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To be honest, yesterday was catastrophic - a combination of self sabotage and outside things happening (Prodigal 2 in a funk because he lost his job in telesales).  It was all a bit 'dark night of the soul' stuff, too.  Like, 'You're not good enough/You're going to run out of time/There will be nothing on the other side when you get out.'  On and on.  Inner voice carping and I wonder why I won't let myself be good enough to get this important mark (major dissertation = 40% of final year mark).  Today I have been up since the early hours and am more driven, plodding on and seeing what I can achieve today.

There are more than enough words, but I am adding the academic stuff and turning it more into an argument.  Let's see what this looks like at nine tonight :-D

I have just done a quick tally to see how many words have been contributed to the final dissertation so far. 9,069.  There will be a lot more written and pared back before I submit.  For instance, I know for a face that I really should at least five more outside sources in this chapter alone and I have precious little for ch3.  Plus 500 approximately for the conclusion.  Still, it is heartening to see.

A friend of mine is due home tonight and she is usually my confidante.  I think I need a bit of a pep talk, so sometime over the next few days, i will have a chat albeit brief.

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Must admit to going back to stage one of the second chapter and even further back to rewrite an intro, so that the rest of the essay chapters fall into place.  I am trying to figure what it is that I am missing, why the bloody thing lacks coherence.   If I am centering in on 'the mother' what does that mean in the instances that you have chosen.  On and on and on.  I have got to get a handle on this, or I can't write the diss, pure and simple.

A lot of head scratching today and a lot of referring back to the intro and the first chapter (oh and the 'recommendations to both).  What is it that I am not conveying?  Beats me right now.  Maybe I am not signposting the bloody obvious again - perhaps I am expecting them to be mind readers.  A bit 'FFS, you MUST have read the book, haven't you?' (and dare I say it, I sense that my lecturer has not = male and specialising in war history and Victorian imperialism).  I I maybe speaking out of turn and he is a sweet guy.

Going to bed.  This is going to be my ever waking breath from now til May 3rd.  67 days then - or less, actually as I am meant to get it to the media centre way before this.  Brilliant.

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I haven't been at my desk since Monday and I sit looking at it, well blankly quite frankly, my dear.  Weather is being it's usual misbehaving self, either stormy and freaky or just hungover grey.  Penzance is especially getting a lashing and the above photo is a comparatively bright one of the waves just crashing in.  More photos and footage HERE

Well, time to open up the document and contemplate the next step.

Bit fed up as I have got problems with trigeminal neuralgia at the moment, but for some reason on a different side of my face (meh, it's all related and inconvenient, though at a level that I can deal with at the moment). Can't say that I've achieved much, but I have done some work and even added academic that will be absolutely polemic to the argument.  Full speed ahead tomorrow.
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I am deeply frustrated as events have kept me away from the keyboard and I have a VERY long day in Plymouth tomorrow - catching an early train and probably won't be back til after 9pm.  I have tried to reassemble by rewriting then trying to research at the same time.  I am becoming rather unstuck as neither are working for me at the moment.  At least P2 and Hubby are out at the moment, which makes writing so very much easier.

I have printed out my old Bluebeard mini dissertation, so I can see what kind of lexis I used there - part of this to stop me citing myself; another is that I "cannot 'brain' today, I have the 'dumb.'"


The only way to deal with this is to cut the essay into thirds as I need to crunch down the waffle to the more complex, yet still component parts.  I can see me doing this to Doomsday - but I have a mere 92 days left, so that's not an option.

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(Picture is unrelated, but have you noticed that coconut oil/aloe vera/apple cider vinegar seems to be THE thing to sort out everything from Jock itch to Tsetse Fly? If in doubt, liberally daub all over life).

I have read my tutor's observations on chapter two and have now got to the point where I am scratching my head (Ti Tree oil is another).  I have amended a few things, but now I have got to REALLY think what I want to say, because I don't feel inspired to write ANYTHING on the subject.  I think I will have to scuttle off and do some research - that may help.  That and dictaphone.

Funny how things are.  I pondered for hours without writing a thing, even  cleaned the board and stared at it for a while.  Eventually, I had a 'penny drop' moment and I think I have reworked the plan to my advantage and it looks nothing like the original essay or it's plan, but I do believe that I am nearer to getting it sussed.
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I have made much more progress today, essentially taking the essay apart and putting it back together.  Now the thorough rewrite starts.  Thing is, I think it might be better to improve it a little, THEN take it to the head honcho for his point of view.  Which could be ages yet and I really don't want to be twiddling my thumbs.  I think I should look at the Satire syllabus and start reading up on that - it will give me a break from the dissertation and give me the heads up as to what is expected.

