Index_cardsI have a system for the writing of research papers. It is the patented Bob Bumstead Index-Card McGoo5000 and I have been using it since its eponymous creator taught it to me in AP Lit in 12th grade (so, approximately 500 years ago). Basically it involves taking one’s citations down on 3×5 index cards and creating a numbered card for each bibliographical source (then the cards w/the citations on them only have to say "1" or "14" to signify, in my case, Tearing Down Prague’s Jewish Town by Cathleen Guistino, or Illuminations by Walter Benjamin), and then shuffling those cards up to make a skeletal outline out of cards which you then type up on the computer. I find this works much better than its alternative, the "read a book and make some dogears in it and then perhaps remember to come back to it when writing and perhaps not" method, which makes me have a mild nervous aphasia just thinking…about…it. (Ha, aphasia). Study_panicAnyway, my current project, my MA Thesis, whose working title is ‘In the Ancient Streets of our Misery’ and is about the use of squalor and secrecy in Kafka’s fiction as it relates to the 1893 tearing down of the former Jewish ghetto, has accumulated 25 sources so far. In grad school I decided to take my index card system (or rather, Bumstead’s) one step further and assign each source a different color of card. This includes the primary sources, which all get white (autobiographical writing by Kafka gets white lined; fiction gets white plain). Yes, I am mildly crazy. I don’t want to hear about it. Anyway, I am about 3/4 done with typing up my outline and I decided I’d share both the accumulation of my research and the resultant waxy complexion/sunken eyes/carpal tunnel syndrome (that’s a brace on my arm), so that everyone can see that I am indeed a very serious student with a massive brain and not a total lame impostor who spends all her free time watching One Tree Hill.

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