Usually I don't post personal blogposts, but at least it will get me writing. . .
Why is it so hard for me to sit down and work on the dreaded thesis? Why can I not focus long enough to push out a few paragraphs, to summarize a few articles and turn them into paragraphs? Is it because I don't know what I'm saying yet? Is it because I feel totally inadequate to write on this odd topic that most likely will lead to a dead end in my research? The thesis feels like an appendix--but a burst appendix, one that now impedes my progress as a scholar and thinker. I read more and write less and feel guilty for it. I read blogs, articles, books, and yes, even FICTION. I started Banville's The Sea last night. So far its ok-- I'm kinda waiting for it to get really good. I have a desire to read another "great" --like Proust or something. I've been reading Beckett, but I feel like I can't understand any of it. I know its brilliant, its just opaque--thick with words in other languages and archaic terms that force you to go to the dictionary.
But its not that I haven't been writing. . .
Songs. Yes, songs. Songs about the past, about memory, about love lost or forgotten, about privilege, about women, about drinking. My academic side is yielding to my musical side and I love it. I search for songs and artists on Spotify and then play covers of them at 3 am.
The question is: why can I write songs but not my paper?
Because when I write songs, I know that on Thursday nights, I'll be performing them for people who care about and enjoy my songs. Until recently, since I have sent a "draft" (if you can even call it that) to friends, I haven't had an audience for my work. I haven't written a blog in awhile because I feel like all my academic thought should go into the thesis. The blog gives me a 'theoretical' audience, but there's nothing like singing in a bar, after a few hours of drinking, some good pub food, and listening to your friends play their hearts out too. When I play, I feel alive.
Literature used to make me feel like that. . .
But literature was humanist for me. It was (and still is) about the human condition. But Derrida's deconstructed our authentic being-towards-death and it seems we're done with hermeneutics and interpretation--at least in Theory. We're talking about animals, things/objects, revolutions, identity -- all fascinating, but I miss the poetry and virtuosity of Joyce, the comic attitude of Durrell, the violent philosophy in McCarthy, and the moments of being in Woolf.
So maybe this is why I turn to music and songs. Simple, melodic, and meaningful songs about living. Songs that communicate to a human audience by, to paraphrase Joyce, transubstantiating my every day life to, ideally, a quasi-universal message.