Saturday, 16 May 2015

MINITHON: At Which I Have Kind Of Already Failed

Hello! Hello! Wonderful ladies and... ok, let's face it, we have no gentlemen. But lookit- is everyone ready to READ?! I am not. I suck, I am terrible, I never have plans AND YET on the days of minithons, many things always seem to come up. Today it is my very heavily pregnant friend's birthday, and so my presence is required at a BBQ where, if anyone makes any comments about the vegetarian at the BBQ, I am LEAVING haughtily and coming home to read (nice plan, huh?)

Anyway! So yes, that is where I shall be for the next few hours. However! Small children will be at this event, and my belief is that small children go to bed early, and ALSO I have washing out on the line that really needs to be brought in before dark. Ipso facto (is that even a thing? Am I even using it right?) there will be a bit of reading when I get home, although its sobriety is questionable (there will be wine. Even though my friend is all pregnant. I'm a pretty terrible human.)

THINGS I SHALL BE READING IF I EVER GET THE CHANCE TO READ: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, cause I finally stopped waiting for my paper copy to come back to me and just bought the kindle version already (mini because: children's book!) and if I get bored of/finish that (both of which are unlikely) I have Song of Susannah which is a Dark Tower book (mini because: it's the second smallest book in that series of giant books. And it still has over 200 pages. Mannnn.)

I have no mini-snacks because I am the worst, but I am mini-participating which I think is fully in the spirit of the event. If I get the chance I will tweet some words at you guys, but if not, have fun reading, I'll be back somewhere towards the late-middle/early-end.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Walt Whitman's Disturbing Sex Poetry

When I was writing the essays that would never just be DONE already last week, I spent a lot of time Facebook messaging my lovely friend Christine from my course, sharing woes and Harry Potterness and all that good stuff (seriously, she's like meeting a person from the internet in real life, THAT'S HOW GOOD). One of our many discussions started with my complete fatigue with Sylvia Plath (I can't talk anymore about how you shouldn't use biography as a method of criticism in poetry, you guys, I just CAN'T) and how I kind of hate poetry, but then I remembered I liked much of the sexy poetry in this Book Riot post.

And then Christine told me that Walt Whitman wrote sexy (the various meanings of which we will discuss in a minute...) and I was super interested because I read some Whitman as an undergrad (19th Century American Lit ftw) and if I'm going to say I like a poet, he's probably up there, and also because this:
I can't.
So, I dug out my old copy of Leaves of Grass and read some Whitman sex poetry, and Oh. My. God. You guys. It's so incredibly unsexy that I could hardly bear to read it, but I also couldn't look away from it. It was like an incredibly unerotic car crash that was trying to be erotic and I don't really know where I'm going with this sentence.

But anyway. Please observe:

I am stern, acrid, large, undissuadable, but I love you,
I do not hurt any more than is necessary for you,
I pour the stuff to start sons and daughters fit for these states, I press with slow rude muscle
I brace myself effectually, I listen to no entreaties,
I dare not withdraw till I deposit what has so long accumulated within me

I DARE NOT WITHDRAW TILL I DEPOSIT WHAT HAS SO LONG ACCUMULATED WITHIN ME?! That sentence has to be among the top 10 sentences that you don't want to hear anyone say, ever. Probably the number one response to that would be 'actually, you're withdrawing RIGHT NOW, you freak' because, ew. 

It got better though. This is an entire poem about hymens.

O Hymen! O hymenee! Why do you tantalise me thus?
O why sting me for a swift moment only? 
Why can you not continue? O why do you now cease?
Is it because if you continued beyond the swift moment you would soon certainly kill me?
I texted Frances throughout this entire revelatory episode (because, obviously), and her only response to this poem was 'WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?' I mean, answers in the comments, obviously you guys, but seriously... Has anyone ever been killed by a hymen? Is there something they're not telling us about their murderousness. And sure, I know, it's a metaphor. But WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

And that's not all. In my important Whitman investigations (I read his disgusting sex poems so you don't have to!), I encountered the following words, phrases and lines that made me shudder:

"phallic thumb of love"

"the full-grown lady-flower"

"love-flesh tremulous aching" (love-flesh may be the worst thing I've ever read)

"Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delicious juice" (NO)

"This poem, drooping shy and unseen that I always carry, that all men carry." (A MILLION TRILLION NOES)

