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WRITER'S BLOCK: Blind ambitions

Published: September 2, 2005
Section: Opinions


I return to campus this September plagued by the same feelings that gnaw at me every year at this time, as I make the annual transition from summer to fall. Were just coming off of three months free from the time-consuming constraints of classes, papers and exams. Mid-May, I was just embarking upon what seemed like an eternity of endless options. I was really going to make the most of this summer. I had a job, of course.

But once I was punched out, nobody could stop me! I was going to read every book I hadnt hit yet from Random Houses Top 100 American Classics. I was going to write a screenplay a la Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, begin my future Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. I was going to read the front page of the Globe every day, learn how to bake my moms famous meringue cookies, and do something fabulously cultured like visit the Museum of Fine Arts. I got active. I got motivated. I got lazy.

This isnt to say that I did nothing with myself this summer. I worked at the admissions office every day. I gave tours in the heat and the rain. I spouted facts and figures to curious visitors like a veritable sage of Brandeis knowledge. I smiled;

I was helpful;

I was articulate. I sold this school like no one has sold it before! However, by the time I got home I was sapped of all my incentive. Books were pushed aside as I reached for the remote. Who needs to read when the new season of Laguna Beach is on?

To say I did nothing this summer would be a lie. But at the same time, its funny how my pre-June ambitions slowly decompose into my post-August regrets. Once finals are done and Ive turned in my key, my brain seems to shift into energy-saving mode, and I can only muster together enough neuron power to change the station when Mariah Careys We Belong Together comes on the radio for the twenty- seventh time that day. American classics turned into the latest Harry Potter installment. The front page of the Globe became the front page of msn.com, or the sports section, at best. I didnt make one meringue, but I did heat batches upon batches of frozen chocolate chip cookies in the admissions offices convection oven. I didnt write a Pulitzer-winner (yet!), but I did have a brief run-in with someone who did. However, all I can say after the encounter is that Thomas Friedmans mustache is as bushy as ever, and that he was wearing an orange polo shirt. There were no deeply intellectual discussions about global politics or his latest book.

I always wonder if I should feel guilty about my failure to fulfill my summer goals. The notion of summer vacation is already beginning to dwindle as we get older. Soon enough, the year will flow seamlessly from one season to the next, devoid of any prolonged respite. But Im not going to worry about it too much. Before we know it, well be consumed by work once again, and Ill be longing for those lazy afternoons spent in the sun. Ill get it all done, eventually. And hey, theres always next summer.