I often find myself wondering if I’ve put too much on my plate. Many Luther students do. We all have different combinations of things that add up. I’ve already gone on about mine in great detail. But it’s no secret that it’s exhausting, so much so that I don’t feel like being productive when I have the time to get things done. I was doing quite well for several weeks, but now my brain feels like it’s collapsing in on itself. I had a 3-hour long orchestra rehearsal this morning (with a break) and by the end, I could barely focus, I was so tired. Hopefully that won’t be true at tomorrow’s concert (which you should come hear if you’re in Decorah!). I’m going to bed shortly to get up in time for the Lutheran pow-wow in the morning, at which I’m sure there will be coffee. You can’t have a Lutheran service, especially not one of this stature, without coffee.
My biggest mental pressure right now is my senior paper. Well, now there are two senior papers, technically. I have my Shakespeare one, which I’ve talked about, and my seminar research paper, which will be on Wuthering Heights. The latter one is shorter than the first, but they both require intense research and thought. I’m not sure where I’m going to get this brain capacity from. This is classical liberal arts, though: making you tackle big questions. That kind of education isn’t for everybody, but it is for me. We have our last Center Stage Series show of the semester on Saturday the 16th, a ukulele orchestra from the UK. Then on the 17th, Symphony is running out to Mahtomedi, MN (Twin Cities suburb) to play a concert at a church up there. I’ve never done a run-out before, as in, a day-long tour. It will be a glimpse of what we will experience on our spring break tour. Luckily I will have time on the bus to work on these papers, too.
My senior paper is going well. I wrote 8 pages within the last couple weeks – so helpful to finally get words on the page! You have no idea. Or maybe you do. I went over it with my main advisor and one of my secondary advisors yesterday, and they helped me see what direction I need to take it from here. Basically, I need more of an argument. I want to argue that Hal (King Henry V) is a better guy than a lot of critics make him out to be, and that there is an ends to his means of coming to power. The argument has taken longer to come together than I wish it would have, but this semester isn’t the end of it, fortunately. I’ll have time to go back and revise throughout the year, but I want to have a complete draft by the time I leave for Christmas break. Then over J-term, I’ll bridge between the scholarly work and the creative, aka, writing my own play. I do see that what I’m studying right now will help me with my own play. The argument I am going to make is based in the aspects of politics that Shakespeare is dramatizing and why, so I can come to my own conclusions about what I should dramatize about modern British politics. It’s all about rhetoric, really, my new favorite subject. And it’s a huge topic, certainly worth more than a 20-25 page discussion.
One of the more recent highlights of my college life was a visit from the hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who performed a concert here on Halloween. Yes – they, a couple of the most famous musicians in America, came to a small liberal arts school and performed with enthusiasm. Ahh, Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty) is such a ball of energy! It helped that I knew the words to the songs, too. I was on an adrenaline rush throughout the night and for several days afterwards. Maybe that’s what I should do from now on when I feel sad: think about that night. Mack was originally scheduled to come in April but cancelled due to illness. I would have gone then, but then again, I would not have appreciated it as much as I did now. I spent the whole summer listening to him in the car, driving to my Patch towns. Plus he’s from Seattle, too. So I developed this strong connection with him. It may sound silly, but it made a difference in my life. It reminded me how valuable my hometown is to me. I spent my second half of high school dying to move out to the Midwest, but now, I can’t wait to continue my life in Seattle. I took it for granted for eighteen years.
Well, time to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother, sleep, and process all of my thoughts. I always have too many. I don’t know where to draw the line of enough.