Soothing Summer: Cutting Paper

I couldn’t sleep last night, so apparently I spent two hours editing one of my prelims. I have yet to reopen the file, but I’m hoping I didn’t do too much damage.

Yesterday, I got a care package in the mail from my mom. I love her, but she always sends the most random things. This time around, she sent me one thing that I actually needed – a T-shirt that I ruined in the wash that she treated with something really strong to get the stain out. In addition, she sent a huge bag of Twizzlers (but the one flavor I don’t like), some coupons, and some coins wrapped up in containers. She also inexplicably wrapped everything in little bits of glossy newspaper. So, this morning, as I was drinking my coffee and listening to Jimmy Kimmel’s interviews last night with JoJo and Jordan from The Bachelorette, I had to search for something constructive to do. Finding nothing, I found one of the inexplicably crumpled pieces of paper, a pair of scissors, and just started cutting random patterns in it. I ended up with both a lovely if somewhat asymmetrical star and a new distraction, or at least a way to soothe myself.

Here are some awesome paper cuttings I found while slacking:


It might look like a painting, but it’s actually a very intricately cut birth announcement by paper artist Emma Boyes. See more at All Things Paper.

papercraft art from one sheet of paper peter callesen 17 20 Sculptures Cut from a Single Piece of Paper

Artist Peter Callesen does these amazing models, from a skeleton to a pagoda to this bridal gown, from just one piece of paper. See more at Twisted Sifter.

idea for child project

How about one of the world’s great landmarks like the Coliseum, or this nifty paper castle from PhotoWebs?


This intricate 3D piece comes from LifeChilli.


A scene like this mother and baby is called scherenschnitte. There’s even a video tutorial here at the website of Dot and Mae.

free vector christmas tree paper cutting different style

This one comes from Alt Free Downloads, and it looks like something I could actually do.

And hey, being a paper artist is a more legitimate occupation than 75% of the show’s contestants, so there’s that.


I will finish this paper tonight, dammit.

I am done procrastinating.

…Okay, no I’m not.

But for weeks now, I’ve had FIVE PAPERS FIVE PAPERS FIVE PAPERS looming over my head like a black cloud, wherever I go.

And it needs to end.

This coming week, I’ve got two presentations to do one in theatre and one in history. Both are only ten minutes, but I can’t just sit there, or stand there, as the case may be, and convert oxygen into carbon dioxide.

Bad news first: I haven’t started my history presentation yet, but that’s Wednesday, and I have a table full of sources, plus my own prior knowledge.

Now the good news: I am almost finished my theatre paper. Not the presentation, but the paper. The whole thing. As in, I returned most of my source materials to the library. Meaning they are no longer taking up space in my mind or my apartment. It’s been like chipping away at a big hunk of marble, but I actually sort of have a paper. In terms of length, I’ve got 3,986 words out of a minimum of 4,500, and I still have a few paragraphs left to write plus an introduction and a conclusion, so I’m not worried about that; it’s just getting my ideas out coherently and in an acceptable order is the taxing part, especially for a constant second-guessing editor like me. The end is in sight.

So here’s the deal. I am going to stay up until I finish this paper. 

I am so serious.

I am going to finish this paper, press save, close it, put all the books aside, read something for fun, check it in the morning for errors, and send it in. And I will not worry about the ten-minute presentation until ten minutes before class on Tuesday. Or something like that.

I’m not playing around this time; this ends tonight. How determined am I? I swear on Mean Girls.

In other news, I just found out that I got a small acting gig in the fall that pays, so, yay for me! Also, though my stats have been (unsurprisingly) flagging over the last few days, I still got hits from new countries Belize and Mauritius, so welcome to you!


How to Write A Paper for Grad School

Well, first of all, tervetuloa to my first visitor from snowy Finland (who was actually my friend Johanna), and bem-vindo to my first visitor from sunny Portugal (who happens to be a bookcrosser who has a blog here). Also, to my first hits from the state of New Hampshire and the province of Alberta. Welcome. You are special as well.

I have a paper due in the morning, so of course I’m going to write a blog about writing a paper instead of actually doing it.


How To Write A Paper for Grad School

Step 1: Picking A Topic

Don’t just pick a topic because it sounds easy, because that’s lame. Where’s the challenge in that? You don’t need to make any great discoveries, but you’ve gotta do the assignment – caring about it a little helps. If your topic gets shot down, either a) amend it and go forward anyway, b) find a new topic (warning: results rarely satisfying), or c) go to your professor and say, “So what do you want me to do?” But not that bluntly, maybe.

Step 2: Prewriting

Yeah, this doesn’t happen.

Step 3: Research

This is the most best part. If you’re me, you get to go and search online in a bunch of databases for articles that may or may not be beneficial, scour the card catalog for colorful books in all sections of the library and possibly libraries in other cities and states, and then curse the fact that it’s 2 AM and you have to wait until the morning for the library to open so you can hunt down your materials like so many artifacts in the Hidden Temple.

Step 4: Realization

This paper is due in like ten days. There’s no way you can realistically read all this stuff you have.

Step 5: Contemplate Your Choice to Go to Grad School


Step 6: Do Anything But Your Paper

Hang out with friends. Call your dad. Talk to your landlord. Do a crossword puzzle. Fold some laundry. Try out a new recipe. Drink. Take a walk. Go to the gym. Watch just one episode of Family Guy. Stare at the wall. The possibilities are endless!

Step 7: Realize That it’s Due Tomorrow

Freak out.

Step 8: Blank Stare

This should be directed towards your computer screen. If your stare lasts for more than four hours, see your doctor.

Step 9: Hot Tub Dip

No, not an actual dip in the hot tub (this should have been covered in step 6) but rather write with fire and passion. Emerge with six words.

Step 10: Just Write Something

Something. Words. Anything.

Step 11: Write Something On Topic

This will start with one word, then expand to five, and then la di da type type type for like an hour and, voila, you have approximately 2-3 more pages than the assignment required, so now you have to delete some of the more purple and verbose stuff. Usually, it’s that time of night where everything makes sense, so send it to your printer, go to sleep, and try to remember to bring it to class in the morning. YOU HAD ONE JOB, DUE DATE.

At least that’s how it always works for me.

Your results may vary.