Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Publishing again.

I've got an article and a review in the latest Marginalia. It is the 2006 Cambridge year book so all the articles are MPhil essays recommended by faculty. Mine is the one I was working on a year ago to be handed in at the beginning of January.

Online journals have a funny status in academia. Some people say they wouldn't have them on their CV. But I'm quite happy to have published a few articles online. At this stage in my career (where I'm not sure I've got a 'c' let alone an 'areer') it's good to get things to a wider audience.

Anyway, click the link and it'll make the Marginalia website look *really* popular!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

LJ and blog

Since I started LJing, this blog has ground to a resounding halt. I think LJ has won out because of the community aspect: I have friends on LJ who read and comment on my posts just as I read and comment on their post.

However, I needed my username for Blogger to be able to post on another site and realised I should update it, not least because the previous entry contains good news which is now out-of-date. The novel I was so positive about in February has recently been the cause of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. My redrafting has not achieved what the agent wanted and so I'm left wondering what to do next. I'm going to allow a few weeks of space between the email which broke this news to me and the impulse to tear into the manuscript and rewrite. I think I still believe in the novel... it's just not quite ready yet.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Things happen

The past couple of weeks have been a blur of things happening. My novel found itself an agent, lovely Karolina at ICM. It all happened so quickly and easily that it was quite unbelievable; after all, we're constantly told how difficult it is to find an agent and to get the publishing process started. Karolina had some interesting ideas about developing the narrative, so I wrote another 15ooo words in 6 days last week and kept on waking up at 3.30 am with a thought about structure or an idea for the beginning.
It was quite hard to concentrate on the MPhil stuff. But I wasn't the only one with a wandering mind. My best friend (Ruth) has become affianced after her boyfriend proposed on 'pretend Valentine's day'!! She now has a platinum and diamond distraction weighing down her left hand...
But yesterday, we found out that we both got distinctions for our first coursework essays. Being slightly neurotic perfectionists, we were worried we hadn't done well enough, that our distinctions were only borderline. Then some of our other friends told us to get a life!
On the medical front, I've been having a few worries waiting for the tests to come through from the QE. I now have a date for the Echo and the possibility that the exercise test might be on the same day. The nadir of that worry was when the consultant's secretary told me that 'most of our patients are in and out of A & E while waiting' ... super. Something's rotten in the state of cardiology when there isn't enough money to get people seen before they clock up expensive visits to other parts of the NHS.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


A friend recently asked the question 'do you hear the voice of narration when you read?'

Generally I don't: I think I go too quickly for the words to be formed fully by a voice. But I have noticed that when reading the work of someone I know (whether from real life or from the radio!), I can hear their voice in the narrative. In fiction, this has been most profound when reading novels by Melvyn Bragg whose voice is so distinctive on radio 4, and by Caron Freeborn, whom I know well. Caron's narrative technique is particularly concerned with the recreation of idiom so perhaps consciousness of sound is not surprising when reading her work.

Today I'm reading some literary criticism by a man who used to be professor of Medieval and Renaissance lit here so I remember his voice from lectures. It feels as though he is talking about Gower to me himself!

PS I am aware of the bus effect with my blog: you wait a month for a post to arrive... then two come at once :-)

Tea leaves

I just had a tea leaf incident: my special tea boule opened as I pulled it out of my mug... lapsang leaves every where. But I'm quite proud of myself: I managed a rescue effort involving another tea strainer, two more cups and a sink. Tea equilibrium was thus restored.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

You can't please all of the people...

so, rather stupidly, I asked two different professors for advice on my prototype PhD proposal. Unfortunately their comments are diametrically opposed ("concentrate on central texts" "choose something obscure rather than a central text which has been overdone" etc etc). Now I'm just confused, wondering perhaps whether my idea was any good in the first place. At least I now know that there is no point writing a proposal to aim to please a panel of people: there will never be unanimity.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

2006 has arrived. It came in quietly for me, at home revising some writing that I've been doing. With it has come the pressure of a couple of deadlines: the first (on 16th Jan) is for my PhD proposal; the second (the following day) is for my first coursework essay for the MPhil.

The essay seems to be going OK, but with the week I'll be spending in Michigan, I don't have much time to work on it before it is due in. So tomorrow I'll be in the UL checking a few words in the obscure dictionaries in the Reading Room. Top of the list are 'testamentum' and 'bereth' from the Medieval Latin and Hebrew dictionaries, which are apparently all on one wall to the left of the room, so I'll have to retreat there for most of the morning....

The proposal needs a different kind of work. I've got something written, which two of my supervisors have looked at, and criticised, and now... I need to reconcile what they have said with my ideas, and try to figure out what my ideas actually are. Ugh.

So it'll be a busy few days before I set off for Heathrow to visit Katie in Michigan.