I am treating my (second) legal writing assignment like it's an English paper, which is to say I can't seem to work on it when I know that it's still light outside. Sometime tonight, around 9:00 or maybe 9:45, I will kick myself into high, panicked gear and (hopefully) knock out the (maximum) eight-page memo that is only a first draft, and so less terrifying than it could be. The problem with me and first drafts is that (if it's not a poem, and it's not) I have a difficult time accepting subsequent drafts and I know that my writing professor wants a Final Draft.
I thought I was making the change from English student to law student nicely. I read my casebooks, I wrote my notes, I answered questions in class. But it's been a month (it's been five weeks) and I cannot shake that feeling that I'm an English major who has wandered into a law class and someone is going to call foul on me.
The law creates interesting ideas. In Torts, I recited the facts of a case that helped us define not what consent is, but how consent is shown--because you can't confirm the mind, you have to take the objective manifestations of consent. (If I give you a hug, does this mean that I've given you consent for all future hugs?) In Property, we spent (too much?) time parsing adverse possession, and before that the doctrine of ad coelum, which is Latin, which makes us nervous, but which is oddly beautiful: "for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven (and down to Hell)." This, of course, was before airplanes.
There is nothing remarkable to say about Contracts, except that I understand Contracts, which is remarkable in and of itself.
I picked up Maureen McLane's My Poets today. I didn't realize it when I bought the book, but I heard her deliver the first chapter as part of a lecture at Northwestern. I found out that I could still read like an English major, and maybe even like a poet. I keep wishing that I'll find myself again writing poetry. I carry words around with me, but I'm not sure what to do with them yet. Maybe read My Poets a little more, and then the parts from Possession and then (in between all my case law) the thin collections that are gathering dust (I have to be careful with Jay Hopler's Green Squall now--the front page is threatening to separate and I won't give it up). But I think this (talking to you again) might be the first short step to reclaiming myself, or refashioning myself, or . . . will someone please tell me what I am trying to do.