hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I am, in fact, so very far from okay that I find it hard to even see the collapsing waveform of okay from here.

I've spoken to my supervisor, and my doctor. I'm - so far - having bad luck in having and keeping a preliminary appointment with the college counselling service.

If I've been silent here, it's not just that I'm distracted. It's that it seems like my whole world is crumbling, that I can't run up the sand-dune without being pitched back down in the clinging crumbling sand.

The first thing I have to do is get my physical body back in shape. There isn't much point pretending that mind and body are separable: they're not, and since physical fitness is something I can affect, I need to try. Starting gradual.

My to-do list between now and next Wednesday:
Review (and in a couple of cases read) the books for which I owe reviews. A Stranger In Olondria. The Exiled Blade. The Shining Girls. Queen of Nowhere.
Write the materials I need for my progress review: bibliography, analytic commentary, timetable for completion.
Run in intervals for a fifteen-minute count every day, or every second day. (May be starting with 1:2 intervals, but one must begin somewhere.)

I'm trying not to let self-hate and self-loathing and unforgiveness fuck me over too much more. Life, what? It's a funny business.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Today in Ireland it is a day of public drunkenness and parades, of which first the saint whose feast it is would possibly have disapproved, and of which second doubtless he would have preferred more holy themes.

I hate St. Patrick's Day because it is boring. And also because as far as I can tell the historical St. Patrick was a bit of a prick.

So let me link you instead to two lectures on ancient medicine which my supervisor forwarded me: on this page, Vivian Nutton and Geoffrey Lloyd.
hawkwing_lb: (Helen Mirren Tempest)
My French has either deteriorated, or it was never as good as I believed it to be. (I suspect more the latter than the former, to be honest. Since I never did succeed in reading a whole French novel in school.)

Which makes reading Tran-Nhut's Le temple de la grue ├ęcarlate rather more difficult than I'd hoped. Still, with the aid of pencil, dictionary, and notebook, I believe I will succeed: the first page has already charmed me. (And honestly, being as limited as I am in my other languages is embarrassing. I need to at least try to put a bit more effort in.)




I had been thinking seriously about trying to get to the States next July - but for the same amount as I'd pay for return flights there and back, I can get a month's accommodation on the island of Naxos (in a large apartment, albeit at the cheap end - anyone want to come?), and transpo there, between late May and late June. Which would be great for a spot of writing-up time, and quiet fun.

Pity I'm such an anxious traveller.




A bright November morning, colours vivid - if tending to yellowing brown in the fields.
hawkwing_lb: (Ned virtue)
Strange Horizons has started their annual fund drive.

I admire SH a lot - and I've learned a great deal from their reviews editor, Abigail Nussbaum, in the time I've been contributing reviews - so I'm spreading the word. Also, if they raise USD $10,000, they'll pay more for reviews, so there's an element of self-interest involved...
hawkwing_lb: (DA2 isabela facepalm)
Today I read a novel. Wrote half of a review (500 words) for it. Wrapped up and formatted an interview. Wrote 200 words of my thesis, a process which took over three painful hours. Okayed books to review for Ideo's winter issue. Queried more reviews. Took a painkiller because my head felt fuzzy.

And yet, my brain is convinced I did not do much at all today.

(Yes, that would be why I am blogging my "accomplishments.")
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
I read and reviewed a book. I asked three interview questions. I sent one interview query. I got my supervisor's blessing to write an abstract for this conference. (I'm still not sure what I'm writing the abstract on, but details! Details!) I exchanged actual spoken words with other humans, including my supervisor. I wrote 150 words on my thesis, and feel I may possibly be beginning to reacquire momentum. I ran 0.5 miles and exercise biked 5.5km. I bench-pressed 3x12 18kg. I bicep curled 3x5 20kg. I queried the status of poems on submission.

I drank too much diet Coke and ate too much chocolate. Working on healthier habits = hard.

So I didn't really do all that much today.
hawkwing_lb: (No dumping dead bodies)
Books 2011: 95-97


95. Chris Wooding, Retribution Falls.

Spoilers.

