As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently completing my undergraduate thesis. Like a good English major, I’m writing about The Sound and the Fury: memory, motherhood, modernity, and all those other words that begin with “m.” My (unfortunately desolate) dating life cowers before the long-term, tumultuous passion of my relationship with William Faulkner, with whom I’ve been going steady for the last eleven months. Yes, things are getting pretty serious between old Bill and I—I’m a little unsure as to what I’ll do when our time together is up in a few weeks. (Probably spend a lot of time at the bar, let’s be real.)
Anyway, as I’ve been working on my final revisions, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and love—specifically how they are pages out of the same book. (Heh heh.) I was only partly joking when I compared my project to a relationship, because it has followed the same basic trajectory as any love affair I would have with a real dude instead of a dead alcoholic author.
Courtship: It all began with a crush. I admired Faulkner’s novels, his way with words. I wanted to get to know him better, so I gathered up the courage to write a paper about him during the spring of my sophomore year. We immediately took to each other, spending long hours in the library gazing at one another until the essay was done. But then it was time for summer break, and things wouldn’t get serious between us for another year.
Honeymoon Stage: When we decided to see each other exclusively—I vowed that he would be the only writer I would think about for an entire academic year—I experienced a period of elation. He could do no wrong in my eyes. His quirks—those long, indecipherable sentences—were adorable, and the times he confused me elicited only laughter. I started wondering if I should get a Master’s in Literature so that we could be together forever.
Our First Fight: As time went on, though, I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted at all. This was strictly a senior year fling. Faulkner’s long sentences were actually pretty freakin’ annoying. Why couldn’t he just give me the answer I needed? We went on a break over my winter vacation, hardly speaking to one another.
Compromise: Eventually, we learned to strike a balance. My life just wasn’t the same without him. I was determined to make things work, even if just until graduation. I resolved to spend more time with him, and he promised to go a little easier on me.
The Break Up: It hasn’t happened yet, but soon I’ll turn in my thesis, defend it, and be done. I’ll miss staying up late at night with him, doing close readings together, all those times in the library. Yet even though things are going to change, I know I’ll always remember our time together. For a while I’ll look blankly at my notes and wonder where to go from here. But somehow, in time, I’ll move on.
See what I mean? Writing this paper = love. There you have it. Clearly I am just a liiiittle overworked.