I sit hunched over at my desk, eyes blurred from starting at the computer screen, which has taken on the appearance of a buoy floating in a sea of scattered papers and notebooks. My hands are poised to type any brilliant– or, at this point, merely intelligible– thought that crosses my mind, but every character that I dare to type is inevitably obliterated with a stroke of the backspace key.
The clock ticks by–11:45 PM, 12:13 AM, 2:01 AM– and still the cursor blinks incessantly on a stark white screen.
But just as I am contemplating how a zero on this assignment will impact my grade, something happens. Like a tap being driven into a tree full of sap, the discovery of a previously overlooked textbook passage, or a salvaged memory of a teacher’s comment in class, or even just a glimpse at the immanent dawn outside of my window triggers a stream of ideas that seem to translate themselves into sentences and paragraphs. In just a short time compared to the hours I had spent staring at a blank screen, I am pressing “print” and hoping I can get a few hours of sleep before I have to wake up for school.
This scene has repeated itself more times than I can remember throughout my years of education, from fifth grade book reports to comparative analyses of the socialist governments of Europe. Although I am plagued with chronic writer’s block, I am saved from being a hopeless victim of its clutches by my belief that the words will eventually come. It may take longer than I would prefer– days, weeks, or even longer– but that spark will illuminate the way to express the ideas that have been there all along, remaining latent until the time is right.
I am sure these episodes will continue when I start college this year, and later through law school and what I hope will be a successful career as a lawyer. There will be more frustration and sleepless nights, more cups– no, make that pots– of coffee and more bitten fingernails, but for every annoyance there will be an even greater reward: the development and improvement of more words.
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