Since both the title and, thankfully, to some far lesser degree, the sentiment, still stand, I thought I'd edit rather than update afresh. Hopefully , therefore, this won't reappear on friends' lists and find a better degree of subtlety than I'm used to. Lost, firstly, because I 'm coming to terms now with how much of the past 7-8 months I've wanted to find the time to capture and express at length, and realizing that the past is going to have to be consigned as the past, and give up the times to memory alone. Christmas, at least I can summarise for completion purposes. Christmas was a remarkably wonderful time, poignantly marked by - just the first time I've ever felt Christmas as a grown up. Christmas only belongs to one left in our family household: arguably the one who deserves it most. The time flew, it had to. In the same way as the cat/buttered bread debate comes a variable with deadlines ~ where deadlines exist, the time flies. I enjoyed magnificent company throughout, and if all Christmas times could be spent as such, I'd look forward to them earlier and earlier, in anticipation of life's most joyous time. Christmas had a little of everything ~ I just confess to missing people I haven't seen in a good while. New Year saw our household's lucky omen spend his third consecutive time with us; and hopefully, he'll take some of the luck with him for this year and not bestow it all on us, or I should say 'me' ~ deserved or undeserved, I seem to pick up the family's good luck.
Unlike Thomas Jordan, I wrote no Letany for New Year. Plenty I could have said, even analysed last year with a book. Life keeps changing shape; I dip in and out of circles, while my own stay just about strong enough. Nevertheless, even without looking forward to it, I had a sense of purpose for the year to be titled Aspiration. I travelled back, via an enjoyable night over in Loughborough, just over two weeks ago, and for those two weeks, I have worked almost completely non-stop without wavering on my dissertation, determined that the fruits of last term's labour should not fade without due justice. I wanted to announce it, have house mates back me up; but no - somehow realised that without this uncanny distraction, LiveJournal, which I have for a long time stated (as part of diarying in general) as priority number one, that I stay more polarized, more focussed, less self-obsessed (arguably): in tune with what I've found interesting and what I've found comical. Sometimes, it hasn't occurred enough within me to think that my good friends don't really want to be bundled with the more menial day-to-day happenings of some nobody English student. I think from somewhere, I've always assumed that people found this journal remotely interesting, intreguing, emotional, happy or sad, mystical, enigmatic - anything really - any one reason why any friend or random visitor might want to read for a reason. When I learn the word detachment, the step back - there's too many 'I's: when I read as someone else, I don't see that. When I engaged, I sold my journal ~ the topoi tended to appear more often. movere, docere, delectare. Perhaps, just temporarily, I stand removed.
So, yes, this year has been very enjoyable to date. New Year's Day saw a trip to see Narnia, which I enjoyed very much. The night after was spent bowling [139, 118, 120]. The night before leaving, spent a night in Sunderland, just to acknowledge - times I treat far more relaxed than ever I did before - more detached, maybe. Back here, dragged luggage the 4 or so miles from Temple Meads to home; being greeted by Simon was worth it. From then onwards, I've had one single focus, and stuck to it professionally: and I am sombre in feeling proud of myself for it. Along the way, I had an accident one morning by spilling a scolding hot full mug of tea right into my lap, singeing my scrote, as it were. I had to dress on one side for two days. Amusing, perhaps; but not headline. This week, the English Department nearly had a hat-trick of innuendo, for which I would have been proud. Tuesday's lecture on Keats included the phrase 'So there's a degree of frustration that Keats could not consummate his love for Fanny'. Wednesday's meeting with dissertation supervisor, Prof. Hopkins, ended with him saying 'Keep thy sword erect'. Well, thankfully, we had been talking about Marvell for a hour, after which any pun is excusable; otherwise might have been worried. Thursday completed the semester's lecture sequence, and didn't comply for a third profanity of any kind.
All in all, I've lived very secluded and sheltered in this room for the majority of the time in private study, working deep into the night often when I had the momentum, and throwing sleep pattern all over the place again: perhaps this is what life is like as a Postgrad. student. On that note, I've sadly discovered that Royal Holloway absolutely is not an option. Out of the blue, however, from one of the dissertation books, did notice that the excellent royalist writer James Loxley is at Edinburgh, and given undergraduate study was a choice between there and here, I've been to visit, and could *just* escape living at home if taking a research M.A., I think I'll now place hope there. There is certainly the scope: I enjoyed writing up the dissertation, tough work as it was. Finished on 12,000 words (max. 8,000) on Monday night, 40 pages, having only just tantalizingly scraped enough over the total subject area to complete. I wrote nearly a quarter on two poems of Thomas Jordan alone ~ the potential is definitely there. I've been trying to edit since, and that has been difficult. Spent several days dwindling over tightening the prose, which is totally necessary for my initially weak, loose style of writing, but with another piece due in less than a week, I've had to snap the focus back.
Tonight has been the first break in the wave for this year. I've almost finished, in some numb despair. I've cut 3,000 words now, coming under 9,000. Initially I had included so many secondary sources, my footnotes to list them alone in their full form took 800 words, and footnotes in total came to 2,500 (which are included in word count). Sadly, after tightening the prose, I then had to start sacrificing, and feel now, at 750 over in total, but only around 7,000 of main text, that I absolutely don't want to remove any more, that this dissertation has been butchered enough ~ chipped away untidily at the edges when I needed a file to smooth them. All that's in my favour is that I was so insecure about an argument on Marvell's 'The Garden', on which a lot of criticism is written and normally you'd expect your thoughts to be mirrored by a handful of critics out there, and while making sure, I couldn't find anything on this idea, which normally wouldn't be the best sign, that I asked my advisor about it. Academics sometimes spout this principle that nothing new can be added to branches of literary study, just smooth amalgamations of what has already come before. A renowned Professor of English Poetry had not considered this idea before either, which could be a (holding breath) completely new reading of 'The Garden'. Hmm.. when this returns with a mark of 60 or something, I'll laugh at any shallow optimism I once had.
I'd like to achieve this year, and enjoy hard work. Last year, Endeavour was more about surviving different waves of hard work. Hope for friends to keep safe, keep one another afloat, get rewards for their efforts, and find their accomplishment and happiness. This month continues to get harder: I like two weeks for an essay, I have one, which means having to work twice as hard. It can be done. Then, there might be the chance for muted birthday celebrations before ploughing into possibly the hardest combination (difficult of Special Subject with worst Period/Literature 4 Tutor and excessive reading). Over the next week, no doubt I'll be thinking of a handful of anniversaries: Simon sits the exam that I shamed myself in almost failing; of mine and Robin's magnificent shared birthday celebration [rather not of mumps, even though they were a wicked birthday present] and of first contact. What I keep: aware, that nothing here is important; apart from the very top ~ reminiscences of the worst kind, that nobody should have to ever face or go through; I keep appreciative of prayer, of friends, of great, supportive house-mates; I've always got the Berlin picture of *us* as background sight, malefact's amazing music on as background sound, and aristophains' letter in the front of my English folder for background inspiration. Plus, there's the months of last year consigned to memory ~ really, desperately don't want to lose any more rhetoric than I have done already. Huge thanks to the small NAGTY congregation who've sent e-mails and left messages - I'll reply to each and every one before long.
Love, Peace & Harmony
to anyone who comes across this,