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‘Upon Her Latest Deadline’

April 11, 2011

A love for, fascination with, a text,
Persists until you needs must something say;
And then between one moment and the next
The glamour fades inexorably away.
The afterglow will last you for a while,
And dogged diligence a little longer;
And then the sight becomes by turns more vile,
More boring, and the urge to slack off stronger.
And when the flame of passion dies indeed,
The dullest chores seem suddenly inviting:
You’d rather clean the room (again) than read,
And rather do the washing-up than writing.
At last! Privation, force, or fear prevail,
And set you once again upon the traill
________Away from the dread Fail;
The laptop wakes – the books are plucked from shelves –
Alas! that essays cannot write themselves!


Glamour is here used in both its modern sense and the historical/folkloric sense whereby it denotes the kinds of dizzying, dazzling illusion spun by fay and similarly untrustworthy otherworlders. The speed with which the appeal of a text is liable collapse to zero as soon as you commit to writing something about it frankly cannot be natural.

I realise that not everyone traces the boredom -> procrastination -> fear -> panic -> frenzy trajectory when writing essays, and I have nothing but envy for those who manage to maintain a more measured approach than I.

This one was written in twenty minutes. It shows.


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