Studying, biscuits: always better in small bites

And just like that, October arrived. Emerging from September and the library simultaneously, I scanned the streets for traces of stolen time. Where did it go? Who took it?

And for how long have I been living off Farmbake chocolate-chip biscuits?

From after the 8th, any continuing obsession with John Keats won't be able to be blamed on an English dissertation, and will instead be embarrassingly indicative of some geeky idolatry infatuation.

"I still don't understand why you're writing an entire dissertation on three lines." "Two," I corrected my friend, "Two lines." Even as short as they are, two is far and away enough! The limit of 20,000 words has proved to be much more difficult to abide by than initially anticipated.

Obviously, I'm not a "big picture" person.

Some people advise against sweating the small stuff, but I'd argue that life is in the details.

Ten years later, I can still remember the emotional anguish induced by a rather "big-picture"-focused primary school assignment: Describe your summer holiday.

Staring at the question, unable to recall exactly what I was doing, who I was with, or even where I was forever-ago when the break began, I panicked. Panicking continued for the next fortnight during which the story should have been written.

Six weeks is such an overwhelmingly long time for a young mind to comprehend, and unfortunately the deadline came and went but the pages of my little exercise book remained blank.

"Katie," said Mrs Liquorice, "Where is your writing?" Several stories had been started, I explained. Some were about specific moments, others described the happenings of single days, and a few had attempted to encompass longer periods of time (a week, perhaps, or even two).

All fell short of answering the set question. Page after page was ripped from its staples and round-filed in dramatic fits of 12-year-old girlish anger.

Pens went flying, doors slammed, small feet stomped, and mad hot tears reddened and puffed up my eyelids.

And Mrs Liquorice just thought I was lazy. Perhaps - subconsciously - I was.

It's not an option, at university, to submit blank pages in response to a rather difficult homework task.

Luckily, we're able to write our own questions for dissertations; hence my narrow subject matter.

However, the problem with addressing seemingly small questions is that they undoubtedly lead into further questions. The interrelatedness of art in general blurs the boundaries between literature and visual art, music and history, classics and sociology ... I'm constantly dreaming up new topics to study, once I've got this one quite out of the way. Is it still daydreaming if you're awake and it's the middle of the night?

When even two lines become too immense, I refer to the oft-prescribed advice: Break it down, one bite at a time, small enough to chew, and so on. Ah ha, owing to some cross-wiring of internal communication, this has led to demolition of the aforementioned Farmbake cookies.

I prefer my mother's advice: Just do what must be done.

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