To graduate as intended in June, I was required to finish my thesis by the end of April. February, March, April - I counted off the remaining months on my fingers. I wondered if I could really pull it off. Most other students had started some time ago, busily gathering materials and preparing notes, while I had done almost nothing. All I had to my credit was my resolve to start in earnest in the new year. I acted on my resolve and rushed in, only to reach an immediate standstill. I'd been painting grand plans in my mind, framing a structure around my topic, and now I sat with head in hands, anxiety taking root. I narrowed the focus of my thesis. To save the exertion of refining and consolidating ideas, I decided to simply survey the literature and add to it an appropriate conclusion.
My chosen topic was closely connected to Sensei's area of expertise. Earlier, in making my choice, I'd solicited his opinion and received a favorable response. Still in a state of distress, I set out for Sensei's for guidance on essential references. Sensei was glad to share what he knew, and he even offered to lend me several books. However, he made it clear that he could not serve as an advisor.
"I don't read much these days, so I don't know what's new. It's best you consult with one of your professors."
I remembered learning from Sensei's wife that he'd once been an avid reader, but recently, for whatever reason, he'd lost interest. Forgetting my thesis for the moment, I inquired on this matter.