The long regional nightmare that kept me from enjoying my break as fully as I could have is finally over, for a day or two. As noted in previous posts, I wrote a feature story for class about fish robots, and more broadly, the experiments MIT has done through the years to explain the ridiculously complex fluid mechanics of a swimming fish. I mean, pike can accelerate at 10 G's and turn on a dime. That's hot.
Unfortunately, as also previously mentioned, I picked a story whose sources work at other colleges or went on sabbatical or just plain aren't interested in talking to me. I tried hard to get them, I really did. But the whole business is just a recipe for unhappiness, and that's why I'm terribly depressed to be doing newspaper stories again. If you can't get the right people to talk to you in the small window, it's your fault. You're the one who looks stupid for not having best material and having to scrap a story together from old quotes and information off the compost heap. Add to it the fact that we have to workshop constantly -- not a bad way to assess your work, but a little pointless for formulaic news writing. Thankfully I missed the first session because I was in Philadelphia watching the X-files while the others had class last Wednesday. But the revision was really no better. Anybody who wasn't available before Thanksgiving isn't going to be available on Thanksgiving. So I spent the weekend dreading Monday morning, when my professor would undoubtedly mock me for my "poor effort." He's a witty and good man, which makes it even harder when he cuts you apart with sarcastic grumbles.
But he was nice, even bordering on complimentary. Maybe it was because I was next-to-last and he wanted to get the class over with. I don't care. I didn't even open the email when he sent the marked-up version back to me, in case it was bitter jack-in-the-box waiting to shatter my first optimism in days. It's a little silly to get so down about this -- a few news stories that I don't want to do and won't have to after the new year. Besides, I have bigger fish to fry -- my 3,000 article this semester and my yearlong thesis project, both of which I'm actually invested in. But I realized I just don't have a lot of positive influx in my life right now, and the remaining resovoir goes into my writing. I probably don't have to tell you that writing isn't the most emotionally rewarding profession one could adopt.
That too shall pass, though, and today I'm working at an even keel and feel fine. I get to go home in less than a month and I'm going to eat so much, you don't even know. I still think I might hate MIT, but what are you going to do?