Thursday, October 07, 2010

Possessed by the Assignment Dybbuk

Something has happened to my writing over the past month or perhaps to me.

Let me clarify: the writing for my graduate program.

The process is torturous. I have anxiety about getting started. I'm not sure what my point of view is. To delay the starting process I over-research the subject then feel buried beneath mounds of information. My fingers freeze or perhaps it is my brain. I don't hear my voice in the finished product.

I've pondered the matter and concluded that I have a condition called Assignmentitis.

In my case, it is caused by possession by an entity I think of as the Assignment Dybbuk.

The Assignment Dybbuk is like a mean girl who sits across from me as I work, cracking up at my pathetic efforts to write something that is worthy of the graduate program of an Ivy League university. Like a mean girl, the Assignment Dybbuk makes fun of my clothes, my hair, my penchant for biting my cuticles when nervous (did I mention that my fingers look like they've been attacked by zombies?) and my ideas.

Because of the presence of the Assignment Dybbuk, I don't have my typical writing mojo, that freewheeling up-yours attitude that frankly fuels my work.

I feel constrained, even constipated.

And if I reread my writing, I find it competent but like a Golem: all body and brawn but devoid of soul.

Or sounding curiously like a press release, the result of 16 years working in public relations.

So maybe it is not an Assignment Dybbuk at all but a PR Poltergeist that has inhabited me?

In any case, I am possessed. So I need to choose a method of exorcism that is tailor-made for the particular sort of spirit that feasts on graduate students.

Such an exorcism requires not holy water but steaming hot coffee.

Such an exorcism requires not prayer but innumerable source citations.

Such an exorcism requires not rage but a kindly, generous, empathetic attitude.

After all, my personal dybbuk might be the spirit of a Journalism School student applicant who was rejected from the program and is compelled to spend eternity tormenting those who got in.

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