“Tú te pones mucha presión”

Someone pointed this out to me once; I was surprised because I tend to think I do not put enough pressure. The academic advisors say we are lazy and inefficient as well; we should be jumping around. Tú te pones mucha presión. I think my mother did this as well. It may be why she was so blocked in life, stopped ultimately.

I was the same age she had been when she had found herself in a untenable situation she could not escape and obligations she could not put down, when I did the same thing. I, unlike her, was in fact in a position to leave — my obligation was a research project, not some children — but I did not drop it because … I had been trained not to allow any flexibility.

At that age I incarcerated myself in a situation I disliked, as she did, moving thus into a kind of living death. Like her I have since wanted to end it: if the only honorable path is the one we are on, and if it is this painful, then let it end soon. I like the research project I abandoned in favor of returning to the straight and narrow one, the first one. But it is that first one I am looking at now.

I have writing problems around this project, but not around the others and this is why the idea that writing advice is the answer seems an incomplete answer to me. Is an incomplete answer. We never get over our first year writing problems, we just learn how to handle them. I do have writing problems around the first project, and these problems are part of the general problem with it–but they are not the problem. The problem is splitting. Splitting while writing about writing that is splitting.

Strategies, discipline, getting things done: we were talking today about free space. Not just “free time” for healthy, approved recreation, but free space in which to let one’s mind wander without authorities. And yet, not “free writing,” which I dislike. (People always say this generates ideas but I find it locks half-baked thoughts in place or drives them in circles. These people are just trying to colonize free space with something that looks like work, which is valued, while thinking is not.)

The problem is splitting. This is where the disquiet, the restlessness, the loss of concentration come from.



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