This is the order of play for the first couple of weeks: 

Killing Joke:  Satire, Power, Death and Comedy

The Classical Satirists: Railing, Grinning and Sitting Down to Tea/Extracts from Horace, Juvenal and Lucian.

Not sure whether to embrace this or run for the hills, to be frank.  There is a whole lot of satire going down re the recent turn of events in the western world, so I look on with interest to how this is going to be handled.
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No sign of portfolio as yet and started typing late as a friend has popped around. I * think * that the essay is making progress, but not before I chop a whole load off - again.  I have to concentrate on the women of the novel, rather than the men, but I maintain their involvement is crucial.  Difficult then, when you show how one pairing acts against another, without drawing then men further into the equation.  Difficult ground.

Over the next few days, I will have to order the Windows Office package and get it delivered ASAP, plus have a better look and a preliminary read of the first few books of the Satire module.  If I can get this chapter sorted for the first draft, then I will be happy to move on.

I have spent the past three hours trying to rouse my laptop from its lair under the desk and actually have it a) Updated and b) Upload Microsoft 365. This has taken FAR longer than expected as it wants me to have a Microsoft email account, get my verification and confirmation email from Plymouth. Plus Hubby is annoyed that he has to unearth the printer from the arse end of the cottage (4 rooms and 1 staircase away), as mine gave up the ghost 2 weeks ago.  It also means switching printer wires from pc to laptop, sending precious work files cascading to the floor. Cue very crude Anglo Saxon words beginning with the letters 'f' and 's.'

I am resigned to not getting any typing done and just be pleased that I have a working, fully-functioning laptop. This has been brought forward because a) Plymouth now want me in for two days a week and I need to be able to type on something when I am in between lessons and trains, b) Apparently, I need to do the National Survey on my own laptop device and in front of one of the main lecturers.

Onward tomorrow.
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Got a message back from diss lecturer - apparently the marks are going to be up for either today or tomorrow.  Ironically, I ranted about the original date (31/01/17) as I wanted to know whether I was going in the right direction, especially since chapter two was basically the same format as chapter one.  Now I am freaking because the marks are due anytime now and if it is essentially crap, I might just have to revise the first chapter and totally redo the second chapter from the start.  Plus, there is another module to start come January 31st.  I have to bring along a laptop/tablet and do a national survey. Great. I am not sure the laptop is even breathing at the moment, I need to install Windows Office on it in any case.

I saw this on the forum - apparently some of the students have had a hectic night, with back to back deadlines etc. I found the following from a knackered and emotional student:

"Beautiful children of English. our grades do not define, us we all have special amazing talents and are incredible humans. One mark for modernism and critics and culture does not define us: we can do amazing things, we can be presidents if we want, or run a Guinea pig farm. We have endless possibilities we are ultimate humans. I love everyone good luck with the deadline, you are all special, a mark does not prove that xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Cue a brace of sleep-deprived manic laughing as well as deeply-felt sobbing. I think they are swilling vodka coffee, munching toast and sleeping the rest off.  Meanwhile, I am chewing my nails down to stumps, whilst I halfheartedly plod away on what could be the smoking remains of my second chapter.
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"If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: ‘It’s gonna go wrong.’ Or ‘She’s going to hurt me.’ Or, ‘I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore …’ Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down."

Ray Bradbury

Picture is unrelated - it reminds me of dreams that I have had, but Bradbury has a point.

I have had an abortive few days and feel a bit behind but after overhauling the chapter - I have decided to restructure it a bit, or it will not flow and relate to the first chapter.  It is the symbolism through magical realism that I am interested in.  There are clear binaries here that underline rigidity here and how it affects at least the first two novels and the interactions between the main characters (I say this, treading carefully, as I don't want to end up citing myself, as per uni requirements).

A lot of this is trial and error and I need to formulate this properly.  I have emailed said lecturer for time and place for the end of the month, so I can go as far as I can with it and then get advice as per before.  I have got 15 weeks exactly til dissertation hand in (though it will be earlier as it is slap on top of a bank holiday) and just a little over 17 weeks until the Final Curtain (last modular hand in = 18th May at 11am).  I am now bricking it!

