Dickens, to his co-editor W. H. Wills, on one issue of his magazine All The Year Round:
In the first place the No. is an awfully and solemnly heavy one, and if you have any kind of means to that end by you, must really be lightened. I read it last night, and had a nightmare. I doubt if anything so heavy (except stewed lead) could possibly be taken before going to bed.
Wading through stewed lead of my own, in the form of a thesis chapter last touched eighteen months ago, is why I'm still at the computer in the early hours of the morning again and why there are 204 unread blog items in my Google reader. On one hand, I'm sort of impressed by how much better my work has got over the past eighteen months, judging by the clear evidence of the paper sitting in front of me now; on the other hand, it's the academic version of reading all the poetry you wrote when you were sixteen and Knew The Pain Of Life, except here I Knew The Pain of footnotes, which I think is why all of them are half-finished and say things like '[ooh, might this deserve a chapter of its own?]', and that is not what I want to read right now. And my writing gets so dense and boring when I'm not having fun with it that I'm tempted to lighten things up by turning all the footnotes into knock-knock jokes. Which maybe deserve a chapter of their own as well.