First published in the UK in 2009, and re-released earlier this year for the US market, Retribution Falls is a tale of airships and pirates, double-crosses and ne'er-do-wells, Cool Shit (tm) and banter, and Things That Go BOOM! in the most entertaining possible way.

Darian Frey, rakehell, screw-up, occasional smuggler and small-time pirate, is captain of the airship Ketty Jay. His small and highly dysfunctional crew is composed of alcoholics, terminal fuck-ups, and people with nowhere else to go. So far, they've managed to keep scraping a living together, and when the chance for a really big score comes along - a cargo airship, allegedly carrying jewels - Frey can't resist.

But the airship is rigged to blow, and when it explodes, Frey finds himself at the top of the Most Wanted list. Because what the ship was carrying wasn't jewels, but an Archduke's only son. In order to survive, he needs to find the person truly responsible, all the while avoiding the Navy, the Century Knights, and hired bounty-hunters - whose number includes the terrifying pirate captain Trinica Dancken, with whom Frey shares something of a past.

This is a tight, fast-paced book. It hooks you from the opening pages and just keeps racing along in hails of bullets, bloody fights, and banter, in an atmosphere remniscent of some 19th-century frontier. We're introduced to all of Frey's crew in short order: the wanted daemonist Grayther Crake, the new navigator Jez - who hides a dangerous secret - Malvery the alcoholic surgeon, Silo the engineer, the flyboy Pinn and the terrified pilot Harkins, and the golem Bess - and almost as soon as they appear, they're involved in a firefight.

There's a lot of interesting detail hiding in the background. Daemonism - magic, but practically outlawed - and the recent history of this world of airships and politics, pirates and Century Knights. The characters are well-drawn, rounded people. And Frey, while he starts out as a charismatic amoral rogue, undergoes significant character growth. He doesn't end up as admirable, by any stretch of the imagination, but I liked him rather more by the end than at the beginning.

Retribution Falls is really quite brilliant - it even deserves the adjective rollicking, because it's one hell of a ride.

(And if someone ever makes a miniseries of it for the television, I am so there. Because Cool Shit. And explosions!)


96. Chris Wooding, The Black Lung Captain.

I'm supposed to review this properly in this autumn's Ideomancer, so for now I'll content myself with saying that, as a sequel to Retribution Falls (which could easily stand alone), it is another step up in impressive, pacey Cool Shit with good characters.


97. Kevin Hearne, Hammered.

Third book in the Iron Druid series. This time, druid Atticus Sullivan is taking on the Norse god Thor in another fast-paced, amusing urban fantasy, complete with ominous omens and battles in Asgard. Entertaining, though light.




Today, I triumphed over the evil that is clothes shopping and successfully purchased shorts that fit. I celebrated this by going to the gym.

Running: 0.6 miles in 5 minutes, 1.75 miles in 20:50. Cycling: 4K in 16:00. Ten minutes of bouldering.
hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds mathematics is like sex)
I have achieved a second draft of my conference paper, "The Experience of Entrance at the Pergamene and Koan Asklepieia." Hopefully this is a near-final draft.

Maybe now I will feel less useless and depressed. Next thing to do, make powerpoint with sanctuary plans.

There are four weeks left during which I must take classes. It will be a great relief when I can sit down to do research without having to keep up with Greek homework also. Perhaps then I will be able to write again.

Interestingly - and in things which give me hope - I wrote a whole paragraph of fiction today.

Read more... )

Not that it'll go anywhere. But, hell. Writing that in half an hour made me feel a hell of a lot better than I have in at least a week or so.

Damn the world for being so big and inimical anyway.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds mathematics is like sex)
I have achieved a second draft of my conference paper, "The Experience of Entrance at the Pergamene and Koan Asklepieia." Hopefully this is a near-final draft.

Maybe now I will feel less useless and depressed. Next thing to do, make powerpoint with sanctuary plans.

There are four weeks left during which I must take classes. It will be a great relief when I can sit down to do research without having to keep up with Greek homework also. Perhaps then I will be able to write again.

