October 24, 2004

GeneralFantastic Weekend

Last week was probably the worst week I'd had being in grad school.

It started innocently enough. Strike went smoothly on Sunday, and it was even fun (try and get someone involved with theatre to say that.) The cast and crew had one last real dinner together, which was fun. Monday went really well - the read thru for class on Monday went well. The project for Thursday was winding up incredibly well - it was one of the first projects that I've felt completely prepared and ready to give before the due date.

Tuesday rolled around. I was dreading Tuesday from the start, knowing we would probably get our papers back. This was a paper on Albee's "Zoo Story," an incredibly strange play. It was a 7 page paper; I wound up writing 9 1/2 pages. We did get it back, and it turns out that I completely lost sense of the play around my page 8. I wound up getting a pretty low grade (for me) on the paper, and it really set me into a tailspin.

It was the first major paper we'd had to write for class; for me, it was the first major grad school paper.

Thursday added to the tailspin. We had a major presentation due for Dramaturgy, in which we had to present to the class (and professor) a cohesive idea to unite Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" around. My group, well, just John and myself, chose to put it in brother/sister colleges during 1968. The idea was sound, and we had it all worked out.

Thursday rolls around, and the computer crashes loading my presentation. I start sweating bullets because the presentation is how I had really planned to deliver this presentation. I filled the presentation with every cheesy PowerPoint trick I knew. But the damn computer crashes. The professor lets me work on it while another group goes.

Fifteen minutes later, after the group finished, I get the presentation up and running. We deliver a pretty decent spiel for the concept. The professor, however, as he has done to the groups before us (and after us, it would turn out) asks us the one question about which we can't answer. We stammer on for a few minutes, myself feeling like a blathering idiot, while the professor stares at us and nods in a way that was completely devoid of any knowledge of whether or not we were getting through to him to shore up our idea.

So by Thursday night, I was feeling pretty dumb. I'd been stewing with the grade since Tuesday, and it just made me feel dumber. I'm not used to feeling dumb. It's the one state at which I don't feel like I've ever been in for any length of time. I mean, I don't mean to toot my horn, or inflate my ego, but if there's one thing that I'm not used to feeling, it's dumb.

(relevant sidenote: In 8th grade, I moved to Maryland two months into the school year. Despite this hinderance, I still managed to get a "superlative" in the eighth grade yearbook, in the "That'll be the day" section. My honor? "That'll be the day when Matt DeMizio isn't smart.")

So yeah, dumb. I needed to get the hell out of the city and get home. I had been planning to for a couple of weeks.

I came home Friday afternoon, and worked through the weekend for the upcoming week. I feel so incredibly refreshed and ready to go. I'm ahead on almost everything that I can be ahead on. I feel like I have new insight. I'm rested, and pretty well read for the coming week.

If I have any one fault, it's that I tend to get bogged down with the stupid stuff that piles up in my life. When that happens, I tend to spiral deeper into it, without being able to get out easily. It usually takes something dramatic to pull me out of that state. This weekend wound up doing it for me, thank goodness.

I'm driving back tomorrow, and feel prepared for a brand new, incredible week.

And to shore up my usual tradition of ending with a quote (that, this week has little relevance, and probably defeats my entire purpose entirely...) This one's from Charles-Pierre Baudelaire, and is relevant to my weekend just because it was quoted in O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" which is for class on Tuesday...

"Get Drunk!"

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows

you down, you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:

"It is time to get drunk!

So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!"

(needless to say, I probably wouldn't choose the wine of which he speaks...

Posted by Matthew at October 24, 2004 11:37 PM
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