The travails of my single mindedness

by Anna Blanch on November 9, 2011

So last week I was typing away, trying to wrangle words. I was simultaneously writing two blog posts, an article for a Christmas issue of a magazine, and chapter 2 of my thesis and I was in the midst both of the hard yards and of the sheer exhaustion of it all. And then I checked my email and there in my inbox was an email from a New York Times reporter.

yep…I did just type that.

It turned out that I couldn’t help them with the enquiry they had. As in, I didn’t feel comfortable commenting on the topic they wanted comment on, but it was still one of those, “when did….”, “how…ummm” – yep, a few more things added to the list of things I don’t think I really foresaw happening this year, or today, or well, certainly not as a consequence of blogging.

But today is Wednesday. And i’m writing. I’m scrambling to try and meet my goal of having a draft of all five chapters before Christmas. I know i’m in the zone, because I get so engrossed I forget to eat. i’ve thought about setting alarms to avoid the hunger pains that have been the only thing reminding me food is essential when i’ve overshot the last meal time by a few hours! but i’m settling for being intentional about having lots of healthy snacks to hand and using my slow cooker to help with the lack of time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day at the moment!

It’s #lifeunmasked day today. Something else I didn’t forsee myself enjoying the way I have:

I’m sitting in the cottage-by-the-sea surrounding by books strewn across the small tables, and a chair i’m using as a sidetable, and chairs. There are small piles denoting articles and books relating to particular chapters. I’m glad for this place, this space. It is what I need, for a time such as this. The days are getting shorter as the light becomes scarce in its inexorable decline to the darkness of cold, Scottish winter days. If it wasn’t before, soon I will be reminded that I live on the same latitude as Moscow.

It is north.

way north.

I like to quip that when i head back here I’m heading further up and further in, like Lewis’s great north.

I’m nervous that i’m not going to make my desire deadlines. But the fear of failure has never paralyzed me before, and i really hope it won’t this time round.

I’m feeling very much alone and at times I wonder what it is like to have the support of a spouse through a time like this. I don’t know. I hope i don’t treat it like a grass is greener kind of thing. Mostly, I relish that being single allows me to devote almost every waking moment to this endeavour, this challenge. I appreciate my flexibility – I don’t have the responsibilities and commitments that many of my colleagues have. My sense of weight over getting this done, is about me and worrying about what I’ll do after next August, whereas some of my colleagues have the responsibility of supporting growing families – sometimes I see this in their faces and furrowed brows. As for me, I have my own sense of anticipation and concern over the future. It’s difficulty sometimes to be standing alone, though I feel blessed to have a wonderful church community here who have shared and encouraged and prodded and rejoiced and mourned with me these past two years.

A colleague of mine, who teaches New Testament, asked this question in relation to 1 Corinthians 7 this past week:

what if we took Paul seriously and got excited about the possibility of engaging singleness as profoundly prophetic and not merely to be pitied; and of marriage as a calling, not a given and a right… (i.e., reverse the modern church’s mentality?)

I think she’s onto something really positive and helpful. It’s certainly given me further food for thought.

Right, I have to get back to writing. Gratefully, I’ve trudged through some gnarly chapter restructuring which means i’m waking up more enthused by this project than I have in a while. See that word counter on the top right of this page, that’s what I’m working toward – i’ll have an update about that this friday.


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Life: UnmaskedThis challenge and invitation from Joy in conjunction with post I wrote about “getting real” prompted my involvement with This Life: Unmasked.

This is my ninth post for the challenge. Here is my first: Life: UnMasked, my second, Ready or Not, my third, Is the Heart Home?, my fourth, Like Fireflies in the Night and Swallows in the morning, my fifth, This is a Choice, and my sixth, A little less of a superhero, my seventh, Just another day… and my eighth, In Control?

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  • http://ordinarilyextraordinary.com/ Amy Nabors

    You seem to be gaining momentum with your thesis which is a good thing. Enjoyed your post today. Thanks for sharing this bit of your life.

  • http://twitter.com/prestonyancey @prestonyancey

    I love you, friend. I love Skype chats and laughter. Thank you for being a friend for the journey.

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

    "further up and further in" – I LOVE that Narnia book. It might be one of my favorites (though I love the Horse and His Boy and The Magician's Nephew too).

    I have to admit occasional envy at the single-minded devotion you can give your studies and your writing. I am unable to be single-minded about anything these days. It probably is a grass-is-greener thing!

  • Pingback: Staying accountable in my thesis writing marathon — Goannatree()

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