There is a point to this, apart from sharing with you some truly horrifying lines of poetry (I think basically the section 'Children of Adam' in Leaves of Grass is all the sex stuff, if you want to cringe some more) and that point is this. There's a difference between sexy, and just sex. Whitman's poems are about sex, but that doesn't make them... Pleasing in any way. It's similar to the difference between watching actual hardcore porn (sex) and having sex generously implied but not necessarily seen (sexy). Now, far be it from me to tell you what you find sexy, and if you find that porn and these poems (God help you) really ring your bell, so to speak, then you go with that and godspeed. But, I think I need a little more sexy implications, and a little less 'quivering jelly of love' and 'love flesh' from my poetry, and I don't think that's a bad thing.

Now, 
Shakespeare? He can write some good sexy poetry. The sonnets aren't really amazing for it, but there's this bit in Romeo and Juliet where Juliet is waiting for night so Romeo can come and bone her, and just...

Come, gentle night, come, loving black-browed night.
Give me my Romeo, and when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night.

I mean, right? I'm not alone in this, right? Shakespeare is totally hot, let's just deal with that fact together. And then, also, this:
 Unspeakably. Amazingly. Erotic.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Bout of Books 13!


GUYSSSSSSSSSSSS! I am here, I am doing a thing, I am not, in spite of all contemporary belief, dead. Last night at about 2am, I submitted my last (of 4) essay for my MA, meaning that I am 2/3 done, meaning that now, all that's left is a pesky dissertation (no worries, easy stuff, right?) As an attempt to take back my life, and because this thing starts today, and because I haven't read nearly enough non-Shakespeare fiction for the last 8 months now, I'm going to do Bout of Books! Yeah! I have done this once before, I think, and the point is just to read more than you probably would in a normal week and, if you're me, to make your life good again!

So. This week I have to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, so today and Thursday are allllll mine, to read with how I wish, and I think I'm also going to try and write a few blog posts (steady now, me) so I can finally catch up with the few books I have read this year. I'll probably just update this post instead of spamming you with new ones every day, so if you give a crap AT ALL of how many pages I've read each day then come back here, if not (much more likely) then, you know, don't. It's all good, either way.

And so, without further ado: I read.
(Ok, technically I'm actually going to go for a run, and then watch Attack on Titan, shower, go and submit the paper copies of my essays... But in theory there'll be some reading. I'd imagine. Also, hey, shut up!)

Monday

Pages Read:  0
Books Finished: 0
Books Read From: 0
Total Books Finished: HAH
Cumulative Pages Read: PAH
Notable foodstuffs: Winey wine wine
Blog Posts Written: Does this one count?
Non-Reading Activities: Handing in essays and talking for HOURS with my uni friend and being very sleepy all evening.
Reading Activities: Um... I watched an episode of Attack on Titan, and that has subtitles. That counts, right?

So, I 100% failed at Bout of Books today, but I handed in my essays on time and WON AT LIFE, so I'm ok with this. I would have read at least something but I forgot to take a book with me (I KNOW) on the train to uni, and I felt the need to tidy instead of read this evening, so I just went with my feels. Tomorrow, I'm at work so there's at least a couple of train journeys on which to read. Stay tuned for how well THAT goes, but I'm optimistic!

Tuesday

Pages Read:  99
Books Finished: 1 (yaaaaaaas!)
Books Read From: After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Total Books Finished: 1 
Cumulative Pages Read: 99 
Notable foodstuffs: Millions of chocolate raisins. Too many.
Blog Posts Written: 1 (even more yaaaaaaas!)
Non-Reading Activities: Workety work work bleurgh
Reading Activities: I'm back on the Murakami train...

Look! I actually read stuff! Admittedly it was mostly just on the train to and from work, but that still fully counts. I was already halfway through (the number of books I'm halfway through right now doesn't bear talking about) After Dark by Haruki Murakami (Murakamiiiiiii!) so today was just finishing it off, and it. Was. Weird. Obviously. I was going to read some more things this evening, but instead I wrote a blog post (!) that will be up tomorrow (!!) about Walt Whitman's weird sex poems. You'll love it (unlike having sex with Whitman which, from his poetry, I assume no one ever enjoyed). Tomorrow I shall be reading Relish, which is a comic book about food and things, and trying not to fall asleep at work because I'm pretty sure it's already too late to get the amount of sleep I need to avoid that. My life is so fuuuuuuuun!

