On Edinburgh developments and a numb mind…

Ian is out for this year’s Edinburgh. Not because he doesn’t like us or anything (though I do have a slightly hard time believing that Ian really *likes* anyone!) but because cost is expensive and he’d rather save up all the money, time and material for next year. This is really sad coming as it does after a fun rehearsal with some cool new sketches. Everyone gets enthusiastic when Ian comes down as we want to please him…. with the possible exception of Jess but, just as Ian doesn’t really like anyone, Jess is never really enthusiastic – her range is much more subtle, it seems, and despite her assertions that she can “go to eleven” we have yet to see it.

As much as it’s nice to know that there’s going to be a next year’s show, it’s going to be a bit harder without Ian – one less actor and now Owen will have to write the whole show on his own (give or take attempts from the rest of us to write sketches) which I’m slightly doubtful will be good for his stress levels or ego. I want to have a go at writing sketches but I’m a little useless in that my ideas are few and far between and generally terrible when they do emerge. Though I’m feeling very un-creative at the moment so maybe when that lifts I’ll have a few thoughts as to what to do.

I’ve been feeling really quite down over the last week or so. I’m worried that it  may be the beginnings of depression again but I’m not very good at being able to tell until it hits me like a sledgehammer so I could be wrong. I’ll just have to keep going and hope that it’s not and that my mind comes back to me soon, as for the moment it seems to be curled up in a ball like a tiny hedgehog and not budging for anyone. It’s not that everything feels entirely terrible or anything like that – I don’t feel sad – I just don’t really seem to be feeling at all. I’m laughing and smiling sometimes, and crying or irritable at others, but overall it’s like those emotions are just rippling over the surface, and the actual deep hearty feeling part of it isn’t there. It’s like my soul is hiding in a box, padlocked so that I can’t reach it. I really hope this ends soon – I have to go back to uni in two weeks, I’m going to need my brain! And I’m not sure a brain made of melted cheese would cut it.

Ah well, at least our Edinburgh application went off today so that’s something that’s on the move. And I have plenty to do in the next week to keep me busy, including preparing to and actually going off to Oxford and having an awesome time! Hurrah for mental stimulation!

Happiness and Light,
Mabel x

On Sundays, Space for books, and the problems with uni…

I like Sundays. Always have really. That’s not entirely unusual of course – most people like Sundays… but often Sundays are tinged with a feeling of impending doom, knowing that Monday is coming tomorrow. But since being at uni, my timetables have generally be fortunate enough as to allow me to avoid Monday morning, and so Sundays have taken on a more blissful meaning than they used to have!

Since beginning to spend most of my time at my boyfriend’s flat Sundays have meant going home to see my mum (though I have to go back in the week to see my littlest siblings as Sundays are the day they spend with their dad)… and my dog. I miss my dog lots, though he seems to be much more excited about my boyfriend coming over than me, bloody thing. *grumble grumble* Today I’m going over to see my mum and her boyfriend, walk the dog maybe, get my hair cut (with some luck and a lot of “Oh, please!”s!) and collect some things to bring back to the flat, though I’m going to have to be quite selective about what I bring back as there is only a limited amount of space at the flat. I’ve not even brought back a tenth of my book collection (not even counting the stuff that’s in the attic!) and the shelf is already about to cave in!! When I get a place of my own I have but two demands, the first being a library! (The second is a kitten….)

I don’t think it’s helped that I’ve bought so many books for uni. Yes, I refer once again to the dreaded book-list. It has been preying on my mind this week rather a lot as I consider how to tackle it. I’ve started the two books that I have to read for the first week, which is something at least, and am now contemplating whether to start more so I’ve at least read a bit of them by the time the lecture comes around and I am, somewhat inevitably, grossly under-prepared.

