the result, but at least it was done. I was done -- with everything! First semester, completely wrapped up! I could actually go to bed and sleep. Or so I thought . . .

As I lay in bed last night, my mind kept returning to a few unique paragraphs in the paper, which were far different in both tone and quality from the rest of the paper. Suddenly, a great idea occurred to me. And now, because I'm a bloody perfectionist (at least when it comes to history classes), I'm going to be up all night long rewriting this blasted twelve-page epistle.

Originally, I had written my paper with passive-aggressive revenge in mind. Because my professor hates military history, I used military history as my theme. However, the paper lacked spirit, interest, energy . . . in short, it was acceptable, but flat. Reading it, I felt sort of like a cannibal who has just been handed a baked potato.

My new idea, however, positively scintillates with creativity and originality. Not to brag, but I am a little proud of where this is going. I am now writing a paper that applies K├╝bler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief to European daily life and society after the First World War. It's ambitious, but it's working. And, I think I can pretty safely say that it will be dynamically different from anything that my professor is expecting. Plus, it's still got military history in it, so I still get my passive-aggressive revenge. :0)

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"