Posted in studying, Writing

Studyblr Desk

I can’t ever keep my desk tidy. I have too many pieces of paper, notes, stickers, and notebooks… But I’d been out with mum and bought a few new candles, plus ones I’d bought before and never used. How good does my desk look when I’ve cleaned it and styled it perfectly?

New batteries in my twinkly lights

I’m so happy with how it looks, and the candles all smelled amazing; they even overpowered the smell of cigarettes from the neighbours!

Even the Pineapple of Inspiration was joining in!
Getting to take multiple pictures of candles because I can!

In other news, my desk looks nothing like that now. Back to messy, like me, like always.

e x

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Posted in Books

Currently Reading – January 2019

The Mandibles: A Family 2029 – 2047

This book was killing me.

From the way it opened, and continued so much of the narrative by describing events; telling us how the world changed, informing us how life now differed, and a smattering of dialogue to show the characters having serious, in-depth economics and survivalist discussions, it rang alarm-bells for me. I’m confused more than anything, I was reading this as a backdrop to my creative writing course and yet it seemed this book broke many of the cardinal rules: telling instead of showing; skipping chunks of action in a summary paragraph (which we’ve been led to believe is lazy writing).

There was a couple of massive time jumps, which as a reader I always find awkward, and for a writer it seems like they are avoiding writing a section they may not enjoy writing… I don’t know, it’s how I perceived it.

I checked out the reviews on goodreads and elsewhere, and thankfully, it’s not just me. Others felt bored by the constant, dense discussions on economics and the collapse of the American dollar. I’m not taking an exam for an econ class, I don’t need this much backstory. Even halfway through the book, not much seems to have happened, except that cauliflower has become too expensive, even when it’s possible to get fresh produce because the American governments have snatched all farmland from the remaining farmers to export the goods to rake in a little money.

The family members all resent each other, but they make stupid decisions which bring them to a stupid end: all end up in Florence’s home but she answers the door and they get house-jacked (is that a word?). They spend a night or two in the shanty town that’s taken over Prospect Park, and acquire a gun, then they decide to head north to the Uncle’s farm to help out… No spoilers but there’s suddenly a massive time jump.

Hit the 73% mark and as well as the jump, another weird twist… If anyone’s read it, let me know if I missed what happened or if it was a metaphor. Alas, there was a bit more actual story that was finally interesting, then another time jump, then a fairly flat ending.

It is interesting, maybe if you know what you’re heading into (an essay with dialogue) and it creates a strange feeling, will the apocalypse really be so dull? Even if the economy crashes (again) and to such an extent that electricity, water, and food are rationed, I’d still like to think that the basic nature of human beings would be to find some hope or light in the situation and survive humanely, not exist blandly until a paper-cut kills us.

e x

Posted in Education, Food, studying, University, Writing

Another Day in the Library

First things first, my last post was officially my 100th post! Woo hoo! I think I’m happy with it, or maybe I believed I’d posted more. Anyway, here’s to another hundred.

Monday was the recommencement of the Monday study sessions in town. My Italian class starts back next week, so I used this time to haul my laptop and notebooks with me to work on my Creative Writing assessment. It was a fairly early start (for me) and I was in the library for 12pm and a giant coffee to get things started. Unfortunately, for the first few hours we had to make do with a drafty round table, but later we got using a booth (not the usual one, but good enough). I’m a bit like Rory needing her study tree, I’m a creature of habit!

The second-best booth

I’m terrible for procrastinating, even when something is right in front of me to be done. I also put it down to being more of an evening, nighttime worker but needs must and since being ill my sleeping pattern has improved somewhat. But I had my checklists and tried not to overdo the pressure with the tasks I wanted to complete yesterday. In the end wrote 1700 words for my assessment which is sufficient as the bones of a first draft, it’s not due until the end of January but I can’t leave it because who knows what is around the corner.

Checklists, planners and laptop

The great thing about this library is that it is much warmer than the one in Aberdeen. Granted I felt chilly at points throughout the day, but most of that was to do with the draft from the door way and my brain wanting to curl up and go back to bed.

My plan now is to rework the draft into something I can share to the forums for feedback (I missed the workshop deadline – didn’t have anything to submit), then I have to start worrying about the commentary. It’s a horrible exercise of only 500 words which I apparently still don’t have the hang of. I ought to message my tutor for help, but what can she tell me that hasn’t already been shared in our groups online?

I need to remember more study snacks for the next library session, I had some food, but there’s nothing dairy-free or vegan as options at the coffee shop or canteen as a snack and the vending machines were empty too. You might recognise me on the next trip though, I’ll be the bag-lady laden down with laptop and books and a tote-bag full of food.

e x

Posted in life, Writing

Resolutions 2019

I didn’t get to post this before the new year started, but what the hell, better late than never.

