Thursday, August 13, 2009

Working as procrastination

It just hit me today that working on this essay about MPF is unfortunately a really stellar means of procrastination.

While I keep reading and looking things up, trying to find out obscure details of an obscure person's life, I keep catching sight of Major Project sitting in the corner.

I'm obsessing about whether MPF ate corn flakes or Cheerios, and in the meantime Major Project is waving at me.

"Helloooo--you there! Look over here! Remember me?"

I catch that set of books out of the corner of my eye, the way a dog looks sideways when it knows it's done something wrong. I can't answer back, because what could I say? "Sorry, but I'm trying to find out whether MPF would have met another equally obscure figure at a party on November 30 of that important year."

I guess there's only one way out of this dilemma: dialing the level of detail back a notch and going not around but through the essay on MPF. In the meantime, Major Project is going to have to wait, but she's looking kind of impatient to me.


CarlD said...

Wow, I really like this strategy. Turning work into transgression is brilliant!

Sisyphus said...

Dammit! Why do I think that I may be doing exactly the same thing?

Is Major Project a book? Sigh, now I'm thinking I need to somehow wrap up or put aside this article and turn my dissertation into a book before the job market. Grr.

Could you maybe map out a month or so of what you want/need to work on, and make some deadlines for starting and stopping things?

I had to do that for my stuff this summer, or else I waste so much time _worrying_ about what I should and shouldn't be working on that it fills up my day. This means I have to go back to writing things and can't look at any more archival stuff on Aug 22.

undine said...

Carl--or transgression into work? I think your "interaction density" idea is just right, btw.

Sisyphus--yes, a book project. I like the deadlines idea but somehow keep thinking "just one more piece of this puzzle, and then I'll quit."

CarlD said...

Took me a sec to get past a wicked nuh-uh response to the idea of turning transgression into work, but yeah, that'll do too.

You were on my mind for part of the baking of that interaction density post. Glad you like it.