Interestingly - and in things which give me hope - I wrote a whole paragraph of fiction today.

Read more... )

Not that it'll go anywhere. But, hell. Writing that in half an hour made me feel a hell of a lot better than I have in at least a week or so.

Damn the world for being so big and inimical anyway.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds mathematics is like sex)
Snow is really quite baffling.

Hopefully there will be sufficiently little of it tomorrow that I can pop into town and collect a last couple of books from the library before the Christmas closure. (I tried yesterday. Spent 2.5 hours not getting anywhere, due to SNOW which had COMPLETELY SCREWED our public transport system. The bus turned around and went back, eventually.)

If I can get that done, and this sneezy schnoz/icky cold clears up soonish, I'll have clear decks for making a productive go of the season of joy and good cheer. It seems to be a good way to spend the darkest part of the year: settle in with a stack of academic books and try to produce a workable Chapter 1 by mid February.

I also have a bunch of Greek to do, a couple of articles that hopefully someone will pay me for (money situation: not getting better, but I am not panicking yet, because something will turn up (it damn well better)) and some fiction to write so I can pretend I still think of myself as a writer. Which I do, damnit.

And the gym reopens over the holiday period, so just as soon as I get this cold gone, I can start reclaiming the (very large) stretch of ground I've lost.

We're supposed to get a thaw for Christmas. I'm looking forward to not shivering my socks off. I do not have the clothing for constant sub-zero temperatures. (And can't afford to buy new clothes till the end of February. So not yay.)

Anyway.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds mathematics is like sex)
Snow is really quite baffling.

Hopefully there will be sufficiently little of it tomorrow that I can pop into town and collect a last couple of books from the library before the Christmas closure. (I tried yesterday. Spent 2.5 hours not getting anywhere, due to SNOW which had COMPLETELY SCREWED our public transport system. The bus turned around and went back, eventually.)

If I can get that done, and this sneezy schnoz/icky cold clears up soonish, I'll have clear decks for making a productive go of the season of joy and good cheer. It seems to be a good way to spend the darkest part of the year: settle in with a stack of academic books and try to produce a workable Chapter 1 by mid February.

I also have a bunch of Greek to do, a couple of articles that hopefully someone will pay me for (money situation: not getting better, but I am not panicking yet, because something will turn up (it damn well better)) and some fiction to write so I can pretend I still think of myself as a writer. Which I do, damnit.

And the gym reopens over the holiday period, so just as soon as I get this cold gone, I can start reclaiming the (very large) stretch of ground I've lost.

We're supposed to get a thaw for Christmas. I'm looking forward to not shivering my socks off. I do not have the clothing for constant sub-zero temperatures. (And can't afford to buy new clothes till the end of February. So not yay.)

Anyway.

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
...Although I can't honestly say you're my only hope.

Fantasy empires. What's the first one that leaps to mind?

(Or two.)

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
...Although I can't honestly say you're my only hope.

Fantasy empires. What's the first one that leaps to mind?

(Or two.)

hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
Things to do, in no particular order:

1. Start laundry.

2. Organise the on-desk mess. Preferably into something other than an on-floor mess.

3. Revise bursary app in line with supervisory recommendations.

4. Advance further through Byron Good, Medicine, rationality and experience.

5. Random errands. Bluetack. Turnip. Reporter's-size notebook.

6. Further tasks to be determined.


hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
Things to do, in no particular order:

1. Start laundry.

2. Organise the on-desk mess. Preferably into something other than an on-floor mess.

3. Revise bursary app in line with supervisory recommendations.

4. Advance further through Byron Good, Medicine, rationality and experience.

5. Random errands. Bluetack. Turnip. Reporter's-size notebook.

6. Further tasks to be determined.


hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
One of the things I'm learning about myself -

I do learn. I'm a better person now than I was a year ago, two years ago, with a more nuanced understanding of the world and other people. I still fuck up, of course. I commit stupidity, as well as - on occasion - matchless self-pity.