My first resolution is to read more! There are so many times in the last year where I got too in-my-own-head about the future and things I can’t control which would have been alleviated at least, if I’d picked up a damn book and read something. So, for my goodreads challenge, I’ve set a target of 50 books for this year. I’ve already read 2 books.

My second resolution is to write more! For almost exactly the same reasons that I want to read more for, writing is my passion, writing gets me and I love doing it… except when I don’t because I’m stuck in my head worrying and wondering about what the point is of anything. Bad place to be in… just fucking write! (I’m writing this while struggling and procrastinating my assessment chapter). I have to write more as well to give myself the most practice, for all my assessments and that I’ll have my big 15,000 word dissertation to do over the summer. Plus the whole point is to be a writer, to publish (maybe this year) but I have to get on with it.

My third resolution is to work more on languages, Italian mostly since I’m taking the course from scratch and I want to make the absolute most of it. But I also want to fit in all my other languages, which sounds like a lot, but as mentioned above, all that wasted time worrying and rewatching the same tv shows over and over again is time when I could be improving the things I know I love.

My fourth resolution is to be more me. To do the things I love without feeling like I need to justify them or myself for doing them… or why I don’t do other things. I’m a batman-loving nerd and language geek, and I’m not sorry!

Anyone have any resolutions this year?

e x

Posted in Education, life, University

First Study Day of 2019

Yesterday was the first day I finally felt better, and to crack on with my every growing pile of work. So, naturally a study-date was called for. Unfortunately, the uni is still in Christmas holiday mode, I arrived on campus and found the library open but no coffee outlets, no food, and empty vending machines. Like the apocalypse.

I met my study buddy at her flat and after going foraging for food at Sainsbury’s we came back, ate and attempted to work. Yes, it took a while to get back into the swing of things, but as I had tried to be kinder to myself with my to-do list I did all right.

My next assessment is at the end of January, I do essentially know what I’m doing now, it’s just doing it that’s the problem and the most time-consuming part. As I remembered from the last assessment, the bibliography is the most awkward bit, because of formatting and remembering everything I read and skimmed over the last few months. I’m glad I started it and have at least the bones and formatting down, just minor information points and a few other sources to reference, otherwise it’s taking care of itself. Still hate writing the commentary though, it’s only 500 words and I’m wordy dammit!

I missed the deadline for the workshop for the second block, unfortunately they’ve been appearing earlier this year and I had nothing to submit, not even a semi-formed idea… in part due to the beating I took from the last assessment. I’ve tried not to take the criticism too personally, perhaps the genre of my work isn’t to my tutor’s liking or… I don’t know. Alas, I’m attempting this assignment from a different angle; I made a list of all the technical points we covered in this block and constructed a chapter where I was actively trying to include many of these points in it. I understand that the assessments are to see how we’re managing with the new topics learnt and if we are able to weave them into our own work… Which is fine, but I think others in my class are as frustrated at not being able to crack on with longer pieces to see how we are developing as writers and not trying to hit bullet points in a marking scheme.

Just my thoughts. Next study date is tomorrow, but I’ve a ton to get on with later tonight. Italian class starts back next week! I’m planning to start a new series of blog posts related to Italian grammar, at the very least to keep it fresh in my head!

e x

Drinking: Black Coffee

Listening to: You look so fine – Garbage

Posted in Health, life

Happy New Year! 2019!

Best wishes to all for the new year, I hope it started well and the resolutions haven’t been scrapped already!

I had such plans for starting 2019, being super organised, eating well, sleeping well, and getting a ton of work completed early. But I got ill on Boxing Day… and I’ve been out of it since then.

It began with a sore throat I assumed was related to the bottle of prosecco on Christmas day, but I’d ate loads of dinner so I shouldn’t have felt badly. Then I became worse as the time went on, achy, headaches, fever, shivers, and the dreaded sinus attack. I’ve also spent the last six days not being able to smell or taste anything, which makes eating chore-like and definitely not fun. I even resorted to eating Jalapeños out of the jar, but unable to smell nor taste them.

I seem to finally be a bit better today insofar as I can sort of taste again, but my energy levels have plummeted, I tried to organise some books and paperwork, then had to lie down for a half an hour feeling woozy.

I don’t do ill well. If something afflicts me from the neck down, I’m okay because I can still use my head and get on with other work or study; but getting a cold or a sinus infection ruins everything… All I’ve been able to do is read and nap a lot.

Just wanted to check in with you all, I hope everyone else is staying healthy, we’ve got some year ahead of us!

e x