September 29, 2005

Don't even try to distract me

It is Thursday and I am grading papers.

I am not going to wander out to the kitchen to open the refrigerator and gaze inside with the hope that the contents will be different than they were five minutes ago. I am not going to surf blogs to read enviously about the lives of people who do not have papers to grade. I am not going to sit near my computer so that I can hear the little chime that sounds when a new email appears.

I am going to grade papers.

I am not going to put on music and dance around the living room. I am not going to take just a short walk out into the woods to see whether or not the poison ivy has all turned yellow. I am not going to start pulling a few weeds from my garden. I am not going to chop wood or stack wood or check the woodpile to see if I can find a snake sleeping in the sun.

I am going to grade papers.

I am not going to write an email to ArtistFriend, even though I am tempted because I know that he too has papers to grade and nothing brings the creativity to the surface like procrastination. I am not going to reread the dozen emails he sent me on Tuesday when he was supposed to be grading papers. I am not going to get out my pastels and smear big swirls of colour onto pale thick paper. I am not going to call Mirror Friend so that he can listen to me ramble on and on about childhood issues. I am not going to read the books piled about my office. I am not going to thumb through the newest L.L. Bean catalogue.

I am going to grade papers.

I am not going to wash dishes or vacuum the living room, even though I would love to remember how nice my home looks when it is clean. I am not going to mow the lawn, even though it needs to be done one last time before winter. I am not going to wash the sheets from our bed and hang them on the clothesline in the sun so that they smell like fall. I am not going to call my husband and lure him home for lunch and a nap.

I am going to grade papers.

I am not going to write a blog post or comment on blogs or read blogs. I am not going to write any of the emails I owe to people. I am not going to write in my journal. I am not going to call my mother, although she will probably call me. I am not going to check the away messages of my children, my nieces, and my extras. I am not going to spend long minutes starting into the tree outside my window, daydreaming about summer.

I am going to grade papers.

Deer will wander into my yard, and wild turkeys too. Maybe a fox. I will not see them. Emails will fill my inbox, marked as unread for hours. The letter carrier might bring some new magazines, a journal, maybe even a letter. The phone will ring, but I will not answer it. All kinds of conversations will fill the comment boxes on the blogs, but I will not read them. Chocolate syrup will stay hidden inside its container, tofutti nestled into its spot in the freezer. The newspaper will stay folded in the box out by the road. Daydreams will stay curled up inside the spaces of my body.

I will be grading papers.

19 comments:

ccw said...

I hope that you get your papers graded, so that you can rejoin us here in blogland.

I will assure you that nothing envious is going home at my house, unless you truly desire to watch Barney while wearing 15 year old hot pink sweats.

Bad Alice said...

I'm editing part of a committee notebook (big yawn). There's a dehumidifier humming at the next cubicle, a very soothing, lulling hum. The sky is overcast as if it would like to tell us all to for pete's sake go to sleep. I almost did, during devotions. I hope I didn't snore.

Back to the committee notebook.

Suzanne said...

So. How's it going so far?

I made a similar steadfast commitment to editing a manuscript this morning while my son is at preschool. As you can tell, I am making a lot of progress by reading your blog!

seadragon said...

Okay. I was supposed to read this so that I am both reassured that I am not alone and sufficiently chagrined into grading my own papers. Sigh.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You need to set goals, like "If I grade 4 papers, I will make myself a chocolate milkshake and drink it outside, under the tree with the reddest leaves." Then "If I grade 5 more papers, I'll strip naked and vaccuum, and see if I can get dressed before the mail comes". Stuff like that.

bridgett said...

I'm grading papers too. Can't you tell?

jo(e) said...

The thought of watching Barney is strangely appealing. And I am wearing grey sweatpants that are older than some of the people who read my blog.

Mona: I rewarded myself by going over to your blog earlier today. Should I have stripped naked first?

Forty papers done, twenty to go ....

Rana said...

I am going to share this post with D. He's been in full-on grading-avoidance mode, and the only way we're going to get him started is for us to take a long car trip to see his mother and for him to have nothing to do during it except grade papers. Well, and talk to me. I guess that'll be his reward for finishing batches. *grin*

Ooh. Now I have an incentive to get my own work done -- ie taking photographs and posting them -- I need to provide a reward for you in case you visit my blog!

peripateticpolarbear said...

love it.

listmaker said...

Wow! I'm impressed with your progress. Your potential distractions were soooo tempting.

Yankee T said...

Even when you're not writing and not blogging, you're a fabulous writer.

Songbird said...

This is exactly how I "wrote" a sermon today...

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Grade on, you crazy diamond.

liz said...

Gorgeous.

RussianViolets said...

This is my evening tonight. Geez, I love being a professor on Friday night. :-(

Sarah Sometimes said...

This is wonderful. Almost Dr. Seussian (sp.?). I will try to borrow some of your determination for my grading sessions over the weekend. Even down here in the big city, fall is alluring, so I will be distractedly looking out the window, I'm sure. When I'm not taking naps.

I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

This reminds me of a dumb joke I posted on my blog that my mom told me (!) when I was about to start dating when I was but a youth...

YOUR prose is MUCH better. :)

Hh

Julie said...

What a charming post! I hope you get those papers done without too much hassle.

Marie said...

Right now I am writing lesson plans. Can you tell?