August 11th, 2015

happy girl

An unproductive day.

Today was a weird day. I was inflicted with a paralysing restlessness that sapped all the words from my brain and sucked out whatever vague enthusiasm I had for writing the human rights thing. I couldn't write anything; I was utterly uninspired; and my mind was elsewhere. It was a shockingly unproductive day.

I will force myself to sit in the library with my laptop tomorrow and finish the first half of this chapter. It is already too long but I don't see how I can comply with the template and still keep it to 6,000 words. I could move things to footnotes of course but I personally really dislike reading huge chunks of texts in footnotes (which seems to be a very American thing but I could be wrong) so I'm not keen on that. Still, desperate times will probably call for desperate measures, so I am bracing myself for that eventuality.

I must say, too, that I really dislike reading statutory provisions. They are so boring.

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I listen to classical music (using the phrase 'classical music' as a genre, and not in reference to the specific classical period) when I write. Ravel used to be my Pavlovian music of choice*; I listened to his piano works non-stop when I was writing my LLM research papers. A week ago, I purchased some Debussy on iTunes and some Chopin. Apparently I prefer Debussy because I can't stop listening to the album when I'm working on the paper.

Apart from the obvious Clair de Lune, I re-discovered Golliwog's Cakewalk and it has been replaying in my head for the whole day. I love it. There were a few pieces that I wasn't keen on when I first listened to it, but they all grew on me on repeat listenings. I just bought another volume of his piano works by the same pianist (French pianist named Jean Efflam...something) and I can't wait to listen to it.

(*This adjective - Pavlovian - used in this context is courtesy of G. Surely I can be forgiven for being smitten with someone who uses the word 'Pavlovian' in daily conversation? I am now tempted to delve into my afternoon analysis of my psyche - more specifically, my reluctance to let him go depsite knowing that I have to. Essentially, I chalked it down to a fear of never finding someone like him again - someone who challenges me intellectually, among other things. But whatever. I am tired and all I want to do now is to go to bed and get some much needed sleep so that I can be fresh in the mind to get that bloody paper written. It's unfortunately not going to write itself, so I have to do it.)

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Edit: The whole point of bringing up the topic of classical music was to say that I found myself wishing that I hadn't quit the piano. I would love to be able to play Clair de Lune, for instance, and Pavane pour une infante defunte, etc. on the piano. Some pieces are so evocative that I feel like they are more and better able to capture perfectly a certain mood or emotion that mere words cannot. There is so much beauty in this world. It's too bad that I stopped playing the piano when I was 16. I am so out of touch now that I think I would have problems even playing Chopsticks, and of course, I have forgotten how to read a musical score and how to play simple scales. I would ask my mom to teach me again but I think we proved that we don't make a good student-teacher team when I quit playing the piano at 16. Not that I blame her or anything, but you know, being forced to do something against my will did not endear me to the activity at all; but more importantly, I didn't appreciate the music or the skill as much as I do now, and I just never felt like I had any practical musical talent. As is more or less always the case with me, if I can't do something well, I would rather not do it.

Still, I have a sudden urge to pick it up again just for its own sake - just to feel what it feels like to be able to play some of the most beautiful sounds ever known to the human race. It must be incredible. Being a passive listener is already a moving experience in itself; I can't imagine what it would be like to be the active performer.

Maybe I'll do this in September after my contract at CIL ends and I am left with nothing to do (nothing, that is, apart from this paper that I am apparently going to present in December, of which not a single word has been written). We will see.