January 31st, 2009


Books and papers are my love and my nemesis

Grad school has proved to be the many-headed Hydra of my physical existence -- in that the sheer amount of paper generated by my studies somehow magically continues to grow, even now that I've been out of the program for a year and a half. The Hydra, if you remember from mythology, was the beast that was very difficult to kill because each time you cut off one of its many heads, two more grew back in its place. Seriously, I think my grad school papers multiply every time I try to declutter them. Witness:
1. Every time a school term ends, I go through my old papers and recycle the ones I don't want to keep.
2. Every time a school year ends, I do the same thing, because it's a nice way to start the summer and because a year gives me more perspective on what I need to hang on to. I have been doing this since I was in elementary school and I'm very fond of this ritual.
3. Every now and then, when I need to clear some boxes or when I get a tidying urge, I go back through the folders I've already cleared twice, and do it again.
4. When I began my leave of absence, I did it again.
5. When I officially left the program, I did it again, and this time more ruthlessly than ever -- recycled all my papers from my qualifying exam (this was worth at least three heads on the Hydra), generating enough scratch paper to get me through my comics workshop -- because I wanted to get this over with and never have to look at these dreadful things again.

You'd think that would be enough culling and organizing, right? Well, today I started going through our hall closet in preparation for moving out, and I found TWO huge file boxes full of yet more grad-school papers!! AAAAAGHH!

Three hours and two sore hips later (should have sat on yoga blankets, but the stacks of paper so daunted me I forgot)... I had completely refilled our paper-recycling bin, generated a stack of scratch paper about ten inches high, and reduced the two file boxes to half of one.

But if I find more papers lying around somewhere, someday in the future, I won't be surprised.