Thursday, April 07, 2011

Scenes from the Writing of my Master's Thesis at The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (aka J School)...Part Deux

Just got back from my morning seminar on Copyright Law and the Google Books Settlement and am preparing to wrestle The Monster.

Engaging in an intelligent discussion on legal matters is difficult when you are extremely sleep-deprived.

Sitting in class and feigning interest in anything other than your Masters thesis is difficult when it is due in about 10 days.

Notice the use of the word "about."

I am so overwhelmed that I don't even want to think of my deadline in actual, quantifiable terms.

Yesterday I awoke at 4 am and worked, pretty much undisturbed, until 9 pm. At that time, I went to visit a friend who is recuperating from surgery. When Little Babe and HOBB came home from school, I shouted a greeting to them through the closed bedroom door. Later, feeling like a slacker mom and wife, I emerged from my lair and dispensed hugs. If either had asked me for anything, I might have screamed.

On the way back from visiting my friend, I stopped at a J-School computer lab and printed out The Monster. You can see it, resting on the table.

Earlier, for the span of 17 hours, until I showered and got dressed to go outside, I worked in a tank top and underpants, on my bed, surrounded by my dogs.

The only other things I did include eating, drinking and going to the bathroom.

Oh, yeah. And fielding calls for other, non-school projects I am involved with.

But I had to feign interest in those subjects as well.

There is a scene in the movie Amadeus where we see Mozart composing his music leaning over a billiard table. He hears the orchestrated piece in his head as he transcribes the notes.

When he is interrupted, the music stops and he looks up, distracted and disoriented. The sudden silence sounds like noise.

I am Wolfgang Amadeus Bungalow Babe, a 50 year old student at Columbia J School. The music I hear in my head is a conversation about young Americans in contemporary Berlin.

Until I finish composing my masterpiece, everything else will sound to me like so much noise, a distraction, utterly disorienting.

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