Friday, 6 July 2007


Just thought I should let you know that I haven't been hit by a bus, though I was knocked for the proverbial half dozen by a rather nasty strain of flu. I'm very much on the mend now, though, and also very much settled into my new student house.

It seems an age ago now, but you can view some of my Rome photos here. This album is mostly the arty farty stuff, but I'm afraid it's also also pictures of others on the trip, which I put up because, you know, photos of oneself always hold an interest and these were for sharing on Facebook. So ignore photos of various grinning students doing not much.

I got a phone call from Pendulum magazine, saying they'd published my letter. They said they'd "cut it down a bit," but when I actualy got the issue in the post, they'd done more than that. They'd cut it drastically, reworded it completely and made me sound something of a fool into the bargain. I'm now somewhat embarrassed that my name's at the bottom. Ah, well, won't be writing for them again. I should've got the next Mslexia through the post by now. I'm feeling a bit disappointed with magazines at the moment. Also a bit disappointed that I haven't won the competition, or had one of my entries published. I was proud of those poems - Samson and Persephone and that - thought I stood a chance for once. Mind you, that's probably the surest route to failure. Well, at least I have those poems to try other places, along with Nativity.

I've been doing my reading. I did like Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel very much, though I can't remember all that much of it now, besides factual stuff. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver was brilliant character-wise. It had real psychological depth to it, which kept me thinking for a long time after. Then I moved on to Grace Paley's Collected Stories, which captured a real essence of American Jewishness. Quite a lot of the political stuff went over my head, though. Then I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which I adored, not least because of the castle! I love books with castles or grand houses - Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, The Italian.... such atmospheric novels! The buildings take on a life of their own; they're not just where the novel takes place, they're at its very core, almost characters themselves. I read Roberta Taylor's Too Many Mothers, memoir of "an East End childhood," whilst at my illest. I didn't enjoy it all that much, for the most part, but that may have been because I wasn't enjoying anything. Very memorable characters, though. I'm going to read Asta's Book by Barbara Vine next, and I'm going through Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, making notes, for next term.

I got my exam results through:

Introduction To Ancient Philosophy: 62% - 2:1 - bit of a disappointment
Introduction To Greek Archaeology: 75% - 1st - pleasant surprise, hated that course
Beginners' Greek: 73% - 1st - as expected
Inventing The Novel: 58% - 2:2 - disappointment, worked my socks off for that exam and thought I'd done better than that
Introducing English Poetry: 64% - not too bad, considering how I fluffed it up

Which gives me an average off 66.4%, 2:1. Not bad, not brilliant. Would like to get a First for next year, though, when it actually counts. Funny how I did so much better in Classics. I don't know if this is because Classics is easier here - certainly you needed lower grades to get in. Or perhaps I'm just better at Classics. It's worth considering, though, when I decide what to do for MA. The other funny thing is that my highest mark was for Archaeology, which mostly bored the pants off me, and my lowest was for the Novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So do I take courses which are dull but which guarantee me a good First, or do I take the interesting ones and settle for a 2:1? Is it possible to be an academic with 2:1s? Am I clever enough to be an academic and, if not, what the hell else do I want to do?

Oh, and, incidentally, does anyone know how to have a header on your blogger instead of just text as they put it? I can suck up, then, to someone who's good with Photoshop and get myself a pretty, booky header.


Julie Carter said...

Up in the right hand corner, if you're logged in, there should be a link called "customize." Click on that and you'll go to a page where you can see the layout of your blog. Click on the header "edit" button, and you can upload a picture.

Ta da!

Decidedly Bookish said...

Thank you, wise one!

Angie said...

I love what you were saying about buildings being characters themselves... Much on my mind these days, for some reason!

If you need help in Photoshop, I can do a little. Just email me.