Sunday, 26 August 2007


I came back from Cornwall to an envelope from Iota, containing my poems and a polite, uninterested rejection letter. Rob offered to look at the poems, if they came back, so I might take him up on that. On the other hand, though, these NaPo poems, of which I was so fond, have come back enough times now for me to know that they're no good. Nothing I've written has ever been any good. Perhaps it's time now for me to put publishing down as a childhood dream rather than an ambition to pursue. Maybe I should focus my energies in the future on church and family. I believed I had a talent, something really special. Perhaps I was deluded. Perhaps I'm a very ordinary sort of girl, who should put her mind to ordinary things. Perhaps I'll just be one of the thousands reading the books and wishing, rather than one of the few writing the books.

I'm doubting my vocation too. I mean, you can't very well have a priest who's terrified of people, one who sometimes can't even sit through a service without having a panic attack. I can't see any future for myself at all of late. It's a very low sort of day for me.

Friday, 17 August 2007

The Beginning of Terror

"I'm after something that will make some sense out of the chaos in the world and within us. The result should be something that is, well, 'beautiful,' but beauty isn't merely the pretty, or harmony, or equilibrium. Rilke says beauty is the beginning of terror."
~Frank Bidart

And on the subject of beauty, I'm going to Cornwall. See ya :o)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

The Third Declension Song

(courtesy of Latin Camp; to the tune of The Locomotion)

Everybody's working on their nouns and verbs now.
Come on, baby, do the third declension.
Like canis, canem, canis, yeah, that's how it goes now.
Come on, baby, do the third declension.
A little bit of vocab and a lot of sweat,
And you haven't even started on subjunctives yet.
So, come on, come on, do the third declension with me.

You've got to conjugate, yeah baby, come on, come on.
And then subordinate, yeah yeah, woh, woh, woh, woh.

Everybody's working on a brand new tense now.
Come on, baby, do the perfect passive.
Like missus sum and captus sum, that's how it goes now.
Come on, baby, do the perfect passive.
You give up for the present - it just don't make sense,
But it'll all be perfect in the future tense.
So, come on, come on, do the perfect passive with me.

You've got to conjugate, yeah baby, come on, come on.
It's just imperative, yeah yeah, woh, woh, woh, woh.

Everybody's working on a brand new clause now.
Come on, baby, do indirect question.
You just need a subjunctive and a who, what, where, how.
Come on, baby, do indirect question.
Conditional clause and final clause are easy stuff.
It's only that one Santa Claus that I find tough.

So, come on, come on, do the third declension,
Come on, come on, do the third declension,
Come on, come on, do the third declension with me.

Monday, 13 August 2007

A Sudden Intense Clarity

"Poetry... shows with a sudden intense clarity what is already there."
~ Helen Bevington

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Wake Up Pill

A certain Dr. Mark Frye has done a study on a drug called modafinil, originally used to treat people with sleep disorders. He says: "There are very few treatments for the depressive phase of bipolar disorder and as a result there is an urgent need to evaluate potential new therapeutics. Mood stabilisers in general are better at treating mania than depression, but the depressive phase of the illness is far more common. We really need continued research in this area." (I strongly agree!)

Modafinil is used to treat patients with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder. During the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, symptoms include excessive sleepiness ("hypersomnia") and fatigue, (boy, do I know it), so researchers wondered if modafinil could address these symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder.

Half of the patients in the study were given modafinil and the other half were given a placebo over a six-week period. At least 44% of the participants given modafinil said they felt better, while 39% said their symptoms were in remission after six weeks. This compares to 23% and 18% of those taking the placebo. Modafinil was not associated with any greater risk of the manic and depressive mood swings associated with bipolar disorder. How exactly modafinil works isn't known but research is continuing.

Read the full article here. I want me some modafinil! Actually, I'd quite like not to need the damn drugs in the first place.

