In My Head

Today I started working on my statement of purpose for doctoral programs. And by this I mean I started agonizing over it in my head without actually writing anything. So far so good.

One of the schools I am applying to would like to know what I intend to bring to their campus. Well, for starters I plan to always bring a cute purse and shoes. I will sometimes bring my own coffee. But for the most part I plan on becoming a frequent patron of the lovely coffee shop on campus that I have heard so much about.

Oh I see. I think they want to know what I plan on bringing academically. In that case, I plan on bringing my exuberance and love of learning. I completely intend to use the doctoral program to launch a career where I will enthusiastically dedicate my life to studying and writing about an amazing literary work that basically amounts to a giant camping trip. And I am perfectly happy with that.

There was a time I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a Colridgean. I was in my early twenties and Coleridge was exotic. I know, I know. This is not a common sentiment. Most of you would probably attribute many adjectives to Coleridge without ever hitting on exotic or any of its synonyms. But I saw him as the literary Audobon.

Ok, let me back up.

In 11th grade my history teacher had a fascination with Audobon. She had posters of his works all over the classroom, and never missed an opportunity to tell us a bit about him. His most famous works were paintings and drawings of birds. He had a keen sense for capturing their nature, however, in his later works, for which he is most famous, his birds were so well displayed on paper because Audobon was an amazing taxidermist. One critic stated that Audobon used his art to infuse life into his subjects. With pencils and paint he managed to resurrect his birds for all to see, and give them more life than they ever actually had.

Now think about Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Literary Audobon. See, it all makes sense.

Returning to the statement of purpose, where I will absolutely not mention any of these ramblings – as whimsical as they may be – I am still not sure where to begin. I think I know what I want to do, but it seems so far fetched I dare not mention it. At least not until they know me a bit better. Admissions people are awfully skittish. So I have placed myself in quite the little corner. Hence all the agonizing. Which now is technically no longer solely in my head since I am blogging about it, and therefore sort of on paper, or at least written out.

This will be a most interesting experiment. In what? I don’t know yet.

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