Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rhythm and Meaning

I have no sense for meter in poetry and sometimes I think that makes me less of a person.

I'm joking of course, but it is rather strange. I can sense rhythm in music perfectly well, but finding the beats in speech and naming them, it is a mystery to me how that works. Honestly, I've tried reading troublesome poems aloud over and over, listening to recordings, writing it out, tapping it out, and I even tried to cheat by googling for some kind of meter decoder and there isn't one. Internet, you have failed me.

But it seems that my deficiency isn't going to hurt me too badly, because I got my poetry midterm project grade, and it's a 50/50! I made involuntary high-pitched noises and wiggled with glee off and on for several hours after I saw it, it was the best migraine trigger I've had in weeks. The teacher heaped on the praise and said she hadn't given a 100% until my paper, much to my surprise and delight. I worked hard on that paper, and I put my whole heart in it, so I was pretty terrified about my grade. I feel like I have a knack for analyzing poetry, but it's all so subjective sometimes, like seeing patterns in the clouds, how do we know if our interpretation is "right" until someone else comes along and validates it?

While I've loved taking both of these classes, I'm so glad the quarter's nearly over. It was a lot, taking two classes at the same time (even though photo is more of a half-class at only 2 units to poetry's 4). Having my attention split, especially at more intense periods in the classes, was really difficult and more than a little stressful for my migraine-addled brain, so I'm only taking one class next quarter. I considered taking a break totally, I could use one after how hard I've had to push this quarter and considering the holidays are about to kick my ass, but I'm so looking forward to this next course, a career planning class, and I don't want to wait. My finals are next week and next quarter doesn't start for a month. That'll probably be about perfect for holiday recuperation.

My head's been highly symptomatic lately. I had knots in my scalp for the first time in months. I've been waking with a headache consistently for the past few weeks and I'm having trouble getting good sleep because of it. My neck has been spectacularly stiff and painful, and yesterday I went at it with the theracane for an hour just so I could turn my head without crying. The nausea's been a pain, and I'm getting more frequent dizziness when I move too quickly. It could be stress, it could be my bed's too soft, or the storms that have been rolling through every couple of days, or a combination of all of the above.

I can't control the weather, but I can try to control myself. The hamster wheel in my head is ever-spinning, and I often only stop and take care of myself when there's no other option. I worry that I'm stretching myself too thin, but if I'm not trying as hard as I possibly can at all times, I feel like I'm failing.

I'm not, of course, I'm succeeding more than I thought I could a few years ago, but my life is a bizarre, never-ending tug of war between compulsive overachievement and forced relaxation. It's like my personal rhythm and the rhythm of the world around me are at odds, and I can never quite get the tempo right. But, like poetry, it's the meaning of the thing that really matters, not so much the speed at which it's read.