Wednesday

Pages Read: 178
Books Finished: 1 
Books Read From: Relish by Lucy Knisley, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July 
Total Books Finished: 2 
Cumulative Pages Read: 277 
Notable foodstuffs: Soooo much garlic bread...
Blog Posts Written: 0
Non-Reading Activities: Even more work, plus parents house 
Reading Activities: Foodie food food

I'm actually super impressed with my reading today, but it probably should be noted that many of those pages were in a graphic novel. Not that I am demeaning comics! But they ARE faster to read (and this is why I shall win this thing. Cause it is indeed a thing you can win... Right?)  But anyway- Relish by Lucy Knisley is very very good and I highly recommend it. A bad thing happened when I finished it at my parents house, and went to find my sister's copy of Prisoner of Azkaban (mine has mysteriously disappeared) and discovered that she'd packed it (she is finally moving out of my parents' house!) and I thought I had nothing to read but remembered the millions of kindle books I'm in the middle of so resumed one of those (No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I dig it.) The interesting thing about this week is that I'm pretty much just reading in dead spots of time where I feel like I should generally be reading anyway, but I'm normally too lazy to bother? I feel like I should keep this in mind for, you know, life.

Thursday

Pages Read:  44
Books Finished: 0 
Books Read From: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Song of Susannah by Stephen King
Total Books Finished: 2 
Cumulative Pages Read: 321 
Notable foodstuffs: Nutella hot chocolate...
Blog Posts Written: 0
Non-Reading Activities: I VISITED THE BIGGEST LUSH IN THE WORLD IT WAS MAGNIFICENT. 
Reading Activities: Metamorphosis is weirdddd... 

I'm just realising I should have included 'total books read from' because that is an impressive 5 now, which I'm quite pleased with. So. Today was my day off work, and should probably have involved more reading than my day AT work, but Kafka is weird and difficult, I was on THE most crowded train home so didn't have the arm space to read (seriously, when you're normally an 8 coach train, DON'T SPLIT THE TRAIN IN HALF. Why would you do that?!) and, like, I had to do London stuff. Before yesterday, I had a whole plan for today that involved sitting down and watching Mad Men, reading and blogging, BUT THEN I discovered that LUSH had opened their biggest store in the world in Oxford Street and it was like nothing could be done to keep me away. IT IS THE BEST EVER LET US ALL GO THERE ALL THE TIME! Mostly I am amazingly excited because they have The Comforter shower gel which I got ONCE when I lived in Southampton on a special LUSH day and they never had it again and now I smell of ittttt! So awesome. But reading... Yes. Interestingly 44 pages was 22 pages from each book- Metamorphosis on the train, Song of Susannah in the bath that I OBVIOUSLY HAD TO HAVE. And then, Gilmore Girls. It's been an alright sort of day, I guess.

Friday

Pages Read: 25 pages + 2 Harry Potter Chapters (kindles are unhelpful...)  
Books Finished: 1! Kinda...
Books Read From: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK
Total Books Finished: 3 (again, kinda)
Cumulative Pages Read: 346 + 2 chapters
Notable foodstuffs: I had some mint m&ms then immediately regretted it
Blog Posts Written: Still 0... Haha
Non-Reading Activities: Retiring to my room to read because of inappropriate housemate/girlfriend behaviour in the living room (RARGH people etc)
Reading Activities: Oh Harry, I missed you so!

Today was another work day hence the lack of reading, and also I have felt ESPECIALLY tired. I guess I haven't fully recovered from the lack of sleep from last week, nor the constant shots of adrenaline my body was giving me so I actually wrote some darn words. (Thanks for the adrenaline, body!) Plus, I've relearned to be reliant on sugar which I had more or less moved away from because I can't be having a lot of sugar and running, but that's ok because I haven't run since Monday and SORT YOUR LIFE OUT AGAIN, ME! Anyway... This is about reading. So I finished Metamorphosis! But it's a short story that lives amongst other stories, so I don't know if I can count this as finishing a book or not? But at the same time... First Kafka story I've finished ever, so... Yeah. I have definite feels about it so I'll be reviewing it at some point (she says with great hope!) This evening after asking my terrible housemate if he has stolen my copy of Prisoner of Azkaban (he says no, I don't believe him but my only other option is to ransack his room, and do I seem like the ransacking type? No, I do not. SO the point is, I bought the kindle version! I got really irritated cause you have to buy it through Pottermore and it's all a bit of a palaver, but I am now the proud owner of it (and I have always intended to get the kindle versions of all the books cause carrying Harry Potter with me everywhere is definitely something I want to do!). And so I read a couple of chapters this evening (who knows how many pages, cause my kindle does not want to tell me) until I simply felt too tired to even read Harry Potter anymore. And then I wrote this so apparently, not as tired as I could possibly be? But anyway. The point is, READING!!!

