today is a day for trepidation and celebration.

Well. Despite having to cut nigh-on 1000 words from it (including the entire idea of society’s fear of women’s sexual agency being linked to the sublime, alas I am still not over this), my Gothic essay has served me well and I have passed the module with flying colours. I’m a mite worried about my other module – Modernism – but the grade for that is in the pigeonholes at uni so I will have to fret about that until I can go get it tonight. How well I’ve done overall this year mostly hangs in the balance of a piece of work I only submitted recently and whether a) it’s as shit as my anxiety thinks it is, and b) whether anxiety with a doctor’s note is good enough for the mitigating circumstances board. I don’t think I have a hope with it, but other people do, so we will see. I would hate to have fucked up my academic career because I was too afraid to hand in a piece of work I considered sub-standard (but was of a higher calibre than others in the class…)

I am now prepping solidly for next year – I have a stack of books, have ordered an even bigger stack of books (you honestly don’t want to know my expenditure on German poetry and Enlightenment philosophy this month – nobody should be spending that percentage of their income on Kant and chums), and made myself a bullet journal tailored specifically to the needs of my dissertation. I have begun my reading with Terry Eagleton and a new history of Germany and am making notes of everything I find interesting in the hope that a question or theme will present itself to me.

To-do

  • Pray / sacrifice / chant to any and all gods for some level of leftish success in today’s GE (if Cthulu wants blood to take away Theresa May, he shall have it)
  • Pray / sacrifice / chant to any and all gods for DREAM JOB to interview me (they said they would announce shortlisted candidates this week)
  • Stay away from the television, news and all but the most superficial social media until tomorrow. It’s not worf it, mate.

Timetable. Go away.

Whereas my last essay I had plenty of time to go off-schedule and have it take me longer (and it took me about a week longer than I wanted), with this one I don’t have that luxury. The timetable I’m going to set out is achievable, but cutting it fine so I absolutely have to stick to it.

  • Tues-Fri 9th – 12th – get to 500 words. Read all critical sources (which is mostly done already). Re-read Great God Pan. Washing up. Practice German. Go to work. Get some sleep.
  • Sat 13th – get up at 8am. Go through The Shining for quotes (but just the folded-down pages). Get to 1250 words.
  • Sunday 14th – get up late. Be ready to go out and work from noon. Get to 2000 words. Cook, and marinate something for the next day.
  • Mon-Fri 15th – 19th – read over and primp what’s done. Finish any mostly-finished paragraphs. Get to 2500 words. Go to work. Tidy room. Practice German. Get some sleep.
  • Saturday 20th –  Get up at 8am. Work in coffee shops not library. Reach word count of 3000. Proof-read and make sure it all makes sense. Hand in 1st draft.
  • Sunday 21st – Check citations. Proof-read and primp. Ask a friend to proof-read.
  • Monday 22nd – Go to work at 8am. Final proof-read over break ready to hand in for noon. Do not panic.
  • Tuesday-Friday 23rd – 26th – Work. Social events in the evening. Y6 evening.
  • Saturday 27th – Half-term. Sleep for a week.

I will not be doing anything that isn’t on the plan until the things on the plan are done. One might argue that my washing-up, for instance, doesn’t need to be on the list (that person has definitely not seen the state of my house right now), but I want to be able to include living like an actual human in my crazy week.

For context, this blog post is almost 300 words and I wrote it in a 20-minute break. Although it is much easier to write than formal language structured to make a point, I will have lots and lots of 20 minuteses, and not one day requires more than 750 words. This is possible.

Wish me luck.

To-Do:

  • Sleep.
  • Touch up roots.
  • Stop reading reviews of Ivanka Trump’s book (it wastes time, and anyway this cannot be bested)

The stress, the successes and the hard, hard work: why this is My Week.

I jumped out of bed this morning. Literally jumped, because the alarm on my phone started playing Layla at full blast and I wanted to switch it off as soon as possible so that it didn’t wake my boyfriend’s housemates or mean that he couldn’t get back to sleep. And so it began – I got to work early, I tidied my Fantasy section (it was truly horrific), I was done by the time it came to read with children, I read my emails, I took the massive pile of book returns behind my desk and… and so on, until 4pm. And since it’s essay season, it won’t end there.

Essay season is the time of year when I do not have minutes to spare. Usually in this period I will sit during my work lunch break with my laptop on my knee, munching lame sandwiches whilst I transcribe quotes from hardback book to document. After work I will go straight to the library via some kind of fast food (thank you, Japanese Canteen Tottenham Court Road) and work until I can’t concentrate or can’t stay awake anymore. This week is even worse than usual for work-and-uni balance: not only is it a four-day week (although fuck me, I was glad of the extra day of weekend, and spent most of it in coffee shops working) with less time in which to accomplish things, I have two major dates in my calendar by which a certain amount of things need to be done. Both of which are Thursday. One of which I need somebody else to have done something for.

You know what’s amazing, though? I’m stressed as fuck but I’m not frazzled. I’m now engaged in a setting where I don’t have time for anything that’s not a priority and my job is getting through those priorities as efficiently as possible. I can do efficient, smiley robot really very well, I know I can do all of these tasks and I know I will enjoy hitting all of those deadlines – repeatedly – with a hockey stick, driving them into the ground by the pointy end.

Historically, it has not been because of the pressure, but the moment after the pressure eases that the problems have occurred. That is the moment that I take a breath and find myself having a panic attack at the brutal fact that my workload has not eased despite all the things I’ve accomplished, that the bar I set for myself is still so high that I’m doing metaphorical chest hangs to keep myself happy – essentially, when I find out that life goes on no matter how badly or how well you do. Maybe that’s a comforting thought to some people, but not to me.

This year, though, I have done something very sensible – I have taken holiday for the end of essay season. Not time off to work in. Nope. Not time to travel in, either. Time off to sleep and do something nice and not achieve anything. Then maybe I can come back into work and be satisfied with the lighter pressure of the never-ending, non-urgent tasks.

Say it with me – holiday. HOL-I-DAY. HOLIDAY IS COMING.

Nerina Pallot’s birthday, artist-ism and studies

For today’s post I’m going to link you to this lady I am a fan of, because I want to give credit where credit is due. Here:

here.

(I hope this link works. Please do tell me if it doesn’t.)

Because yes, Nerina, yes your wonkiness does speak to me. And this was just another piece of wonky, because (as chance would have it, because I became a fan when my family saw you support another musician and my dad bought all your albums) I am currently in my reading week at that same university, studying the same course (according to the all-seeing eye of Wikipedia, at least), currently trying to sweat blood into a poetry collection having just worked out what I’m doing(ish); simultaneously trying to write essays (actually mostly trying to write essays at the moment to be quite honest), AND trying to maintain ordinary relationships and work a normal job, because I do quite like this living-in-a-house, eating-food stuff.

Being so busy I don’t have enough time in the day to make a cuppa is killing me with mental numbness and tiredness and fog, but I haven’t been physically tired and mentally excited in a while. This morning when I walked to work, I felt good, I felt ready to go. I felt like I wanted my purpose back. Maybe it’s just that the sleeping pills are working. Maybe I realised that there’s only one of those things I can walk away from. You told me what I needed to hear this morning, and I’m grateful.

Happy birthday. I hope you get a filofax. Keep putting your secrets in the songs. x

(Here’s the same lady singing round the corner from my old house, the one I lived in when I decided to get real and live alone in a garret and read and write to my heart’s content. It did not last.)