Monday, March 11, 2013

The jaded pen!

Getting back into the swing of academic essay writing was not quite as easy as I didn’t expect it to be!  My essays were ever hewed from the living flesh of my imagination and the final sheets were always bloody with effort.  The best essays I wrote were always those fuelled with the adrenalin that courses round the blood stream when the writer realizes that the deadline is not only looming it is pushing him out of his chair and dragging fingers from computer keys. 

Except of course when I was in University it was the keys of a typewriter keys and not a computer.  There was room (with the ever useful Tippex) to correct a mistyped letter or even a whole word but what was typed was typed and it had to stand or redo the whole damn thing.

Now the writing of academic essays is a multidimensional, phantasmagorical journey using a whole range of media.  For this essay at one point in its (still unfinished) production I was using a Kindle version of the text, together with a paperback version and a hardback version; the OU course material; a mug of tea; my own notes; a live Word document; a printer; a fountain pen; a pencil; paper; assignment instructions; iTunes; access to the terrace on the Third Floor, and the Hand of God.  And it still doesn’t read well – but there is still time to make it better.  Or at least to make the references accurate because at the moment they are merely brackets with the word “ref” inside them!   The nit picking at the end of the production of an essay is both deeply satisfying and totally frustrating at one and the same time!  Would that I was at that stage!

This morning did not start well as I decided to put my “essay” on my pen drive so that should the opportunity arise I could do some revision.  Fond hope of course, but a sound one.  In the event my pen drive didn’t work and then to compound that failure I left the bloody thing in the computer as I rushed off to work.

Luckily (and I use the term advisedly) my car keys were on that ring so as soon as I reached the garden gate I had discovered my loss.  But the door was closed behind me.  And my house keys were on the key ring in the computer.

Thumping on the front door had no effect whatsoever in eliciting a response and I was eventually driven (such irony) to phone upstairs to get the door opened.

I was therefore “late” by my standards by the time that I changed the disc in the CD player because I am fed up with the offerings from the box set that I am grinding my way thought at the moment and have now replaced the sequence with the EMI Eminence collection which I am starting to listen to backwards – not, I hasten to add in a Satanic-hear-the-hidden-messages sort of way but merely from disc 50 downwards.  As they follow a roughly chronological pattern I will be working back from the twenty-first century to Bach and the Baroque.

My car system has only picked up the imbedded disc information on very few occasions so I am guessing that what I listened to on the High Tension Highway to work was Tavenner – the living not the dead one.  And a turgid work it was too.  I hope for better on the way back!

Today was one of my “full-ish” days but at least I got out before the parental hordes began their automobilic clustering behaviour precluding any easy egress from the School on the Hill.  There is a wonderful sense of freedom as you steer the car along a deserted, but car lined street as part of your escape!

No mention was made about my absence from the meeting on Saturday morning, though many and bitter were the comments from those who actually did attend.  Those teaching both years in the equivalent of the sixth form did not manage to tear themselves away until 1.00pm!  One shudders at the mere act of typing such foul information, what it must have been like to have been part of the reality of it defies speculation!

Unsurprisingly today was an Examination Day and I now have a wodge of marking to get out of the way before tomorrow when I have my second wodge of marking.  I am machine-like in my efficiency in getting through these interminable irrelevancies and I have already set out the names on the Excel program to record and calculate the final meaningless marks.  Which will then be added to other equally meaningless marks to produce a final comprehensively meaningless mark.  And everybody will be happy.  Or not.  Who cares! The clue is in the word “meaningless”!  At least it is for me!

So, off to the marking and the hope that I will have some time left over to start the overhaul of the draft of The Final Essay.  And then it is all plain sailing until the examination.

Upwards to the Third Floor!
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