I am on page 13 or 14 of my Barth research paper that is due on Thursday. I have never been this ahead of schedule in my entire life. I have a detailed outline for the next 5 pages, but need to do some more work on the last part of my paper and a small portion in the beginning. I think with every research paper, in the back of your mind, you are panicking. The same questions roll through your mind over and over again - "Does this make even remote sense?", "Is this complete nonsense, even for my own comprehension?", "Do I really believe this?", "Am I interpreting this correctly?", "Am I even making an argument?", "Do I remember my thesis statement ... wait, did I abandon it at page 7?" Thankfully, I should have ample time to edit this paper with precision.
This experience has really taught me a great deal about research and writing. I never thought I'd say this, but I feel most comfortable when I'm exegeting Barth's work instead of secondary sources. The moments that fear and insecurity hit are usually when I am caught up in secondary sources. There are many differing opinions among scholars, especially when it comes to Barth. But at this point, I just want to understand him more deeply. I can't, at the end of the day, stand in the shadow of another scholar. If I get Barth wrong, it must be because I interpreted and understood him incorrectly. This isn't to say that I am not incredibly and humbly indebted to many scholars for my understanding of Barth. But mostly, my understanding for this paper, especially in terms of the section on election comes from my own time alone with KB himself.
Well, thanks for reading. It was helpful to express all of that. Back to work!