What bothers me is that it STILL looks like more of a plan than an essay chapter.  Well, PARTS of it looks a bit like an assignment - I think I have to abridge a LOT of stuff, especially re the Grand Duke as that goes on forever.  I know that assignments go through many incarnations before final submission, but this is looking a bit shabby at the moment.  Plus, I am a bit bothered as Hubby needs to use my office for one of his client's year end tomorrow - exactly at the wrong time, which means I will start late AGAIN.  Maybe I can print the plan and try to chop it about the old fashioned way i.e. pen.
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The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

(In a Station of the Metro - by Ezra Pound)

This was posted by me three years ago and I must admit to really missing my old class and lecturer from then.  At least I felt alive and animated, whereas now I am surly and closed off.  Take no notice - as I mentioned before, I had no sleep, then 3 hours, then woken up by post, calls and I think the world and his wife wanted my attention at midday today.  back to chipping away until my mind goes blank.


* mumble, grumble, crumble*

Alas, it all came to nowt as  Prodigal 2 announced that he needed to get to the job centre to sign on toot sweet, or we wouldn't be able to get rent out of him this week.  Just not my day.  Too dozy now to carry on, so I am taking my Kindle to bed to listen to David Suchet reading Tom Sharpe's Blott on the Landscape.  Very early night of rme, but night all :-)

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It does look like I haven't done things for several days, but there was a couple of days where I have pasted all of my notes across (which took a fair while as they included quotes and points of view - even before I start writing properly.  I want to get this essay sorted as a presentable draft by the time I get to the 28th, so I can see my lecturer later in February (it's crossed my mind that I should be seeing people en mass before this, but can't access the DLE at the moment, as the server is down.  Curses).

So, it is back to the grindstone again, or at least getting rid of extraneous words. Tappitty Tap. 

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I am soldiering on with Dreamwidth, because I fear the loss of my Grindstone Files.  It means nothing to anyone else - it is just a log to remind me that I am indeed doing what I am meant to be doing.  A self-validation tool, if you like.  I just wish I could cross post from LJ to here. That would make things far simpler,  In fact, I am sure that LJ used to have that feature.  I am also sitting with a bag of henna on my head, which is warm, drippy and smells like a mosh pit.  I am not meant to take it off for another three hours - thing is, can I stand it?  Last time, I think I got to two hours - it was the full on henna too, from Henna Cat supplies, rather than LUSH.  Right now, I have a mixture of both and I know that the dye will be bright for the first few days.

Anyway, I have to go back to typing the notes that I will be using for the essay.  Technically, I am not half way through (about page 5 of 14 notes), but as time goes on, I realise that the notes I needed are now dwindling to a handful a page.  My aim is to finish it tonight so I can start REALLY writing tomorrow :-)

Just came across Mme Schrecks 'Black Theatre' - Angela Carter, you are one dark, dark, cookie.

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Answer - tea :-D

I have taken time off the essay writing to compile my notes, which I wrote during the summer and of which needs typing (at least the ones that I need). Now I have scrapped psychoanalytical theory, I don't need all the rest of the notes - plus I have a structure in place, so thankfully I only need to type the very important ones.  Still, it is a bit of a task - I have just vowed to myself that I want most of the second chapter sorted by January 31st.  Not particularly a big ask, but still need to plod away for a fair while.

I have typed over 2,500 of my notes and I think I am only about half way through - but it will reap dividends when I do complete it as I can pick/chose the quotes I need.  Right now, I am done :-)

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Getting used to crossposting from Dreamwidth takes some getting used to, but I will plough on regardless.  In a way, it reminds me of the old style LJ from about 10+ years ago and need to get to grips with a format which is even more basic than LJ is now.

I have started chipping away at Chapter 2/Draft 1 which is Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus (1984).  Following the same reference grid as I did before, I am basically getting the notes together an examining key characters and setting up the arguments etc.  I will probably be getting hold of my supervisor soon, so I know I am on the right track.  I have been told that I have a maximium of 4 sessions with him between 09/01/17 - 31/03/17, which is about one visit every 3 weeks.  Thing is, I REALLY need to crack on as I know I have satire coming up in February.

I am 392 words in and most of it will be note form until I can sort out what I was to do with it all.  Here I go - tappity tap :-)


500+ words, will email to myself and start adding quotes from the book as of tomorrow :-D

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I am back in the saddle again, adjusting the preface and the first chapter (well, for 'adjusting' read 'substantially rewriting').  I have stumbled across a racy section of Nights at the Circus, featuring Fevvers and the Grand Duke. The latter is seducing the former and certain transgressions take place (Oooeerr missus - or for reference p.192).