I’ve also been reading things I really shouldn’t be considering how much reading is actually compulsory: namely, C. S. Lewis’s ‘The Allegory of Love’ and Langland’s ‘Piers the Ploughman’. It’s just that medieval literature and culture holds much more interest to me than the Victorian equivalents. This is wonderful in that I actually have something that I could gladly study and not get tired of, but pretty rubbish in that we don’t do anything before 1540 on the course at Falmouth. I didn’t know this upon applying and as I applied through clearing I wouldn’t have had a choice even if I did know but it still makes me sad that we’re not going to study as a class and with a little bit of help something I love to study and may actually need a little bit of help with. Medieval literature and history is not something that you can that easily study on your own (it’s possible but it’s fairly heavy going) and some help really wouldn’t go amiss, especially as I want to study it at postgrad and so need a fair amount of knowledge before I apply. Some of the people on the Exeter English course have directed me to their lecturers with phrases like “They’re really nice and they won’t mind, honest” but Exeter lecturers are used to dealing with people who are extremely intelligent and besides, as far as Exeter are concerned most of the time UCF students are a lower species.

It’s times like this when I wish that my lecturers were a bit more approachable. When I was in college all any of our lecturers said was that when we got to uni we’d have lecturers who would treat us as equals and would be eager to help us learn, friendly and approachable. In all honesty I imagined them a bit like my college lecturers, most of whom I could go to with any problem, even one that wasn’t academic, and they’d listen and help wherever they could. Even when I got into UCF my mum went on and on about how Falmouth had a good reputation for pastoral care and my friends who’d done other courses there raved about how their lecturers were basically their friends and how they thought they were amazing.

Though my lecturers are undoubtedly smart and know their subjects, there is only one (maybe two) that I would consider truly approachable. I talk to lots of people when I’m at uni: I chat to the barstaff at the Stannery, I’m mates with some of the cleaners, the CSM lecturers know my through my mum and always say hello, I’ll happily sit and chat to the catering staff any day, one of the library staff has become one of my best friends and in any case all the library people are wonderful people, some of whom I’ve sat in a room and cried at even and they’ve not even batted an eyelid. But I couldn’t imagine sitting and having a chat with most of my lecturers, about anything, let alone telling them my problems or crying in front of them – I get worried enough having to approach one of them over something necessary and academic. And it strikes me that that’s not really the way it should be.

I mean, maybe that’s just my experience of it, maybe other students find our lecturers the most friendly and helpful people in the world. But when everything was building up to our presentations and I couldn’t stop worrying about it the last people I would have considered spilling my worries to were my lecturers. Even though people were telling me to go to them I just couldn’t face it: I couldn’t be sure they’d be supportive or tell me off for even considering coming to them… or, in some ways the worst scenario, telling me there was nothing they could do and they were going to have to drop my mark for my lack of fluency whatever. I’d rather find that out after than before if it was so, so I decided I just would. If I’m scared of my lecturers, on my head be it.

Happiness and Light,
Mabel x

On workload, rehearsals and haircare…

All this term’s work is finally in and I’m so relieved! I can finally relax…. only, I’m not really that good at relaxing and instead feel a little bit lost and unsure of exactly what to do. Not that there isn’t enough to do really: I have to do as much of the reading for next term as possible (as I have mentioned before, the booklist for this next study block is pretty extensive!). Though I’ve kind of undermined my own attempt by finding a copy of ‘The Allegory of Love’ in the library! But the lack of pressure feels weird after two weeks of insanity. At least I’m beginning to sleep better, I suppose.

Ian was down for Edinburgh rehearsals today and that was fantastic. We haven’t seen him since Edinburgh and I had really missed his quietly mocking ways. Even better – he brought new sketches! And they were really good. The bar has certainly gone up from last year. The humour is more broad as well so we’ll hopefully appeal to more people. It was a good rehearsal, and there was that excitement that comes with new sketches to try – they’re always at their funniest when you have to read them for the first time and realise that you’re going to have to say these things in front of people. The new ones are fun to perform as well, or at least, they are so far, there’s no telling what six months of doing them to death will do for our attitudes!