Saturday

Pages Read:  
Books Finished: 
Books Read From:
Total Books Finished:
Cumulative Pages Read: 
Notable foodstuffs: 
Blog Posts Written:
Non-Reading Activities:
Reading Activities:

Thursday, 23 April 2015

It is Shakespeare's Birthday So This Is Relevant

Happy Shakespeare's Birthday everyone!
I'm going to celebrate by writing/editing essays and possibly curling into a ball and rocking and crying, but still, thanks for being born, Shakespeare! (I am actually serious about this, I still love him even though I hate, you know, working and putting effort into things haha).

And I don't know if I'm making a giant leap here, but let's see what I got for MY birthday, shall we? (Betcha thought I was going to write something about a book, or Shakespeare or something, huh? NOPE.) I mean, what I mainly got for my birthday was books, so, you know, it's all good. I essentially bought all my own birthday presents this year (ah, age) which meant I went wild on Amazon and, you know, in every shop ever. I've had a revelation that I don't have time to read full on books at the moment, but comic books? Those I can do. So that's mostly what I got!
And then I took the worst picture in the world. The point is, SO MANY BOOKS, LOOKIT! So I really only got two non-picture books, one of which was a fancy edition of Rebecca that I'm pretty pleased with, the other a Banana Yoshimoto book because there's no way I don't want to read that. There's a couple of recipe books, a couple of Moomin comic strip books and some glorious comic books: V For Vendetta (cause of how I love Alan Moore after Watchmen), Lighter Than My Shadow (which I'm more than halfway through, and it's excellent, and and yeah), The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For (cause, Alison Bechdel) and Relish (cause, food. Yes.)

So yeah, it was a pretty great day for books. It was even better than that, though, because in the morning, after my birthday run (I can't even believe I'm the kind of person who does a birthday run now. Let's not talk about it) I opened my cards and presents from the wonderful people of the internet and also real life people and it was so great- I had a little bit of alone time to squeal over books by myself and not have to explain to anyone what they were about. So, presentssssss!
My lovely friend Justine who I love dearly but lives in Bristol sent me Shakespeare for Grown-Ups, which I'm sure will be very useful for life and, you know, Masters reasons, and also some American sweets because this is how we spend our time when we're together (buying American sweets, rather than reading Shakespeare, because come on).
The glorious Ellie sent me Ghost World which I've wanted to read for aaaaages having seen the film and not entirely fully being sure if I like it? Or, rather, if I LOVE it. I've read this already because, you know, I'm me and I was supposed to be writing essays so obviously I was reading this instead, and I'm still not sure that I LOVE it but I think I have more insight into why that's the case now. Review coming soon (she says...)
Lovely lovely Katie sent me The Strange Library and DID YOU SEE THAT IT'S BY MURAKAMI?! Cause it is. Automatically guaranteed to bring me joy. I've forgotten to take photos of my cards, and, let's face it, I'm much too lazy to get up, but Katie sent me a Lego card and it was spectacular (everyone outdid themselves on cards this year, actually. I am way impressed.)
Bex sent me three whole books! Three! She sent a Terry Pratchett because I've never read any of his books (because I'm terrible) and I'm gonna say she sent Equal Rites even though that photo is hella blurry and, once again, I'm too lazy to get up and check. But it seems like it's going to be feminist and awesome and that is all I ask for in life. Carrying on a tradition, she sent me a book about anxieties surrounding food (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and further from that-time-I-asked-if-Watchmen-was-good-and-she-said-yes-and-was-right thing, she got me a comic book too- American Born Chinese, which looks pretty excellent.
Charlotte apparently left my present in a beer garden, but it got to me safely nonetheless and lookit that teeny Shakespeare book- all the plays in one sitting! This seems like it will be useful if I want to refer to a play but don't actually want to read it, plus, you know, I clearly need it. And and and an Emma Donoghue because how do I not need all of her books? I need all of her books.
And then, JUST TODAY, as if it knew it was needed for this blog post, Kayleigh's present arrived! It also arrived just after we discussed it's arrival/lack thereof on twitter, and we therefore suspect the Royal Mail of spying on us. Either way, I'm super glad it's here because OMG how cute is that bunny?! I've been wanting to read Helen Oyeyemi since everyone lost it over Boy, Snow, Bird, so this is the perfect opportunity to do that. AND I took a picture of the card and everything since it was near me, but you can't even see that it's a drawing of Buffy and says 'Buffy Summers: Our Lady of Protection.' So completely awesome.

