How to Succeed at Comps Without Really Trying, Week 8? 9?

I think I’ve damaged my reading process.
Naturally, I’m a pretty slow reader. If I’m reading something I love, I want to savor it, draw it in, make it my own. This is why my thoughts form in a way similar to Djuna Barnes’ metaphors (those wonderful, out-of-control metaphors).

Now when I read, I imagine my eyes are jumping across the page like a gazelle on meth. I mean I’m sprinting across the words, or, even worse, skipping over them entirely. If I hit a paragraph of scenic description, I’m past it in a flash. Because it won’t help me pass my comp exams. I need quotes that will look good in a paper, I need ideas I can tie to my other books (more specifically, I need evidence that supports my pretty-already formed ideas). Basically, I’m reading with such a narrow purpose that any language that threatens to take me away from that purpose, and I’m not interested.

I guess this my way of saying that I have less than one month left until my exams start, and I’m now “reading” in a (controlled?) panic.

This is also why I haven’t posted lately. Because the end is coming up and there’s still so much to be done.

Before, I was reading a novel a day. I was comfortable with that pace. Except, (during comp reading, and, hell, most other things in life) the thing about comfort is that, if you’re feeling good, secure, under control, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Which means you pick the pace up, challenge your eyes to scamper across a page before your fingers flick it away.

I want to feel empty when I finish. I want to know that I did what I could. Because I’m ok with that. I don’t want to look back and see an afternoon of relaxation that I could have read that extra 50 pages, that short story, that article.

Back the running metaphor: on the last lap of say, an 800 meter dash, you pick up the pace because even though you’re tasting your lungs and wondering why in the hell you decided to do this in the first pace, you know you only have one lap to go.

And when you feel the last curve under your legs, you know what? You pick up your pace again. Because the faster you run, the sooner you’ll finish.

So here I am 3.5 weeks out. Go time.

Also, because of this insane fascination with speed, I’ve found an  appreciation for video game speed runs. Probably because they reflect my inner state. Let me show you what I mean: http://youtu.be/hjQ1vYAcHQg

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