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“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” O. Wilde

16 Nov

I’m afraid I can’t even start this post apologising for being late as I usually do, as I’ve no idea when I last wrote, and even if I did, I’m not too sure what day it is, so my general self-loathing at my lack of organisational skills will need to suffice you today.

Anyway, (I reread my last post this morning and realised I say ‘anyway’ and ‘so’ way too much, so I’ll try and cut it down(as you will see, I have NOT done this…)) I’ve had a hectic week (?and a bit?) Firstly, yay!! my essays are finished!!! I’m so glad to be rid of them!

They were a complete disaster from start to finish. I spent the majority of the last two/three weeks on the edge of a mental breakdown, trying to simultaneously read secondary sources, write a ‘comprehensive’ analysis and convince myself that Descartes is right and that I’d wake up in the morning and realise it was all just a bad dream.

I think, though, that by doing such a horrendous job on these essays, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do next time, which might help. Firstly, do not put it off, at all, start it immediately. Secondly, don’t plan a time schedule, you’ll never stick to it. Thirdly, if you do give in to your tendency to ‘plan the life out of everything’, make sure you give at least four days of overlap incase you screw it all up again and have to spend way too much time on one essay, leaving yourself with the daunting prospect of having only two days to do another one. Fourthly, read lots of secondary sources; they know what they’re saying, you do not. Fifthly, doubly, triple, quadruple check the deadlines: they are out to deceive you!! Sixthly, and most importantly, if you’re writing an essay on a novel, or perhaps an annoying French guy with a big nose’s meditations, read the bloody book. Under No Circumstances attempt to write an essay when you have not read the book or half of the novel. Especially if said novel doesn’t have a decent wiki page!

Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, they’re gone and I’m going to pretend they didn’t happen. Until I get the results and spend days crying myself to sleep…

So, how did I celebrate not being burdened with essays I hear you ask? I slept. ALL WEEKEND! In fact, I only left, my room to get food and use the toilet. And do you know what, even seeing all the status of amazing nights out exam free etc, I don’t regret a thing!

My classes have all been good this last week (ish?) but I’ve been too stressed out and/or exhausted to appreciate them. We’ve been studying poems in English Lit and I’ve surprised not only myself but anyone who has had the misfortune of ever having discussed it with me, by finding a new love for all things poetry.

I’ve always found it very difficult to understand poetry. I haven’t really studied it in detail that much so I don’t really know the different structures, metres etc. Also, I’ve always found poetry really hard to follow. I can’t really ‘get into’ a poem unless it’s something I’m studying and I’ve been told what it means and what it says etc (at least, my teacher’s representation of it). The only poems, actually, that I’ve ever really manage to read, understand and enjoy is Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee. The first of these is a bit surprising really, for two reasons, firstly, it’s bloody long, much longer than any other poem I had read, and secondly because, at that point I absolutely hated Wilde. It feels like I’m sinning or something to say that now, but at the time my only experience of Wilde was An Ideal Husband which, in comparison to his other works, is quite boring. Now, Wilde is one of my favourite play-writes and A Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite novels.

Now, though I seem to be understanding poetry a lot better. I can easily sit down an read through a poem and not only understand what it means, but be able to appreciate some of the finer details I would never have picked up on before. I still have difficulty with the metre, though, because for some reason I just can’t seem to hear the stresses of the syllables! It’s almost in monotone when I hear poetry, I can’t hear the difference. I’ll keep working on it though, and my flatmates will just need to put up with me repeating the same line over and over out loud with several different inflections at two o’clock in the morning.

So, we’ve moved onto Christianity in Theology now, which is something I’ve really been looking forward to. Despite being raised Christian and being brought up with my morality stemming from that, I’ve actually been very shocked to realise how little I know about what I had claimed to be my religion for so long. I don’t know if I could say it’s quite lived up to my expectations but then, I wasn’t too sure I knew what I wanted it to be.

The lecturer is really good, although out of all three lecturers we’ve had so far, one teaching Islam and one Judaism, she seems to have her work cut out for her most. For the other two, they were lecturing to a class of people very few of whom were actually followers of the faiths they were teaching. However a large proportion of the class is Christian and I can almost feel the tension amongst them at times, as if they’re always waiting for a blow against their religion, or they feel that they must be paying careful attention in order to be able to correct/defend their principles. I can understand this, especially as a large amount of the class live locally and sectarianism is still at play even amongst this generation.

The lecturer, however, is really good at describing and explaining Christianity, while still being respectful but also scrutinising and stating disagreements without causing offence. It’s mostly when someone else in the class speaks up and says something which could be deemed offensive, even though it has never been meant as such, that anyone really begins to stiffen and take sharper notice.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled for too long now, so I’ll sign off now. There’s still quite a lot I wanted to whinge about, but I’ll save it for next week! (Sooner actually!I feel guilty about how rubbish this post is, so I’m going to start a new one and get it up by the end of the week!) Bye!