But that's okay, isn't it? Because as long as I keep trying to learn, to do better, to improve a grasp of nuance, to be better -

You learn best from your mistakes. And other people's examples, too, but one's own mistakes do leave a stronger impression.

I've figured out, I think, what I want to do with my life. Which is something of a relief, and it's a relief to think it might actually be achievable. I'm drawn, overwhelmingly, to research, and rereading my thesis it looks like I'm not terrible at it.

It took me about two months to achieve that much perspective on those ten thousand words, and even now, the most I'm prepared to say is that as a piece of work, it doesn't actually suck. But that's an apprentice-piece, if that: scholarship has a lengthy apprenticeship, and with postgraduate work, and practice, I should improve.

It's problematic for me, I think, that my attraction is that of a generalist: everything is fascinating, and I'm not sure I'll ever muster the intense focus required to be an Authority in a single area of a single field - very few people do, after all, and mostly after a lifetime of directed labour. But that doesn't mean I can't shape myself into a perfectly adequate scholar within the areas I'm most interested in. Nor does it mean that I cannot take Mary Beard and Robin Lane Fox for my models, and strive in future years to write broad and accessible history with a sound scholarly foundation. (One may criticise Beard's claims to break new ground with her every new book, particularly when some of these have been largely syntheses of existing scholarship, and Lane Fox's biases as a Classically trained Classicist show through in his material, but no one can say they don't have a very solid foundation in their work.) And there's no harm in aiming high - I know both Beard and Lane Fox are successful professors as well as writers of decent popular history - since at least by so aiming, I don't run the risk of shooting myself in the foot.

I know, at this point, that I can do research and write it up with a reasonable competence that can only improve with practice. Despite its many frustrations and moments of flailing despair, writing my thesis was an immensely satisfying experience, and - now that I've had a little time to recover - one that I wouldn't hesitate to embark upon again.

Research, after all, is about accuracy, coherence, relevance, structure, and - in good history writing - the empathy of imagination which gives the past life. And bar the last, those are learned skills. It's only the desire that can't be learned. The passion, if you will.

Or the obsession, if you prefer.

While I still want to write novels, stories, I've no confidence in my ability to do so. Nor am I sure I want to split my attention and try to write seriously while working on something that could conceivably lead to a decent career.

The odds of earning a living as an academic are slightly better than earning a living as a writer. Something like one in twelve (or one in twenty: I understand it varies depending on your discipline) PhD graduates manage to make a career in a related field. What are the odds as a novelist? One in thirty? Worse? How many people who (finish, submit and) publish a novel go on to write full time without the support of a spouse?

Until someone tells me I've been accepted to an MLitt programme, of course, this is moot. And we'll see what happens this summer, and whether in this economy the parent and the government between them can float me long enough to acquire a postgrad degree.

But it is something of a relief, in the end, to actually know (part of) what I am, and where I want, primarily, to go. (The addiction to history books, for fun, after the first year of college, kind of clued me in to the fact that this passion is not one that'll easily suffer to be set aside.) I'm willing to do a lot, if it means I might, one day, write a small monograph that could be judged a worthy contribution to scholarship.

So we'll see. This summer I want to properly start myself on learning German and Italian, with Latin if I can manage it. Odds are against me finding employment, so I'll likely have time, if not money. And the backlog of books on the Unread shelves deserve some attention before I saunter off to learn Greek in foreign places (cash and situations permitting).

So, yeah. I'm feeling remarkably mellow and optimistic regarding my place in the world. That'll last all of a few days, I imagine, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
One of the things I'm learning about myself -

I do learn. I'm a better person now than I was a year ago, two years ago, with a more nuanced understanding of the world and other people. I still fuck up, of course. I commit stupidity, as well as - on occasion - matchless self-pity.

But that's okay, isn't it? Because as long as I keep trying to learn, to do better, to improve a grasp of nuance, to be better -

You learn best from your mistakes. And other people's examples, too, but one's own mistakes do leave a stronger impression.

