What I Hated the Least Today 154/365: Papers

#amwriting
#amwriting

I spent the last few days doing what existentialists who aren’t nihilists (yet) do: persisting in so-called meaningful activities which they know to be meaningless. In other words, I’ve been pursuing my academic pursuits. (Or, oops, I did it again.) In a matter of four or five days, I churned out two abstracts (as in conference presentation proposals) and two full-length papers (as in literature analyses for publication).

As a result of these pointless accomplishments I feel pointless and accomplished. I’m perversely proud of myself for having met the deadlines and completed what I set out to complete. I’m also plagued by a sense of purposelessness now that I’ve done my purposeless task, which was nevertheless successfully distracting me from getting depressed. (Oh, of course, I’m also depressed.)

Doesn’t this post read as though I’ve recently spent a prolonged period of time writing something literary and academic? It does, doesn’t it. Apart from the contractions. (Not contractions as in labour, though labouring is indeed involved, but contractions as in contracted forms—like I’m). Academics don’t contract their papers—because word count. Also, apart from the sentence fragments (← like this one).

The fragmented feel of this post is however deliberate. So is the monotonous style. And the play on words. This is to draw attention to the language. My field of research, literature, reduces to language. My work, by extension, also reduces to language. (Guess what this post reduces to.) I should probably go write something normal for a change. Like a shopping list.


Update: Today’s Daily Post prompt just popped up in my Reader, offering the keyword purposewhich is what I accidentally blogged about above. That illustrates that I’m not only mental, I’m also psychic.

19 thoughts on “What I Hated the Least Today 154/365: Papers

  1. I think I would be most disappointed if I found a post purporting to be normal in some way coming from you, it would be a real decline in the entertainment value of your posts.
    I think it is a great achievement to have produced what you have this week, it points to the internal drive you must have to accomplish such purposelessly pointless papers as you say which despite all their purposelessness does apparently have a purpose. Well done Mara I say….

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    1. Haha 😀 Thank you for your, as always, fun comment! You’re right, I don’t strive for normal; the weirder, the better. This is probably my favourite post by me. It’s so cranky, like me. Thank you for your kind words!

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      1. I think in light of your crankiness an appropriately placed expletive or two might be in keeping with the mood or is that my Australianism speaking and you are far to polite to drop one or two into your post.

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  2. Congratulations, to having accomplished all that stuff, and in time too! I’m familiar with the feeling of purposelessness, but McDuff says I have a purrpose.

    So, if I understand you rightly, you would write “I am and I do not”, instead of “I’m and I don’t”?! The direct opposite to what we do in Twitter (⇽speaking of purposelessness  🙂).

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    1. McDuff is right, you have a purrpose! Well said!

      Yes, that’s right, academia is the opposite of Twitter. It’s considered the standard in formal writing not to use contractions. I always told my academic writing students how advantageous it was for them – not using contractions would make their essay longer. Yet they often used contractions because they probably couldn’t be bothered. Or weren’t listening. Or a combination of both 😉

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      1. In my native Swedish, there are also many contradictions. I’m of the ‘old school’, so I never use them, except when writing to friends. When I use them, I always use the apostrophe [nå’t, instead of något = something], but nowadays I notice even that is gone. Nåt seems to have become a word of it’s own, which I find disgusting, but that’s progress, I guess shrug.

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        1. I see! I’m “old school” in this sense as well. When I started to blog, I had difficulties using an informal style, with contractions, but now I’ve grown used to writing differently for the blog and for work.

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          1. It was more informal?? I’m surprised! I thought blogging and one’s online presence is as informal as it could be these days. You can virtually go crazy with what you post online and no one even raises an eyebrow.

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          2. Yes, but informal on a personal level. That thing we had in Yahoo, was actually more like a “group”, than a blog.

            And yes, you can go totally crazy about what you post, but somehow, I’ve ‘adjusted’ a little here, in this one, to the current circle of readers.

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