Friday, 10 August 2007


Does any kind, generous soul, blessed with the wisdom of Photoshop, feel like making me a header/banner thing for this blog? Sometimes I just sit and weep because it looks so uninspiring. I would send you a present to say thank you. Please. *puppy dog eyes*

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Latin and Fudge

Well, it should be fairly obvious by now that I'm back from Geek Camp! Translated a lot of Latin, ate a lot of fudge, and all in the shadow of Wells Cathedral. What with all that Latin and fudge, and the cathedral, and the pretty, pretty town, and all the oldy-worldiness, and cream teas, I was a very happy girl. I've also realised that I just can't give up Latin for good. I'm hoping I'll be allowed to sit in on the Latin Language and Reading course next year, maybe take it unofficially. I'm also hoping I might be able to sneak into the back of a few lectures in the English department which I'm missing out on because of course restrictions. It all depends on time, really. I have an astonishing knack for wasting time, and for sleeping too much, and I am planning to do Chapel every morning, the Christian Union, CU cells, Old English Reading Group, be secretary of the Classical Society and help put on the play, run the Writers' Circle, be Head of Writing in the Creative Arts Society, join the History Society, and maybe even have something resembling a social life.

In terms of vocation, things have come on quite a long way. It's actually tremendously exciting and proving to be a really joyful process. I mean, I'm beginning to see something of the future God might have planned for me and I think, wow, could I possibly be any more blessed than... well, than I thought I was already? I read on the Church of England website that if you're discerning, you need to read a lot of books about ordination, etc. I stumbled on this wonderful church in Wells called St. Cuthbert's, and they had a few books out on sale, and one was The Life and Work of a Priest by John Pritchard. So I bought that. I'm reading it now and it's very good.

I also spoke to the chaplain in the cathedral at length. He said some three very helpful things in particular:

1. Imagine you're in a corridor, with closed doors on either side of you and a succession of closed doors in front. Walk ahead, opening doors as you go. You may have to push for some of them. But, in the end, if God doesn't want you to go through a door, you won't get through it. I found this so reassuring because it takes a lot of the pressure off me: I worried that I would mistakenly become ordained, when it wasn't God's will at all, just myself being fanciful.
2. The chaplain told me that, the day before his ordination, the bishop asked him if God wanted him to be a priest because he couldn't trust him as a layman!
3. The chaplain also said that he still wasn't entirely sure, after 40 years of ministry! You will never be 100% sure. Of course it needs a lot of thinking and praying and talking to other Christians about, but at some point I may just have to go for it, because God is unlikely to send down a big banner with flashing lights.

I also did quite a bit of reading while I was away. Wells is brilliant for charity shops and book shops and things. I found an antique shop, where I bought Revelations of Divine Love by Mother Julian of Norwich - a Medieval anchoress who claimed to have had a vision from God - and a book of sermons for 50p each! I found a copy of the latest Phillippa Gregory novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, for 99p as well, which I was dead pleased with. I read it in about five minutes, as I always do with Philippa Gregory, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her Tudor books are a little samey, but samey's fine with me if I like it enough. I finished Asta's Book by Barbara Vine as well. It was a little slow to catch my attention but by the end I was captivated - it was a really good plot.

I also bought some really ancient Latin school texts for practising, a selection of poetry and a biography of Hannibal by Nepos. I mustn't let my Latin slide again. And I must start on my Old English, though there's time enough for those. I've started another new novel, just a few ideas really, about a group of Classics students at Oxford. I met so many in Wells! I've settled into what I guess you'd call "a gentle pace of life," been picking blackberries in the garden and making crumble, sewing, planning next term's schedule for Writers' Circle... but I feel a bit like I'm retired. I get so frustrated with myself for being so lethargic and getting so little done. I do actually have things to do, and I can go a whole day and achieve nothing. That's one precious day of my life gone. And I know I'll never write well, or indeed do anything well, if I continue to waste time instead of using it to learn.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Facebook Groups

It is so freaking hot. The kind of heat that keeps you up at night when you're knackered and makes your mosquito bites itch like mad. The one on my left leg is the size of a saucer. I kid you not.

I've got a proper entry in the pipeline, but I'm way too tired now. Instead I thought I'd share some of the Facebook groups I'm in, seeing as Facebook has pretty much taken over my life now.