To sum up- I am an extremely lucky human and a very spoiled one, to wit. This post is pretty much in lieu of writing thank you cards, and THANK YOU to one and all, the internet is spectacular, and GOD I love birthdays. As a reward for you looking at all these pictures and being horrified about how spoilt I am, I have a book to give away! I have literally no money, but I accidentally bought an Atwood that I already had (don't I think of you guys so much..?) and, you know, might as well send it to one of you!
So, if you'd like a shiny (not that shiny...) copy of The Robber Bride, then let me know in the comments and one of you can have it, I guess. You're sort of ok people, so it's all good.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday Sundries: I Turned 26 and It Was Fine

Guys! That was a longer than anticipated absence, but whatever, I'm here, I'm supposed to be writing essays, so it's all going very well (life, that is). I am now older than my mum was when she got married, but, you know, she had to marry my dad so it's all swings and roundabouts, really!* So my birthday happened, that was cool, and I got A LOT of books that I'm going to share in a separate post that will definitely get written (*shakes head vehemently*) at some point, and since then I've pretty much either been working or procrastinating from writing/editing essays. I make some interesting life choices when I'm supposed to be writing essays, like watching excessive amounts of anime that I can't even have on in the background because it's in fucking Japanese, and spending a ridiculous amount of time on a mission to get to the post office which had shut 14 minutes earlier... FML was all I had to say on Thursday, to be honest.

Excellent things though: I went to Oxford to see Frances on Wednesday which was obviously excellent even though the Bodleian Library tricked us into believing they had a First Folio on display when in fact they did not, or if they did, we couldn't find it (they probably did. We were probably just terrible finders.) But more importantly, there were burgers and milkshakes so everything was amazing
There are no words.
And did I mention that FRANCES was there? Cause she was and she's the best and we never run out of things to talk about and I love her. Plus she paid for my lunch so, you know, THE BEST!

And now. DRUMROLL PLEASE. I've written a 26 before 27 list! I didn't do one of these last year because I was generally too sad, but also because my brain was pretty much going 'I want to do a Masters. I want to do a Masters.' and I figured, hey, that's probably going to take up quite a lot of time, ya know? This year? I'm still doing that pesky Masters, so most of these aren't going to apply until after September, but at the same time... I'm not so good when things that have taken up a lot of my brain space end, and I think it'll be good to have the option of a LIST! of THINGS! That I can totally do! But I also totally don't have to. It's a completely non-pressurey thing, but here are a few things I'd quite like to do in the next year, perhaps.

26 Before 27

1. Get a bloody Masters - Ok, I'm cheating because this one is pretty much a given. BUT I STILL HAVE TO DO IT.

2. Write 15,000 words over the summer without dying - See above. STILL HAVE TO DO IT.

3. Run 500 km - I wrote this list before developing this weird foot thing basically yesterday... My enthusiasm wanes somewhat when I'm having foot pain. But Imma try.

4. Read War and Peace - Because, why not?

5. Get a tattoo - Might actually happen if I keep putting it on this list...

6. Go to London Zoo - You can come with me if you want! I've never been, and it's ridiculous.

7. Go to Bristol Zoo - Since I'm going to BE in Bristol in June and all...

8. Do proper London book shopping - I made Bex and Katie promise we could do this again when I had to leave them stupidly early to go to a Macbeth seminar. BOOKS.

9. Bake at least 26 things - Maybe blog about it. Who knows! Speaking of which

10. Blog at least twice a week - This is something that should be achievable even now, but somehow I still don't do it, and I've already failed at it since turning 26. But still, I shall try.

11. Go somewhere new - Who knows where? Except I do, it'll be somewhere in England. I have a 16-25 railcard that I need to take advantage of before October, so... Sometime before that, I'd imagine. I'm so good at planning shit.

