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

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Posted in Writing

Nanowrimo 2018

I swear I’m really going to try and complete it this year! It’s been four years since I last won Nano, and that was because I was in exile in Spain at the time.

I’ve already got a good head-start and I’m working on a book that I wrote a long time ago for Nano but now that I’m doing my MA in CW and I know how to write better, I’m fixing and chopping up the chapters as I go… so it is a wholly new written piece.

I’m also tired right now, excuse me.

Plus, I’m in the last three weeks of my 20s!

More to come…

e x

Posted in Blogging Challenge, Musings, Writing

30 Blogging Challenge – Day #2

Day 2 – 20 facts about you

  1. I’m proudly Scottish and European. I love my country and showing it off to visitors.
  2. I’m a language addict. English is my native language, Italian is my best second language. I can cope in Spanish (reading’s fine, and mostly listening – it’s the speaking I have trouble with) and I can get by in French. I’m constantly trying to self-teach Dutch and Greek. I’ve also studied Latin and Swedish.
  3. I’m afraid of death, electricity, and bananas.
  4. Zombies. Can’t wait.
  5. I’m a Bruce Campbell uber-fan. Hercules, Xena, Evil Dead, Burn Notice… don’t get me started!
  6. I love Batman, but I’m a Nolan purist. Nothing can beat Christian Bale as the Dark Knight. I have no time for Fatfleck.
  7. Sharks, bumblebees, dogs (especially Pitties) are my favourite animals (fight me!) And llamas/alpacas… pigs and goats. Love them all. Except cats, jellyfish, starfish, most marine species.
  8. Apparently I don’t look my age. My age causes shock.
  9. I’m left-handed.
  10. My hair is naturally “dirty-fair” so is neither blonde nor brown enough to look nice and is a weird flat grey colour. I’ve been dying my hair since I was 13.
  11. I haven’t learned to drive… yet.
  12. I waste hours looking at Studyblrs and studyspo on tumblr… when I have my own studying to be doing.
  13. I have an MA in Hispanic Studies, a post-graduate Certificate in Humanities, I’m in my second year of an MA in Creative Writing, and I’m starting a C.Ed in Italian.
  14. I’m a writer – but a lazy one. Trying to hold myself to my own deadlines gets more fruitless as the years go on. So I’m studying CW to have something else hold me accountable.
  15. Pretty much everything I know about American Culture comes from TV and books: Sesame Street, Gilmore Girls, the West Wing… And the OC and Sweet Valley. I cried when I went to high school and we didn’t have lockers.
  16. We went camping a lot when I was a kid. I used to have an obsession with the outdoor water taps. Still do.
  17. I’ve met famous people. Austin St. John who played Jason in the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. I was taken onstage with the Singing Kettle and performed in the opening song for the show. I won backstage passes to meet Linkin Park. I shook hands with Willie Nelson and his sister after their show. I briefly met Sandi Thom when she was punting her album in Borders, Jodi Picoult when she was punting her book in Borders, Dave Gorman but he was punting his book in Waterstones and there was a heckler. I met Story of The Year after their show. Kitty and Steve from Mindless Self Indulgence. Bullet for my Valentine. Nice Peter from Epic Rap Battles of History. Maggie Stiefvater when she did a talk in the Mitchell then stayed to sign everyone’s books! Oh, and Jared Leto and the guys from 30 Seconds to Mars… not a great story.
  18. I love to Crochet, it helps to relax me.
  19. I’m a Classical History nerd. I wrote my dissertation on the Roman Conquest of Hispania. I’m dying to visit Carthage in Tunisia and Cartagena in Spain!
  20. My diet is Veganish. I haven’t eaten dairy for a while now and every few months my body decides to reject another food type so I’m on a stripped back diet. I identify as Veganish because sometimes it’s too hard to explain what no-dairy means to people who aren’t sure what dairy even is. Thus, the vegan option is the safe option. I still eat beef and turkey and some fish but not constantly as I love quick easy meals without worrying about meat going off.

You survived it! Gold star for you!

e x

Posted in Writing

A Zombie Tale

A freewriting exercise to try get my creative juices flowing again. I’ve been terribly blocked lately. This could become more, or not. Enjoy.

There is no time to think. Only react. I jump as the zombie face screams bloodily into the screen. I am the character, I am the screen. I shudder with a cathartic sigh, rippling the bathwater as I reach for another sip of my wine. I am safe. It’s Friday night and I’m lying in my bathtub safe at home, sipping wine and watching whatever zombie flick prime recommended to me on my laptop – a safe distance from the water but at the perfect forty-five-degree angle so I can half submerge my head in water and never lose sight of the gore.

This is the life.

