Alright, so, last you heard I was gallivanting about, having a generally wonderful time on vacation. That is now firmly in the past.
The semester started on Monday the 9th, but my first class was on Tuesday the 10th. My option course for this semester is American Fiction of the 1930’s. While this may seem like an odd choice in relation to my Fantasy program, I believe that it will speak to themes from Decadence and the Modern from last semester as well as themes and concerns addressed in fantasy texts. I want a varied approach in order to push the boundaries of existing discourse. I can’t make new connections using the same tools and texts as everybody else.
My AmFic class is run by Dr. Laura Rattray, and she is absolutely lovely. My class has 9 students and we all fit in Dr. Rattray’s office around a cozy table. Dr. Rattray provides tea and biscuits at break time and so far the conversations have been interesting and engaging for all of us. For the first class I read The Day of the Locust by Nathanial West, week 2 was They Shoot Horses Don’t They? and I Should Have Stayed Home by Horace McCoy. This past Tuesday was Josephine Jonhnson’s Now in November and Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I really enjoyed They Shoot Horses and Now in November, am alright with Locust and Home, and I couldn’t care less about Grapes. I recognise the merits of all of the books, our discussions were interesting and persuasive, but I’m just not feelin’ Grapes. Sorry.
In Fantasy Core Course Two, we’re looking at Fantasy from 1950-present. We started, of course, with LOTR, because how are you going to start a modern Fantasy discussion without starting with Tolkien? My friend Bettina gave a really cool presentation on the importance of the songs and poems in the texts, and provided examples connecting particular styles and themes/contents to the different races of Tolkien’s universe. Week 2 we looked at C.S.Lewis’s The Silver Chair which is the 4th book of the Chronicles of Narnia. In conjunction with that we looked at Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series and I presented on the nature of the controversy and contentions Pullman has with Lewis’s work. This past Thursday we did Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea sequence. Nobody presented, but Dr. Maslen had more than enough to say to make up for that.
So, classes themselves have been great. Outside of that, however… some things have gone better than others. For starters, we had a non-drill fire evacuation at 7:45 in the morning on the 13th. What a way to start that Friday. The day got infinitely better though, because the Fantasy cohort met up for a LOTR extended movie marathon. Now, I know you’re thinking, ‘Carrianne, did you not just do that two weeks ago for Christmas?’ and you’d be absolutely correct. HOWEVER, one does not simply say no to a LOTR marathon, especially when it was the set text/series for your masters program the day before.
The major downer that has soured weeks 2 and 3 a bit happened Tuesday the 17th, on the way home from AmFic. The short of it is that I have a severe sprain of the tendon that connects my ankle to my foot. Because this is at least the 3rd time I’ve sprained my right ankle, and this time is the most severe, the ER folks are concerned that it will take longer to heal and not heal as well as it might otherwise have done. They apparently don’t give people crutches because crutches don’t work? Whatever, they gave me a boot that looks like I could step on a mine and be okay, and due to socialized healthcare, my visit and boot were free. Although the discharge sheet says 3-5 weeks, the ER folks gave me a stern talking to about needing the boot on for 6 weeks due to severity. Pain wise, everything is awful and I hate it. The day after, Wednesday the 18th, Meg took me to go see La La Land in an effort to cheer me up. The movie was fun and I appreciated the thought, but by the time I got home I knew I couldn’t handle that much effort or pressure again for a while.
The first two weeks (1/17-1/31) I needed two paracetamol and two ibuprofin every four hours. After that I can dial it down to ‘as needed’ perhaps a morning dose and an evening dose. There are rules here about purchasing the drugs though, and I’m only allowed two packages per visit to the store. Each box only has 16 capsules, so I’m going through an alarming number of packages. I’ve been told to keep my foot elevated as much as possible, and to ‘walk as the pain allows,’ which here means ‘don’t fricken do it.’ I had planned on spending more time on campus this semester, studying or attending events, but I can’t afford having to take an uber or a taxi every single time back and forth. A new issue that has arisen in the past week is that my phone is not connecting to the network when I’m actually ON campus, and I’ve been having to limp/roll/walk down part of the hill in order to even ORDER a damn ride. I’m not loving that either.
Fortunately I did finally feel well enough to go out for an evening with Meg on the 27th. We went to Dragopticon at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, I believe the world’s oldest music hall from 1887! One of our favourite acts was listed to perform, and we just couldn’t miss it. You may remember that meg and I went to Queer Theory a while back and absolutely fell in love with Anna Secret Poet and her stuff. She was the reason we went to Dragopticon, and we were rewarded with a TON of great acts and performances. Here are some pictures, and a link to youtube with all the sets. Now we have even more names we’d love to see again!
This is Anna’s final number about her Star Wars pants! (British pants, folks, not trousers)
Amazingly, that about does it for January! Midterms are rapidly approaching over Valentine’s Day week, the boot won’t even be off until the last day of February, AND finals are closer than they appear. Last semester we had about 10 days after classes finished to write our finals, but this time finals are due on the Friday of our last week of classes. March 24th and the preceding week are going to be hell. The only light at the end of the tunnel is the arrival of Chels and Kim in April.
*** UPDATE*** MY DARLING FRIEND CAROLINE HOLDEN IS ENGAGED AND I AM HONORED TO ANNOUNCE THAT I WILL BE A BRIDESMAID AT HER WEDDING
LOOK AT HER, SHE’S BEAUTIFUL AND I’M SO HAPPY