12. Do a Parkrun - I keep running into (literally!) parkruns when I do my own, much less organised and shittier runs on a Saturday. I should probably actually do a parkrun instead of essentially hiding from them/getting up earlier than them to run...

13. Do two 5ks in 2 weeks! - This one's a bit non-negotiable... I have to do these now. They're for charity! It's all good! I'll be fine! (You can totally sponsor me here, or here, or even both if you're secretly a rich person)

14. Go to the British Library - Because come on, how have I not been here yet? Ridiculous.

15. Go to the Globe - Ditto the above. I mean, I've been PAST the Globe, but I haven't actually been in. Stupid.

16. See the Hogwarts Express - I believe I am taking Tika to see the Hogwarts Express when she comes to my land in October. Either way, I'm going to have to give the Studio Tour like £30 again because I need to see the fucking Hogwarts Express. GAH.

17. Make a pop culture embroidery - You know, something like this. Or this. Something excellent, anyway.

18. Do morning yoga on work days - This is a thing I'm trying to do. Putting on a list will definitely make it habit, right?

19. Stop buying crap I don't need - I've gotten quite bad at buying little things just because I want them lately. This isn't really a problem, but when you've got more books than you can read in years, and more pyjamas than any human needs, PLUS no money, it's kind of a problem. BASICALLY I want to do a bit of a spending detox and

20. Save some damn money - Not a lot. But a little bit. I've got a system worked out, it should be good. You know, maybe.

21. Read 10 books before buying a new one - I'm serious about this one. I don't NEED any new books at all, I'm slightly scared of being a crazy woman who dies because she's been crushed by a bookcase and... yeah. This counts kindle books too! I'm seriously considering unsubscribing from Kindle daily deals emails because that shit is evil.

22. Watch all the Studio Ghibli Films on Tivo - You can basically just consider this one done. Film 4 had a Studio Ghibli season and I recorded all the films. This is important as a life goal because culture and shit, innit?

23. Go vegan for a month - I've said I'd do this before, and never have. We shall see if it happens this year.

24. Give up diet coke for a month - I'd really like to be a person who has an occasional coke rather than someone who has to have it daily before she really feels awake. Plus, that shit's expensive. Plus it's terrible for you. I actually genuinely want to do this except I also kind of don't? CONFLICTED.

25. Write more paper letters/notes - Who wants a paper letter from me?! Let's bring back handwriting, kids. I'm planning on starting this one soon cause I have something to send my friend so yeah! Writing!

26. Make Christmas presents for everyone this year - Ultimate money saving tactic. Yeahhhhh!

Aaaaand for my final trick, I'm going to try not talking about myself for like 5 minutes. Maybe I'll even bring some book reviews back to the blog! Or... At least some anime reviews? Yeah, something like that. Two posts a week from now on, guys. Get excited.

*They both read this which I find REALLY ANNOYING, by the way, but hi guys! Only joking, dad! Kind of!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Observations On My Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday (birthday eves are totally a thing right? I'm pretty much just going to eat pasta and sleep on mine, but it's a thing!) and I've been observing some changes in my general life that can only be a symptom of my impending old age (I wonder how many of you want to smack me right now...) But here are some things I've been noticing that I haven't even been doing on purpose:
  • I am running. A lot. And I fucking love it. Clearly I'm trying to stave off the horrible physical symptoms of aging by exercising and becoming fitter than I've maybe ever been? Yeah, that.
  • I cleanse and moisturise my face every night and every morning as long as I'm not too tired or haven't forgotten. THIS FACE SHALL NOT SAG.
  • I am considering actually going to the dentist and opticians and all those boring adult things because I notice things like my teeth being more sensitive than normal and my fucking eye twitching when I get tired (old lady issues). This is very unlike me considering my cashflow issues.
  • My room has fully been tidy for about 6 weeks now, and I don't even leave clothes on the floor or anything anymore. For the most part. Suspect some kind of impending maturity.
  • I had a glass of white wine the other night and liked it and didn't even feel the need to drink more. White wine is also bullshit, but that's another issue entirely (I drank all the red. All of it.)
  • I have been watching a shitload of anime. I don't know what this says about maturity, but I do know that it's fricking awesome, and ok, so, grown ups do subtitles? Something like that...
  • I have fully bought a dress that covers almost all of my boobs and comes down longer than mid-thigh. On the downside, the dress I wore yesterday was so short that no one could resist telling me how short it was. Also it was shorter than my coat which is never good. Also it had unicorns on it which is amazing.
  • I am making excellent food choices like eating many fruits and vegetables and only having maybe one cadburys creme egg a day which is actually amazing mere days after easter. I'm also actively cutting down on caffeine and drinking more water and IT'S TRUE THAT IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER, FINE. 
  • My friend bought me a plant for my birthday present, and I didn't find it weirdly grown up. Which would make me WEIRDLY GROWN UP. Fuck. 
  • This will be the very first birthday I wake up in my own bed in my own house without my parents being in the next room. This is maybe the most grown up thing I can think of, and you know what? I don't hate it.
This is all complete bullshit, of course, because I am basically still a child who will also inevitably eat too much sugar and crash at some point tomorrow, and also I am mentally 12 years old. This is also going to be pretty much the last birthday that I'm a student (she says) and I'm pretty sure being a student at this age is kind of the ultimate in regression. Plus, my mum got married like 8 days after her 26th birthday. I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen to me, and when I say pretty sure, I obviously mean there's no fucking way. 

