Silence as part of process

I’ve devoted most of May to working on the second draft of my Master’s Essay.

This hasn’t entailed as much writing as you might think. And not because I procrastinate like a pro (although I do).

No, for me revision means a lot of rereading, which also means a lot of wanting to throw Emile and its author against a brick wall.

It’s mostly Book V. It is alarming how relevant Book V still is. (Book V is about women and marriage. Book V is the reason Mary Wollstonecraft tears Rousseau a new one in A Vindication. If you’re a woman or respect women and want to be furious sometime, read Book V of Emile.)

It’s a worthwhile and important treatise for other reasons, in no small part, to my mind, because it inspired Shelley to make Frankenstein so much more than a ghost story. Not that Rousseau deserves credit for that. Nor, in fact, would he want it. He did not particularly approve of women authors.

You’re shocked, I know.

But even aside from steaming over Rousseau (and writing blog posts about it,), there are other aspects of revision that do not consist of actual revising. There’s a lot of mulling. Percolating. Staring. Sending weird texts.

It’s an active inactivity. And it’s part of my process. Production isn’t, on the whole, one of my struggles. I can be prolific as fuck when need be. But it requires a lot of silence beforehand. And after, when I mean to refine something. 

It can be frustrating, as I’ve said before. I’d rather be writing than not. And sometimes I feel like I am only procrastinating and using the rush of a deadline when I should be taking mine time. But the other side of it is important, even if it doesn’t look like much is happening. 

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