Our application will be going to PBH soon and then things will really start to move. The whole thing, as everyone keeps telling me, relies on a good venue, but I think it also relies on time and publicity really. Hopefully this year everyone will pitch in with flyering and such and won’t just leave me to do it….. I don’t think that really helped our audience numbers last time really!

There are no rehearsals next week as me and Owen are going to Oxford to see Daniel Kitson’s story show – yaaaaaaaay! We’re also going go-karting, which I’ve never done before but I am seriously looking forward to it nonetheless! I’m off to my mum’s tomorrow to get my hair cut in preparation for the trip as I haven’t had it cut in ages and bits of it are starting to break off. And I don’t want to meet Owen’s parents and have them think that I’m someone that doesn’t know how to look after her hair. Because I do know how. I just tend not to, that’s all.

Happiness and Light,
Mabel x

On tidying, reading lists and preparation for a new term…

Today is a busy day… but not busy in the way that it was last week and the week before, everything having to be done frantically all at once. No, this is a different kind of busy, a more relaxed kind of busy. For today I am tidying! (oh yes!) Partly because I’ve been meaning to for a while and now have the time to do it, but mainly so that when more of my crap migrates over I’ll have somewhere to actually put it! I have managed to sort the wardrobe and am soon to move on to the dreaded TOP DRAWER, which is where anything that doesn’t belong somewhere else is indiscriminately tossed. It shall be a challenge certainly, but one that I shall rise to with all the grace and beauty of a honey badger.

The most important tidying I have done though, is the obligatary tidying away of all last term’s work/books/files/bits of paper, and replacing it with all the shiny new books/files/bits of paper in preparation for the next term…. well, semester, we have a two semester and not a three term system in terms of study blocks: not something I particularly agree with but then that’s a rant for another time. For now I am full of the youthful excitement that comes with having to buy new books and the extremely studenty dread of actually having to read them – there’s so many!! The booklist for this semester is approaching thirty books – an unprecedented number on our course so far. This is where, as I believe is the common parlance, the “shit gets real”. 😛

In all honesty, I’m kind of looking forward to it! Not so much all that reading, but the whole affair gives the impression of a stupid amount of work and really that’s my favourite amount of work. I like to really feel my brain stretching and, though not all of it is going to be to my taste – I can see that from the reading list alone – I am looking forward to having a good hunk of work to get along with. It’s all quite literary as well from what I can see, which will be a nice break after all that Cultural Theory! Though I doubt I shall escape it that easily: no matter how much I try to avoid it it always comes back to bite me!

I also feel that I may have been more than slightly silly in choosing Novel Writing as my option this term, as the reading lists for my other classes appear to consist almost entirely of novels. I have more than a hunch that I’ll be sick to the back teeth of novels by the time this year is up. Ah well, in any case it should certainly be interesting, and really that’s all I want in my degree. Admittedly they do go in for all this “we’re preparing you for jobs in the creative and media industries” crap but to be honest as long as it interests me and I’m learning something I feel is worth learning at some point I’m perfectly happy. Education for education’s sake all the way!

Happiness and Light,
Mabel x

On Rehearsals, PBH and the Beginning of Preparations…

It has begun – rehearsals for the second Edinburgh have started up again after Christmas and the sense of urgency and purpose is back! I’m really looking forward to Edinburgh this year, especially as, though there are only seven of them, every sketch is funny…. well, I say every sketch, there is one that I really don’t like but I don’t have to be in that one so it’s fine. I’m praying for all the things that one to do a show in Edinburgh usually prays for: that we get allocated a decent venue, with a decent time slot and a decent flat. We got all that last year and I’m beginning to wonder whether it was indeed all just fluke and that it’ll all go to shit this year. But I trust Owen with every part of me (kind of required now that I’m his girlfriend) especially on his judgement with regard to Edinburgh and I really hope he’ll pull through for us again.

Continue reading