Wednesday, December 21, 2011

(we interrupt this Advent blogging...)

But then again, it is Advent blogging. Today, the shortest day of the year, the Solstice day, I left the twinkle lights on all day. Josh turned them on before I got out of bed, and usually I turn them off as the morning light shifts into the apartment, then turn them on again as dusk sneaks over everything, but today I let them shine. We had snow this morning, and clouds through much of the day, and twinkle lights seemed just right.

I am sitting in their glow, on the floor, surrounded by books and pens and cups and papers. I am trying to write a dissertation conclusion. I am having a very hard time.

I think it is partly because to write the conclusion is, in one way, to admit that the project that occupied me for a year and a half has come to its end. (I still have revisions, and--heaven help us--formatting, but the conclusion is like a definitive period, like a solid answer to the questions I've spent 18 months posing every day.) I think the difficulty also comes from the fact that the ideas form themselves in the writing, that I don't have a formulated final statement to make until I discover it in the labor of scrawling or typing it into existence. I wonder what I will say. I wonder how it will end.

I am learning this lesson in my solitary day of (not) writing: We struggle towards completion, stretch ourselves into the next thing, into the culmination. This is a message of Advent: we wait and we prepare. We sit, silent, and we act. We leave the lights on, to remind us of the good to come.

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