"I'm a sociopath" "No, you're a dyke": The Official Lisa Rowe Fan Club
Facebook: Making Stalking Easy
'Get Off My Stage' - a Jeremy Kyle appreciation group
A Cornucopia Of Love!!!! (Potter Puppet Pals ROCK!!!)
A Cup of Tea Solves Everything
A good Latin student never declines Sex (VI)
A nice cup of tea and a sit down
Admit It - You Love Bellatrix Lestrange
All the Cool Kids Know Dead Languages
Bipolar Pride: the Crazy Ones Have all the Fun
Caecilius Est In Horto
Campaign for lecturers to have their own entrance music
Campaign for the Return of Prince Charles' Moustache
Carol Ann Duffy is the High Priestess
Christians CAN make good music... honest!
Classical Greek Ruined My Personal and Social Life (I started this!)
Classicists Make Better Lovers
Down With This Sort of Thing: Fans of Father Ted
Dumbledore's Army
Edward Monkton is a Genius
Enid Blyton Nostalgists
Enough postmodernism: I just want to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Etymologies are sweet
Facebook whores...
Guylian Chocolate Sea Shells Appreciation Society
Hooray for Those Nice Biscuits with "Nice" on Them! (me again)
Hots for the Smarts (me)
I actually CAN'T wake up in the morning..
I am a classicist, therefore I am pretentious and proud of it!
I am just a girl... interrupted.
I can't accept that fictional characters aren't real
I Can't Stop Listening to Regina Spektor
I can't wait to be mummy! (me)
I did Latin A-Level. That makes me cleverer than you.
I Hate It When the Greek Verb I'm Searching for is Another Verb Entirely
I judge you when you use poor grammar.
I like to pilfer and accumulate music from choirs I belong to
I Love Books About Crazy People
I study English. I rock.
I Used To Be Good At French, Now I'm A Bit Rubbish
I want to be in the Medieval Baebes
I'd Marry the Beast if I Could Have a Library Like That...
I'd Sail With Captain Jack Sparrow!
I'm an ear with feet... aka a Tori Amos Fan (Global)
If this group reaches 1,000,000 maybe Jesus will come back
It's 4am, why the hell am I on Facebook???
It's Pimms O'clock
Literary Crushes (me)
My Friends Are Getting Married. I'm Just Getting Drunk
Odysseus is a Legend
Orange Smarties - four is not enough!!
People who don't sleep enough because they stay up late for no reason
People Who Set Off Fire Alarms at 4am Should Be Shot (me)
People's Front of Judea
Petition to revoke the independence of the United States of America
Physics doesn't exist, its all gnomes
Pirate University Fallback Plan
Psychiatric Hospitals Drive Me Crazy!!!!
Raving Lunatics Make the World a Better Place (Global Chapter)
Reading is Sexy
Sex, Drugs and Aristophanes
Shakeaway Makes Life Worth Living
Spider-Pig Appreciation Society
Spinsters united
Stephen Fry's Friendship Proxy Group
The 'Word Count' Button is EVIL
The Erotic Voice of Marks And Spencer Food Adverts Appreciation Society
The Lecture Doodling Society for the Chronically Bored
The Pedants' War on Error
The Tyrannosaurus Alan Appreciation Society
We Must Take Our Tablets Or Else We Will Go Mad! (me)
Weasel, Weasel! . . . aka the Eddie Izzard Appreciation Society
Why Yes, I Do Frequently Burst Out in Song
Writing Papers Single Spaced First Makes My Double Spaced Result Climactic

And I've separated these two for Harry Potter 7 spoilers, though shame on you if you haven't finished it yet.


The Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks Memorial
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" : Mrs. Weasley Appreciation Group (Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.)

Well, that was an entirely pointless entry, wasting both my time and yours. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and sleep in the fridge.

Friday, 3 August 2007

A Universal Message

"We spend so much time being divided from one another. I like the idea of a universal message from poetry, from the rhythm in poetry, which is visceral and deeply ingrained."
~Rafael Campo