Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Signs of Spring
Nancy left Sunday on the bus for Gatwick and her EasyJet flight back to Morocco. The flat seems empty without her. I got used to coming in the door and hearing BBC4 playing loudly as she listened to the news or a play while working at her Mac. And I'm going to miss eating dinner with her, enjoying a glass of wine and talking about life. Last night I went to bed at 9:00 pm, feeling a bit tired and headachy. It might have been the presentation on Virginia Woolf I had to give in the afternoon. I didn't think I was that nervous about it, but I guess I was, suddenly feeling really hot and flushed as the time approached to deliver. I had a strange sense of not being in my body and just talking and hoping for the best. Apparently, it went well. Speaking of going well, I got my marks back for the two major essays from last semester and was really pleased. Now if I can pull it off for the next two big ones, due May 13th, I'll be really happy. Part of me feels quite spent though. It's not just writing the stuff, it's about coming up with a topic I feel passionate about. I had tea with a friend who finished the Master's program last year and she said that a large majority of people who do the degree don't write anything for a whole year, they're so burned out. I certainly hope that's not true for me.

Spring is approaching and it's no longer pitch black when I take the bus back from the university. And with that I'm hoping to hear the last of the wet sneezes and phlegmy coughs issuing from fellow commuters. Today I saw snowdrops on my way to class and had to take a photo of them - a definite harbinger of spring! (Even though it was a cloudy day). I'm excited too because I bought my train ticket to London for next Thursday when some of us are going to a talk at the Biographer's Club called "Biography - What Publishers are Looking For." Today in my publishing class we had a presentation by a fellow student who's doing a PhD in the area of transmedia, which is a subject I'm not completely clear about. Anyway, she focussed on electronic publishing and the benefits of "doing it yourself" without having to go the route of finding a publisher for your work. She makes a compelling argument and says that if your work is well received online, publishers will actually come to YOU instead of you going to THEM. Sounds too good to be true.

On March 3rd, I'm taking another train journey - this time to Wales, Llandrindod Wells, to visit my long-time friend, Frankie (female), who I haven't seen for eighteen years! It's straight across the country in the opposite direction to Norwich and will take about eight hours. I want to get lots of reading done, but more likely will spend the whole time staring out the window. Apparently the scenery is stunning for most of the way. Back in the 80s, I rented a car in Hampshire and headed to Wales, thinking (as I looked at the map) it would take only a couple of hours. Eight hours later, I arrived in Harlech, punchy from fatigue but gobsmacked by the landscapes. I was not prepared for the beauty of Wales, and I'm looking forward to seeing it again, but this time letting someone else do the driving.

All the typing I do has given me an occupational injury. I've been having a problem with my left ring finger and went to the medical centre at the university yesterday to hear that I have "trigger finger." I actually have to straighten the digit out each morning with my other hand, and it's become quite painful. The treatment - a cortisone injection which I'm booked to get next week. Of course it comes from repetitive motion, i.e. typing, but there's not much I can do about that, except maybe stretching the hands from time to time...and getting cortisone injections. Not typing is not an option.

By the way, here's the link to Nancy's auberge in case any of you are interested in an authentic and unforgettable desert experience: www.darsidibounou.com

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