atolnon: (Default)
( Feb. 13th, 2017 10:35 am)
There's a lot of stuff that I'm still slogging through that I had kind of hoped to have wrapped up by now. Anxiety has made is difficult to focus on any one thing for months, maybe even for the past few years. I have to think back on the kind of pace I've tended to set for myself, where a professor would assign a hundred pages of reading for a week - which my brain doesn't, at this point, parse as any kind of overabundance of reading, but it adds up.

There has always been an overabundance of shit to tackle.

So, when mid-January hit (making this almost a month since I finally submitted my thesis), I figured there'd be nothing on the other side of that and I'd rapidly pick up a similar pace with personal reading and projects. The real situation's more complicated - it's been "the thing" I've been writing about here this whole time - that there's simultaneously no real pressure imposed by deadlines or institutions and a huge backlog of stuff I want to do that's been left totally untouched for two years that I want to tackle all of, right away.

The result's a mental log-jam. No pressure from the river, too many things trying to be processed at once. A game to play. A book to read. An essay to check. A game to write. If you try to do it all at once, a little gets done, day by day, but not a lot on any one given thing and it feels like I'm spinning my wheels. But I'm not entirely unproductive. All at once, a lot will get done, and then I'll be taking on each project one at a time. Already I'm better at focusing. It's honestly weird to look at grad school, where I felt very focused, and still see all the ways that I was wrenched back and forth from one project to the next. Professionally, that might still be as good as it gets, frankly. In terms of personal life, though, you know, I just try to cultivate patience from one moment to the next and do only one thing at a time.

I believe that people can multitask effectively, but studies have shown that it still results in decreased productivity. For me, it makes me a nervous wreck.

I'm coming to the end of the Kafka. I don't wonder if he didn't suffer similarly. His works have a dreamlike quality that, to the degree that I've read them, I feel like their unfinished nature results in an inherently non platonic nature that possess a kind of internal, symbolic logic that doesn't translate with much fidelity to a waking experience. In the post-script, the book mentions Camus's statement that "the whole of Kafka's art consists in compelling the reader to re-read him." Much like trying to remember a dream and interpret it on waking, the thing itself might be nonsense (or there might be a sense to it but) the compulsion is almost a kind of free-association. The lack of an ending is a boon for most of these works; you cannot conclude them effectively, because we hope that a conclusion ties things together. Even works like "The Judgement," seem to dissolve into the air or else float down the stream to a place we cannot see from where we stand on the bridge.


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