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A statue, not a meditating dwarf

21 Oct

I’m afraid to say that the threat I made last week about spending the entirety of this post whinging may end up being carried out. I’ve spent the entire morning, while walking about the city centre, trying to find positive things to write about. I’ve watched the interactions between parents and their children, I’ve eavesdropped on conversations, I’ve even spent the last hour in Central Station, watching to see if there would be a happy reunion or some such drivel. While I’m not saying that I haven’t witnessed some beautiful, and moving, moments today, I can say that each and every one of them has been proceeded with some dire, depressing occasion, seemingly to occur precisely in order to balance out the happiness of the moment before. The beautiful moment of happiness when the children spot their dad coming out of the office from work is cut short by their mother’s screeching over missing money. The mother finding her young, teenage daughter in the crowded platform, runs joyously up to her, only to be confronted by a bulging belly and a Mothercare bag.

So, my attempts at finding something happy to tell you about has completely backfired and has just depressed me more than I was when I started. You’re just going to have to put up with a rant today.

As I’m sure you can figure out, after my last ditch attempt at finding inspiration for my post, I’ve had a pretty crap week. I’m still loaded with the cold, overdosing on Lemsips and eating far too many Soothers. In fact, it’s been so bad that I’ve had to skip my lectures on Friday. Those of you who know me will know that I do not miss classes. Ever.

I didn’t used to mind skipping classes. I had a lot of health problems and regularly had to take time off from school. Now though, I would never take time off if I could possibly avoid it. I suppose it’s actually because of having been absent so much before that I never miss a class. I used to get told off by a couple of my teachers quite a lot, who were less understanding about my health problems, and used to get called a skiver by my classmates. It completely changed last year though, to the extent that, rather than moaning at me about not being at school, my teachers repeatedly ‘had words’ about me being at school!

The fact that I missed a whole day of lectures speaks volumes about how rotten this cold is. I’m still determined it is a cold. I do not get flu’s!!

Anyway, other than coughing up half my lungs I’ve not had a very interesting week. I’m still struggling with my essays but I’ve now got a whole week to spend trying to get them sorted out. I’ve decided to go home for reading week, it’s my best friends birthday party tomorrow, and my birthday on Tuesday so I’ve managed to convince my self it’s a good idea to drag more than 20 course books all the way down to Eastriggs. I’m absolutely dreading the return journey!

Oh, something interesting did happen! I almost forgot! Well, I found it interesting, anyway. On my way back from the centre shopping on Monday, (only 65 days until the ‘C’ word, oh dear God) I fell over getting off the Subway. That in itself isn’t interesting, just an every day occurrence, however, I had actually tripped over something on the floor which ended up completely weirding me out. (My amazing English skills…) It was a little Buddha on a keyring. (A statue obviously, not a meditating dwarf). This was so strange that day because, for the last year I’ve been seriously reconsidering my religion, and trying to decide if I did, in fact, have one.

I started to do this after Fifth year, having had a very bad time of things for quite a while, I began to really doubt my faith. Up until that point I would have classed myself as a Christian. (Protestant to be precise, and I have to be precise, my family’s from the West of Scotland, enough said.) I had never, up until that point, considered that I could believe anything else, or disbelieve what I thought I did. However, when I started to feel that perhaps things weren’t as clear cut as they seemed to be, I decided to look into religion more, and ended up taking RMPS at higher.

I learned a lot during this class, about my own religion as well as about Buddhism, which, right from the very beginning intrigued me. It was only when I decided to read the bible over the summer that I decided that I could not call myself a Christian as I didn’t really believe in God.

I had been talking to my mum, only the night before I found the keyring, about my increasing interest in Buddhism and had mentioned that I was considering going to the Buddhist temple. She suggested I wait and see how I feel about it when I was a bit more settled.

Now, I’m not really big on ‘signs’ or ‘fate’, it’s all mumbo-jumbo to me, however, my mum seems to think me finding the Buddha keyring was a sign, not mere coincidence, and I’m a little inclined to agree with her. It’s just a bit spooky!

Sorry, I’ve went off track, into the rocky grounds of religion. Well, I don’t think I have too much else to tell you about. I had a very flattering request by an English teacher in Falkirk, who asked if she could show one of my stories to her higher class. She’s also offered to let me bounce some ideas for creative writing off her, and has actually given me a few good ones already, so hopefully they’ll be up here soon. (I know I kind of already promised this last week but I just can’t seem to get over this writers’ block!)

Anyway, I’m going to go finish reading Another Country for English Lit, given it was meant to be read for three weeks ago I figured I’d best get a move on with it! Bye!

*** Oh MY God! I’m tacking this little paragraph on at the last minute because another really weird thing has happened! On my way back from getting my book out of my suitcase, I sat down and jumped right back up, screeching in pain after sitting on a Buddha!!! (Again, a statue…)A little silver statue was sitting in my seat!!!!! I asked everyone around me if it was their’s, or if they’d seen who put it there, but it didn’t belong to them, and nobody had passed!! How weird!! Maybe I should go to the temple soon after all… ***