The program ends, and I let the auto-play do its thing. I use these few seconds to contemplate my life, but never long enough to act on anything. This is my happy existence.

I hear a crash outside. I startle but only because I’m on edge already. I have a love-hate thing with zombies. My heart pounds in my chest. I stand up in the bath and wrap my towel around me. A shiver runs up my spine. There’s a weird part of me that loves the electric feeling only fear can give you.

I step out of the bath and hear glass shattering. Or, maybe it was just the water. A little alarm bell starts to ring in the back of my head. I swallow the sudden taste of metal in my mouth and pull the plug out. I can’t move. I stand still, willing another sound to happen, so I can react but hoping to hear nothing… but what if…?

The door rattles in its hinges as something forces its weight against it.

My scream is silent, I bite my hand instead.

The door rattles again, but there is no other sound. Am I being paranoid? Is my flatmate home early, drunk and needing to pee?

‘Hannah?’ I call out.

Silence. And then groaning – wailing. A desperate cry for something.

My hands are shaking. I’m freezing. I have no clothes to wear. I have no way to see what is on the other side of the door. Maybe she’s playing the mother of all tricks on me? My mouth is dry, and I have nothing else to do but stand here. Waiting.

The door rattles again and a fist comes through the door – searching, grabbing. It’s a real arm, with skin, covered in blood, not makeup. The arm pulls back through the door peeling back most of the skin, leaving it in the arm-shaped hole in the door.

There is no time to think. Only react. I jump as the zombie face screams bloodily into my face.

(c) 2018 Evallone

Posted in Education, Fitness, Memories, Musings, University, Writing

Back to the drawing board

My course started on Saturday and I’ve managed to spend at least a couple of hours each day since to contribute to the forums and work on assignments. I’ve received really good feedback from a couple of other students on my first submission. I’m not good with criticism whether good or bad, and I struggle with accepting constructive criticism which I put down to too many essays being returned with ‘try harder’, ‘more detail’, ‘less flowery language – get to the point’, ‘don’t be so forceful’ – feedback in general can be contradictory as everyone will have different opinions.

This first year is broken down into four blocks and two specialisations, which for me are: Fiction and Script-writing. I’ll be working on Fiction in blocks 1 and 3, Script-writing in block 2, and block 4 is independent study. There are assessments at the end of each block and a final end of module assessment in June. I’m not too worried about the assessments yet, I had a read of the requirements and so long as I follow the course work and readings, I should manage to do quite well overall.

One of the stories I’ve been using for coursework is from what I want to be a novel series but it actually started aeons ago when I was around 6 or 7 as a make-believe scenario which touted many filled afternoons and a special birthday performance of a play of the story which I’d worked on for days. I was industrious to say the least. Now it’s a grown up story, but I’m still lacking a decent title. I know what I want the individual books to be titled but I don’t know what to name the series! I read an entire chapter on the purpose and point of decent titles, but nothing quite helped with this conundrum. I’ll get there in the end I suppose… consistency is the best cure for being stuck!

Managed to get back to the gym yesterday after several weekends of being too busy. Not lost too much in terms of endurance and I managed to get onto the lat pulldown machine… merely a couple of kgs off my personal bests! Going back tomorrow to smash them. Down several pounds in weight as well which is nice, but I’m trying to focus on listening to my body, if I really feel hungry or I’m just bored. I don’t want to go back to counting calories as I become far too obsessive with it, portion control and paying more attention to my eating habits and cravings will get me through for now.

I’m not a runner, it’s never been my thing, and I’ve actually caused myself more damage in the past when I’ve tried to run. Remember Phoebe trying to run in the park with Rachel? And Rachel was humiliated? Yep, mum just let me know today that that one time in school when I was picked to do the relay, I ran just like Phoebe did, maybe even worse! Thanks mum. I was never the sporty type. I had/have little to no upper body strength. I’d try to go on the monkey bars, grab on and swing forward – and keep swinging as my arms betrayed me and I kept swinging forward until gravity smacked me into the playground foam. I still can’t swim: I don’t float. Even when I was several stone lighter, it just never happened for me. My swimming proficiency at the end of Primary School, I got the shortest pity badge of 15 meters, but honestly that was me bobbing and trying to remember how to doggy-paddle like on Topsy and Tim. Then someone splashed water into my face and I choked and threw up by the side of the pool… thus my attempt was over.

So yeah, I was never going to be Sporty Spice, but that’s really why I prefer individual exercises that involve a steady machine or weights that I’m comfortable using without dislocating something. Don’t even get me started on gymnastics… the day I realised I had no balance or poise killed me. I’d never get to be the Pink Power Ranger. But when asked to do jumping splits over another person, I could take at least four others down with me!

Leave me to walk, row, and lift heavy stuff. I’m good.

e x