Fifty Full Pages

Fifty full pages I can’t bear to see;
Fifty whole pages I can’t bear to read. 
Fifty dull pages of blood sweat and tears,
Angst and distraction and graduation fears. 
The words of tomorrow? The millstone, a test
Of discipline: failed, and after a rest
I see strong and clear the thing that I need – 
To write fifty pages whose words I can read.

True story – to this day I still don’t know what my undergraduate senior thesis contains, because I can’t stand to read the damn thing. I literally fall asleep over it, every single time. It’s one of those happenings which is hilarious, in someone else’s life. 

It is easy to write one unreadable page. It is actually quite hard to write fifty. I now have exactly one criteria for a piece: I must enjoy re-reading it. 

Perhaps the fifty full pages taught me something after all.

Feel free to share what you have (or haven’t) learned from your own unreadable pieces!

Published by Marushka

I dream curiosity and write words that change brains.

13 thoughts on “Fifty Full Pages

    1. I can only imagine! I think academic writing has become unnecessarily complicated – not complex, but complicated – by the “idea” of what it is: you should sound a certain way, or your ideas must not be rigorous enough. Obviously some conventions like the use of citations, the format of study methodologies, are useful towards ensuring others can reproduce and verify results. But articles are also unnecessarily padded with jargon. After reading enough of it, it becomes very difficult to escape producing it yourself. Complex ideas are best explained simply. And if you can say 12,000 words in 500 well-chosen words – you, ma’am, are a very talented writer 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Everything I say and write embarrasses me in degrees, so I totally get this. It’s healthy to regard your work with sceptism, so long as it doesn’t paralyse you. I guess you could call this thesis your “juvenilia” (what a word!), but maybe not. I’m sure it’s of an objectively high standard. Maybe your tastes have just changed? I used to love reading dense classics, but now I kind of recoil at the thought.

    Anyway, good criteria for future pieces. Your gut is the best barometer for quality!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The key, as you say, seems to be to avoid paralysis – while acknowledging that tastes and goals change. I’m still figuring out what I want my writing to do (like most people) – but at least now it’s clear what doesn’t work! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can so relate! I was just chatting with a friend the other day about how I’m pretty sure I never wrote a solid paper in undergrad. Probably an overstatement, but it just felt so forced. Anyway, you are not alone! 🕊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Writing is thinking…and I totally relate to this. I just wrote a 200+ word dissertation and the last three months working on it had nothing to do with rewriting–it was all about formatting and page numbers and getting the tables “just so.” Ugh…I think I actually did a decent job with the thing, but my brain turns off the second I crack that puppy open. To add insult to injury- the binding services are “non-essential” and I won’t get a bound copy for some time, and my graduation ceremony was cancelled. This wouldn’t normally be a problem because I’d be finding something exciting to do and I’d shake my fist at conventionality while turning my face to the horizon. However, my horizon has been my couch for days now…thankfully, it’s a pretty good couch. But the melons I just bought….that’s another story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear from you. It’s a shame about the graduation ceremony – which is about celebration, but also closure on the whole process. Is there another way you can find to get at least temporary closure on your work? – Although, in the aftermath of a doctorate program, a couch sounds like heaven.


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