Weathering My A-Levels

Weathering My A-Levels

I usually blog more often than this. To be fair, I usually write more than I have recently, too. I’ve had one of those weeks where I just don’t really feel up to doing much, so there’s been no thinking going on, and therefore no blog posts. It’s not exactly laziness or exhaustion or sadness – it’s kind of a conglomeration of the three, all wrapped up in stress and anxiety. Which makes finding things to say pretty difficult.

Right now, I’m sitting in my room wrapped in a blanket looking out at the rain coming down in sheets outside and thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not out there.” Like, I know you guys in America have a load of snow, but it’s freezing here. As I made my way home from school earlier, I found myself physically blown along the pavement when I attempted to stand at the bus stop, the wind like ice daggers in every inch of my skin. My super-warm aviator hat was stolen last January, so I had to improvise by wrapping my scarf around my face and ears. I haven’t been that cold in a very long time.

ninja miriam

Mostly, my double-breasted knee-length coat is enough to keep me pretty warm. It’s not exactly waterproof, but it tends to keep the worst of the rain off my clothes, and if I’m wearing a skirt it’ll ensure that only my tights need changing when I get home after a chilling journey. However, today I felt like the wind completely disregarded that layer, stabbing right through.

I can’t complain. Somerset is completely flooded. Cornwall is cut off. There are hardly any trains running because of flooded tracks, collapsed banks, damaged overhead wires, and all number of other issues. Compared to people in isolated areas, forced to evacuate their homes, I’m exceedingly lucky. Everything’s waterlogged and unpleasant, but at least my house is dry and mostly warm.

Tragically, despite the trauma that is travelling in these conditions (standing at the bus stop for ten minutes earlier made me want to cry), school goes ahead as normal. And it’s becoming apparent that if I want to achieve the grades I need for university, I’m going to have reorder my priorities.

man it is so coldI know, I know – I like to behave as though school isn’t a thing, as though I’m a fully functional adult, but actually, I’ve still got a few months left in full-time education. Admittedly not many, but they happen. The ultimate proof that I’m still confined to the limited existence of a teenager. At the moment, a cold teenager.

Just to help you build a picture of the situation, my top choice is to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Newnham College (University of Cambridge), for which I need to achieve A*AA in my A-Level exams, which take place in June. What with all my hand issues, my learning was pretty disrupted last term, and I’ve been ill so much since Christmas that I’m still catching up work, so I’ve got quite a lot of work to do. (And while I only need those three grades, I actually take four subjects plus an ‘Extended Project Qualification’, which is basically a research project.)

Priorities are really hard to deal with. I’m thinking: what makes me happy? but I have to balance that with whether or not it contributes towards the larger goal. Rewatching TV shows makes me happy, but it shouldn’t be an everyday activity. I have to consider how much time and energy things take, and whether they’re worth it. And I also have to think about the long term impact – as a writer, abandoning social media would be foolish as well as really hard.

Of course, writing is something I can’t live without, not least because I’m still writing the third draft of The Quiet Ones. It’s taken longer than any novel I’ve written before, but I’m drawing towards the end now. However, once I reach the end of the draft, I’m going to be taking a break from novels until after my exams, I think.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing, because that would be dumb. When I couldn’t write last summer, it was a traumatic experience – writing is how I deal with things. I’ll be working on St Mall’s book two (we’ll have a title for you soon), some poetry, and a few smaller projects. Like maybe finally updating those fanfics I started writing as an experiment. That ought to be enough to keep my brain ticking over: it helps that I don’t have a fully-plotted or researched novel begging to be written.

After my wonderful betas have given me feedback, I’ll also probably work on more edits for The Quiet Ones, which I hope to query in the summer, maybe August. We’ll see how all that works out.

I don’t just write fiction – there’s blogging. You guys are important to me. This isn’t just a promotional tool, it’s been a way for me to make friends over the last five years, as well as my own personal soapbox for issues I feel passionately about. It’s been a platform for dissent, debate and discussion. And I also intend to contribute some more to the St Mallory’s blog, which Charley kick-started again last week.

ninja againHowever, unlike January (when I binged on blogging), most probably my posts won’t be more frequent than once a week. I might get inspired and write more than that, but I don’t want to promise anything I can’t deliver. Some of you may be glad that your inbox will be less cluttered, but others might miss my endless chatter, so you’ll be glad to know that I’m making a concerted effort to keep my Tumblr updated, even going as far as to set up a ‘queue’. If you’re interested in history, pretty swords, books, or mythology, that’s all on there.

Vlogging, however, is unlikely to be a priority over the next four and a half months. I have a couple of things that I’ve promised to upload, including a tutorial for my tin whistle version of the Doctor Who theme which I did in 2011, so I’ll put those up before long, but I may be conspicuously absent apart from that.

It doesn’t affect you, unless you need the information in order to stalk me, but my offline recreation is going to be focused on dance and, to a lesser extent, music. In my dance school’s production of Peter and the Wolf I’ll be dancing the role of the cat, and in our school musical, Fame!, I’m part of the dance troupe. Exercise is important because of my joint issues, so I have to make sure I keep those going. As for music, I have to learn to sing to have any hope of passing A-Level Music now that I can’t play the violin or flute, and I’ve also taken up the harp.

And of course, I’m reading books. Even well-adjusted people need to get out of their own head occasionally, which means folks like me are reliant on it. There’s no better way to escape than by losing yourself in fiction. I’m trying to vary it, though, and get some stuff read that’ll be useful as background knowledge either for my A-Level subjects or my university options. You can keep track of what I’m reading on Goodreads.

However, apart from that my focus is on learning and revising what I need to know to get the grades that’ll send me on my way to my dream course at my dream college at my dream university, and that is my priority. Okay, so learning how the subjunctive works in French might not be fun, but if it gets me to Cambridge…

I was gonna say it was worth it, but man, I really hate the subjunctive. Just why?

As a result, I might be a little more absent from the internet than I have been in recent times, but don’t worry, I’ll be back and blogging at full speed ahead come July. Technically, my exams are all in June, but with two shows to dance within the first two weeks of July, I may have a few too many rehearsals to be all that active…

4 thoughts on “Weathering My A-Levels

  1. I love everything about the word “conglomeration”. Sounds good. Looks good. Happiness.
    But I AM SAD YOU WON’T BE POSTING SO MUCH. :'( I will miss it! I love your posts. I think you’re very witty and talented, and the sheer amount of STUFF you do exhausts me just reading about it. Good luck. With that interesting sounded French subjunctive. Sounds scary. *shudders* And I hope The Quiet Ones is coming along nicely. :)

  2. Just wanted to let you know I bought your poetry book for my Kindle! :) You can count on me reading it ASAP and leaving a review!

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