And now I'm off to hobble up some stairs, sort out my eye twitches and generally do things that people do for the last day they're 25. So... Sleeping and eating is that thing, right? Good.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Devouring Books: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

"Remember first to possess his books; for without them he's but a sot, as I am."

For this term of Shakespeare, alongside reading 10 plays that were mostly tragedies, I spent ten weeks studying The Tempest and associated texts. Whilst I still can't even talk about King Lear (which I also studied for 10 weeks) in any coherent way because TOO MANY THOUGHTS, I think I'm ok to talk about The Tempest because of reasons that will become clear.

Plus, you know, I'm supposed to be writing an actual essay about it right now, so this is obviously the next best thing/excellent procrastination.

You've probably read The Tempest, and if you haven't then you probably at least know a couple of speeches from it- Prospero's 'our little lives are rounded with a sleep' speech, and Caliban's 'Be not afeard, this isle is full of noises'. They're beautiful, just as the whole play is kind of beautiful, but the problem with studying this play for 10 weeks is that it kind of kills the magic. You talk about post-colonial readings, you talk about circular structures, you talk about all kinds of smart things that are really interesting, but at the same time, I think The Tempest fulfils its function of enchantment and loveliness the less you think about it. But thems the breaks of an English student.

Let's talk about some things anyway. In case you don't know, The Tempest centres around Prospero, the ex-Duke of Milan who's also kind of magical, and has been exiled to an island where he can practice his magic and control his daughter*. The play begins with a tempest (aha!), raised by Prospero's airy spirit Ariel at his command, which fortuitously brings to the island the men who exiled him as well as a potential husband for his daughter Miranda. Thus forms two of the story threads of The Tempest, the third involving Caliban, 'a monster of the isle' and two drunk servants which we can basically ignore whilst also not ignoring Caliban because he's pretty important, and REALLY important in basically all criticism of The Tempest.

This is actually way harder to write about in a normal way than I thought it was going to be! Let's just talk about some likes and dislikes, shall we? I really kind of hate Prospero- his need to control everything can get really frustrating, and the way he treats both Ariel and Caliban, who are essentially both his servants, is kind of terrible. Ariel I definitely can't talk about coherently because I am fully exploring his character in my big scary essay and I have many thoughts that actually probably don't make any sense at the moment. Caliban, though, is genuinely interesting and post-colonial discussions of him are dull but completely understandable. Caliban is the de facto ruler of the island, as its native inhabitant, but Prospero's arrival means that this is taken away from him, that his home becomes the property of someone else, and it's all fucked up, basically.

Goddamn white people.

But I think the main thing I want to say about The Tempest is this: reading it by myself, before studying it, I was enchanted. It pretty much did exactly what it attempts to- you're drawn into the magic of the isle, you don't really question any of the magic, you just let it happen and it's a total experience. I would never ever say that studying literature is a bad idea (OBVIOUSLY), and there are so many things I've gained from class discussion and whatnot that I would never have thought about regarding The Tempest, but at the same time... It's kind of killed it for me. It's killed the magic, and I'm actually pretty relieved that I don't have to study it anymore (as soon as this essay is done...) 

What I'm saying is: YOU should definitely read The Tempest. just absolutely don't overthink it because you're going to kill it. Don't be me, guys. Don't be me. 


*I kind of have issues with Prospero. It's a thing. Don't worry about it.