I worked on that second paper until this afternoon when I had to go to class. I had a terrible time with it. Each time I had some idea of what to write I looked at the reading again and decided my thought was not quite right. The paper has strict guidelines. It’s supposed to be a critical abstract of the assigned reading. I am at a disadvantage because I have very little knowledge of Japanese history. I thought about not turning in anything. I had written one long paragraph (out of the required three) and I was very dissatisfied. So, putting my cursor in at the top of the page (thank goodness for computers), I wrote: "I can’t write this paper." I then proceeded to detail my problem. I finished the paragraph, decided the original could stand with it, added a sentence at the end and I turned it in. In our subsequent class discussion I realized that I hadn’t been far from the truth: the reading was disjointed and awkwardly translated.
We got the assignment for our major class paper today. I had intended to ignore this one. I thought it would be more work than I wanted to do. But the assignment is charming and I think it will really be fun. I’ll have more to say about it as I start to work.