Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Confederados, Exodusters and Adderall.

After an early and brief hiatus, my blog is (probably) back (for good/for a while). I had a 20-25 page paper due on Tuesday for my American Studies senior seminar about Atlantic World.

Vocabulary: the Atlantic World is a period of history lasting from 1492 (when Columbus sailed the ocean blue) until 1888 (the end of the slave trade). The Atlantic World is made up of North and South America, Europe and Africa. Confederados were the approximately 2,000 white Southerners who moved to Brazil in the years (1865-1867) after their defeat in the Civil War. Exodusters were the approximately 20,000 freed slaves who moved to Kansas towards the end of Reconstruction (1877-1879). My paper focused on these two groups emigration out of the Reconstruction South and their reasons for leaving. I could go on.

James McFadden Gaston, whose 397 page book,
Hunting a Home in Brazil
was my primary source for the Confederados
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton,
whose extensive scrapbook of
pro-emigration materials was my
Exoduster primary source base.

Adderall is weird. I took it for the first time to finish the last fifteen pages of the paper. When I told people at Beloit that it was my first time taking study drugs, they actually laughed in my face. I’ve never needed or wanted to take adderall, but I had also never had to write a 20-page paper before, so I swallowed the pill and got to work. I’m a generally neurotic person and wary of uppers. My brain moves at a thousand miles per hour and the idea that it would move any faster was terrifying to me.  At the best of times, being on Adderall felt like I had finally learned how to use my powers the right way, a la one’s first year at Hogwarts or X-Men: First Class.

By the time I was ready to print, my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t use the electric stapler, and that did not feel good. Lying wide-awake in bed, legs twitching every so often, for three hours after turning in the paper did not feel good either. But on Tuesday, at noon, I walked down the stairs into the Morse-Ingersoll basement, one minute late to class, with a 19-page paper (sloppily stapled) and a power point that I had put together in the previous hour. But, I finished.  

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