Thursday, March 23, 2006

Me, with nothing to say?

Gah! I just read the post over at ABD Anonymous about heading out into a wilderness of dissertatiana without a map, no street signs, and the sky is ominously overcast (okay, those are my words, not hers). And I want desperately to have something pithy, enlightening, amusing, reasonable, tolerably sensient... to say. But... duh... um... uh... I'm speechless. Go ahead, smirk, Professor Me, sometimes I am at a loss for words.

I feel the same way reading over Brightstar's posting about relationships, and Dryden's from a while back, and I feel like I ought to have something to say... I've been happily married for 8-1/2 years now. But, nope, nada, nothing. It's not that there is nothing to say. I guess ... hmmm...

You know I try not to dive into things halfway. Maybe it's simply that I believe the issues raised in these posts require more energy than I'm willing or able to muster at the moment... and so, I say nothing, rather than say something insufficient.

I fear I'm that way too often. I think I can be that way when it comes to articles and conference papers. I was that way for a long time with the dissertation. My wife kept asking me when I was going to stop reading, and just start writing. And I said I didn't know. There was always something else I had to follow up on, some other angle I had to pursue. But, then, bang, I hit the point when it was time, time to stop reading, time to cut the loose ends and let them fall. It was finally time to recognize I wasn't going to cover every possible avenue.

I guess it's like drawing a map. If you want it to be perfect, you might spend so much time on it, that everything from the beginning has already changed by the time you reach the end. That's why conventional wisdom says a finished dissertation trumps the best one any day. So too it must be with so many other things in life.

I've written recently about feeling all potential, and wanting more achievement. Getting there it would seem requires me letting go of the desire to get everything right. It's okay to make mistakes and stumble, even in public. It's from those mis-steps perhaps that we grow the most. So... here's to tripping up a bit, and enjoying it. Dryden, will you drink with me?


BrightStar said...

Hey, Articulate Dad... if you do have insights on relationships, share them at any point. Just knowing that you were interested in the post is enough, though. Thanks. I relate to some of what you wrote here because sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to ask a smart question or make a smart comment after listening to an academic talk, and my reaction, question, or comment usually doesn't come to me immediately and I wish it would.

I don't think I'm trying to create a "perfect" relationship ("I guess it's like drawing a map. If you want it to be perfect, you might spend so much time on it, that everything from the beginning has already changed by the time you reach the end."), but rather to try to have more understanding of what it takes to not let a relationship fall apart completely again.

Prof. Me said...

See, you're not truly without something to say if you can still manage six full paragraphs about how you have nothing to say!

I am often caught in the "I'll just read one more article and THEN I'll start writing..." trap, and it is a hard one to break out of sometimes. I'm always wondering if I'm missing something, if somehow I've forgotten to read the ONE article or book that will either provide all of the answers I'm looking for or that already covered the ground I'm covering in the dissertation. It's annoying. Sometimes, as you say, you just have to dive in.