Sunday, August 10, 2014

Poor closers

With every round of revisions I make to this essay, I'm convinced I'm finally ready to write my conclusion. Everything else is falling into place. About a week ago I felt confident enough to scrap my old conclusion, which I'd been hanging onto in the hope that some portion of it might still work. Since then, I've occasionally started drafting something that seemed like it might be a note I could end on. So I write half a paragraph, and then I lose enthusiasm and leave it stranded there amid a bunch of white space.

So far I've got four or five of those maybe-conclusory, half-finished thoughts. They hang out like awkward dudes at a bar: keeping their distance; fiddling with their drinks; making occasional eye-contact and then pretending they didn't; never getting up the nerve to start a conversation.

I can't blame them. I'm not really interested in them either. So I ignore them, tinkering with the few places that still need work in the rest of the essay--a bit of framing here, a little historical background there. If I'm still not feeling it once that's done, maybe I'll fix my footnotes.

Eventually I'll know how I want this to end, who I want to go home with. Another guy will show up at the bar, and that'll be it. But that time is not yet.


Comradde PhysioProffe said...

That was very erotic.

Flavia said...

If you say so, CPP.

When I remember the real-life equivalent--hanging around some bar or party or friend's wedding, surveying the options, and trying to decide if there was anything that could conceivably improve my evening or if it could only go downhill and I should just get a damn cab home--"erotic" is not the word I'd choose.

Belle said...

I love the image, if the reality of that situation makes me want to run from the room. My conclusions usually fall out of my pen; can you just read through it carefully, not editing, and see if a more 'holistic' approach works?

Good luck with the dudes.

Flavia said...


Lucky you!

I can't write my conclusions until I'm ready to write them, and at that point they're relatively easy. Most likely, I won't use any part of what I've got so far, but I always think it'll come in useful...

Susan said...

This is a great image. And I think you suggest the real question of the conclusion is, where does this go? What next? Because in general (at least as a historian - English may be different -- a good article raises new questions. So you're wrapping it up with a messy bow, because you've added in the clue for the next step in the scavenger hunt. (A metaphor that abandons even the limited eroticism of the bar, but, well,...)

Withywindle said...

You fit my thesis. Wanna conclude?

(The male variant.)

(I have never, never, never tried to pick anyone up in a bar, but occasionally I go into a reverie about the worst possible lines to use.)