Under the cut, is the amazing artwork of Rachel Taylor, who reimagines Fevvers' image with astonishing imagination. Fevvers as a gloriously meaty Venus - fantastic.  If she ever did a cartoon book of Nights at the Circus, I would happily get a copy.
Fevvers By Rachel Taylor )
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This went into a direct that I did not foresee at all.  Walser on his own Spirit Quest, drinking recycled fly agaric (basically shamen's pee), whilst trying to find his inner self with the Siberian natives.  I have finished the book and it is needed more than a little hurried annotation to make any sense.  At least now, I think I get what Angela Carter was on about - making it into a cohesive argument, well that's another matter.  Issues re transformation, maybe? Certainly, there is a central theme of hybridity, though I am not sure I want to persue this course of argument.

Part of me is reminded of the end of Northern Exposure, when Joel comes out of his trance/dream state and finds himself back in New York (Walser himself is American). So pleased to have finished - am taking some time off now, but as of Friday, I am reading the rest of The Bloody Chamber that I didn't read the first time round.
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I am about fifty pages from finishing and will not issue any spoilers.  An explosion on the Siberian train leaves them prone to bandits, the tigers have disappeared, as so have the clowns - suffice to say that the circus is depleted even more and spirits are at low ebb.  Walser (once a journalist, now the only remaining clown - no irony there) is wandering about in a cloud of confusion, crowing "Cockadoodledoo-ski!".  People are eyeing up Sybil the Pig as their next meal, but things are looking up for the broken, wandering minstrels.

I am hoping to finish this off for tomorrow, take a break then start with the stories from The Bloody Chamber that I haven't read yet.
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Angela Carter has caused my nape to prickle on several occasions, but had me agog when the Grand Duke invites Fevvers back to his expensive pad, only to find an array of Faberge eggs and beginning of a true shift of reality.  Each egg has a statement in it that refers to Fevvers' life; each egg makes her tenuous hold on reality to be even more fantastic.  No spoilers here (same problem, must not reveal in case latter, I want to use it in the dissertation), suffice to say that it is a very sensual reductionism on the part of the Grand Duke and a climatic simulation of the oldest dance of all.

[ profile] bluegerl - I think you will HAVE to read this!!!
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Well I have managed to catch up, nay even get past half way, but I must confess to being a little confused over the change of narration, even though this is still a third person/omniscent presence.  I thought I was going to be reading about Fevver's life on the road (across the ceiling of the world, no less), but the book focuses in on the lives of Mignon and the Princess of Abyssinia.  The former is a bruised teen, from a long line of abuse; the latter an orphan with a skill at tiger taming.

This book is at times both unapologetically violent and sexual - to whit the detail of Mignon's terrible ordeals and she seems to live in the 'forever now' (the past too terrible to contemplate; the future too terrible to tell).  However, there is a poetry, a beauty to it, part of Carter's spellbinding way with words, to suggest magic and illusion and slight of hand.  Who would consider that the clowns would be the most violent or that the tiger tamer would have to make love in the dark; her body bearing the vicious scars of the tigers' claws.  Pain and passion is life and Carter serves this up one sugar-salt razor blade at a time.

It is obvious now that I will have to read two Shakespeare plays - A Midsummer Night's Dream & King Lear and Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.  So far, I like Nights at the Circus infinitely better than Wise Children and I think it won't be long before I start to watch Carnivale.  Really want to get into the feel of the travelling circus from Victorian to Thirties and get a taste as to what was the norm, was was to be expected from the carnies et al.  Comedy & Tragedy. The double-sided coin.
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Vintage Russian Circus Posters - 10

Fevvers has managed to slip away from religious maniac Christian Rosencreuz, narrowly escaping being sacrificed as part as a spring ritual (from what I can remember, the Rosicrucians are meant to be fairly benign lot - wonder if AC is hinting that they are not?).  Most of the text has been third person omniscent narrator, but now they move into Petersburg and it feels as if there has been an exchange of narrators and yet another omniscent narrator has taken the former's place.  The atmosphere has got a more 'Barnum-esque' feel to it and I have just been introduced to Colonel Kearney and his psychic pig, Sybil.  Surreal doesn't even begin to sum up the book and I have about 47 pages before I am half way through.  Both series of Carnivale turned up today, so I think I will be watching them soon.  'All the Fun of the Fair', eh?

I am pleased to note that Student Finance have (finally!!) approved my submission and emails have confirmed my last two modules - 'Laughing Matters: Satire' and the 'Project in Critical Writing (major dissertation).'  Timetable slot has disappeared from the DLE, though - which bothers me.  Still not sure which angle to approach Carter and I want to start planning my PP soon, hinged on my so-far-elusive argument.  I think if I can get half way tonight and finish the book by the weekend, I can take some time off and enjoy the late summer days (think a coach trip somewhere with some sunny pix to boot).

June 2017

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