I've figured out, I think, what I want to do with my life. Which is something of a relief, and it's a relief to think it might actually be achievable. I'm drawn, overwhelmingly, to research, and rereading my thesis it looks like I'm not terrible at it.

It took me about two months to achieve that much perspective on those ten thousand words, and even now, the most I'm prepared to say is that as a piece of work, it doesn't actually suck. But that's an apprentice-piece, if that: scholarship has a lengthy apprenticeship, and with postgraduate work, and practice, I should improve.

It's problematic for me, I think, that my attraction is that of a generalist: everything is fascinating, and I'm not sure I'll ever muster the intense focus required to be an Authority in a single area of a single field - very few people do, after all, and mostly after a lifetime of directed labour. But that doesn't mean I can't shape myself into a perfectly adequate scholar within the areas I'm most interested in. Nor does it mean that I cannot take Mary Beard and Robin Lane Fox for my models, and strive in future years to write broad and accessible history with a sound scholarly foundation. (One may criticise Beard's claims to break new ground with her every new book, particularly when some of these have been largely syntheses of existing scholarship, and Lane Fox's biases as a Classically trained Classicist show through in his material, but no one can say they don't have a very solid foundation in their work.) And there's no harm in aiming high - I know both Beard and Lane Fox are successful professors as well as writers of decent popular history - since at least by so aiming, I don't run the risk of shooting myself in the foot.

I know, at this point, that I can do research and write it up with a reasonable competence that can only improve with practice. Despite its many frustrations and moments of flailing despair, writing my thesis was an immensely satisfying experience, and - now that I've had a little time to recover - one that I wouldn't hesitate to embark upon again.

Research, after all, is about accuracy, coherence, relevance, structure, and - in good history writing - the empathy of imagination which gives the past life. And bar the last, those are learned skills. It's only the desire that can't be learned. The passion, if you will.

Or the obsession, if you prefer.

While I still want to write novels, stories, I've no confidence in my ability to do so. Nor am I sure I want to split my attention and try to write seriously while working on something that could conceivably lead to a decent career.

The odds of earning a living as an academic are slightly better than earning a living as a writer. Something like one in twelve (or one in twenty: I understand it varies depending on your discipline) PhD graduates manage to make a career in a related field. What are the odds as a novelist? One in thirty? Worse? How many people who (finish, submit and) publish a novel go on to write full time without the support of a spouse?

Until someone tells me I've been accepted to an MLitt programme, of course, this is moot. And we'll see what happens this summer, and whether in this economy the parent and the government between them can float me long enough to acquire a postgrad degree.

But it is something of a relief, in the end, to actually know (part of) what I am, and where I want, primarily, to go. (The addiction to history books, for fun, after the first year of college, kind of clued me in to the fact that this passion is not one that'll easily suffer to be set aside.) I'm willing to do a lot, if it means I might, one day, write a small monograph that could be judged a worthy contribution to scholarship.

So we'll see. This summer I want to properly start myself on learning German and Italian, with Latin if I can manage it. Odds are against me finding employment, so I'll likely have time, if not money. And the backlog of books on the Unread shelves deserve some attention before I saunter off to learn Greek in foreign places (cash and situations permitting).

So, yeah. I'm feeling remarkably mellow and optimistic regarding my place in the world. That'll last all of a few days, I imagine, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I can has cramps.

Do not want.

Wake me if the world starts ending more rapidly than usual, k?
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
I can has cramps.

Do not want.

Wake me if the world starts ending more rapidly than usual, k?
hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
It's impossible to work when this is the first properly warm day of the year. Fifteen degrees! Sunshine! Shorts weather!

So I went for a painful twenty-minute run on one of the beaches - about a mile and a half, I think - enjoying the pleasant shocking warmth all the way. And there was paddling. The sea's still quite cold. Then there was food at the good local food place, and there was an encounter with a very friendly tabby kitten who's going to grow up into a gorgeous cat. (I wanted to abduct him. He was very friendly.)

And now there is staring out my window at warmth and sunshine and blue skies and green grass.

That was a long winter. I don't think I quite realised how long until now.

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