The less I write the more it’s killin’ me

… and let’s just say I did not expect that.  I am taking what is referred to as “a light semester”.  At this point, my roommates are rejoicing because that means a whole lot less complaining and a whole lot more baking from yours truly.  But oh, this semester is killing me in ways I did not expect.  For one, my mind has seemed to take doing work as an all-or-nothing proposition (which it is not, for the record).  For another, I have practically no writing to do.  Sure, I have papers every week, but most of them are opinion papers a mere one to three pages long.

By this point, some of you may suspect that I am bragging.  I am not.  Because here’s the kicker.   If you didn’t notice, I added that last sentence about papers after the “this semester is killing me” part.  Not because I’m one of those meek and mild people who actually like writing 20 page research papers, but because I don’t have an outlet for my academic writing side – which apparently is quite determined to be let out.  It builds and builds until I am writing things like this:

The similarities between Basilosaurus and the bottlenose dolphin are striking.  Over time, the distinct “legs” of Basilosaurus shrank until they became flippers similar to that of a bottlenose dolphin’s.  Tooth shape changed, too; as diet changed from eating large fish (Basilosaurus) to eating smaller fish such as tuna (bottlenose dolphin), the tooth point became smoother.  Body shape is very similar across the species.  Both share a barrel-chest, a wedge head, and both tails come to a sloping point where the back flippers attach.

The problem?  This was meant as part of an answer key for Kindergarten to second grade students for a museum scavenger hunt.  My boss returned it with a succinct “Simplify” across the top.

If only I could just “simplify”.  This is not the only example of me overthinking a simple writing task.  Astronomy homework, American Culture response papers (hey, I said I was taking a light semester) – recently they’ve all been easily a page or two longer than they have needed to be. I wonder if this newfound issue in simplification will be permanent.  If so, I understand why less people than you’d think write children’s books (okay, write good children’s books).

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