This week, many things happened. Mostly I use my blog as a soapbox for whatever argument I want to present, or an exploration of something specific, but today I decided, “Nope. I’m going to talk about my life.” So here I am.
Though I warn you, it mentions politics. I know, it’s radical.
1. I voted for the first time.
I turned eighteen in January, even if I look far younger, and we had two elections on Thursday: the local election and the European election. When I went to collect my ballot paper, the guy at the desk told me I didn’t look old enough to vote, clearly thinking I was only there to accompany my parents. Yeah, thanks. I get that a lot.
As far as the local one was concerned, I was very aware that my vote probably meant nothing: I live in a securely Tory constituency, and we didn’t even have a local candidate for the party I most support (the Green Party). It was, in many ways, a meaningless compromise to make. I still voted, though — my childhood obsession with the suffragettes, who along with Florence Nightingale were fairly much my heroines as I was growing up, means I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I didn’t exercise the right that people died to give me.
Isn’t it hilarious that once upon a time I believed I wasn’t interested in politics? Like, seriously, I was genuinely fascinated by the Votes For Women movement most of the way through primary school.
The results aren’t out for the European election yet — and we actually had a Green candidate for that — so we’ll have to wait and see what happened with that one. A lot of people seem to think voting is pointless, either because they think a single vote will make no difference, or because they believe that all the parties are just as bad as each other. But when I was writing this week, one of my characters said:
“I’ll remain silent when it doesn’t matter to me what happens”
For me, that kind of summed up how I felt about it. This is a country I live in, and I don’t want to see it represented by the xenophobic, homophobic and misogynistic politicians that form the bulk of UKIP, who won an alarming number of seats in local elections. Maybe I can’t make a difference, but every time I don’t vote for UKIP, I’m counteracting somebody who did. ;)
(I’m really hoping you all saw the glory of the hijacked #whyimvotingukip hashtag on Twitter. It was fabulous.)
2. I finished writing the second draft of the first book in the Death and Fairies series.
It really needs a title, because that sentence took way too long to type.
Writing this book felt, at times, like a drag. My habit of writing quickly means when I’ve been writing something for more than about five or six weeks, it feels like an eternal chore that will never be over. Fortunately, there’s a way of curing those blues: get a beta reader to fangirl over two of your characters, and you’re instantly motivated to carry on, just to see their reaction.
I finished the book last night and sent the final chapters to Tori, who has been beta-reading it for me. (Not to be confused with the Tories, aka the Conservatives, because I don’t think they’d like it very much. It’s probably too critical of social hierarchies and class divides to conform to their political ideals…)
Her reaction entertained me hugely, even if after reading her comments I knew there was an outside chance that she’d never speak to me again. Well, it looks like the emotional impact I was going for did work after all, though I was sure that my rewrite had destroyed the emotions and it was going to be a pile of rubbish, so… I suppose I can count that as a success.
Throughout the writing process, I’ve adored having a beta reader who reacts in this kind of manner. Some betas are so restrained. It’s much more fun when they cry.
3. I revised for my A-Levels.
Which … isn’t hugely interesting for you, but I’ve been telling you about Operation ASNaC, so there’s no reason to stop now. I read through Tess of the d’Urbervilles again, which prompted my last post, and annotated it properly this time. I confess, though, that my comments became increasingly frustrated and sarcastic as the novel progressed, mostly involving insults directed at Angel Clare, Alec d’Urberville, or Hardy himself.
I feel very strongly about that book, and they are not strong positive feelings.
While reading Phase the Seventh, I was listening to a playlist I created for a novel about a year ago, and the song Redemption by Frank Turner came on. It seemed to fit Angel’s mentality so perfectly that I was reminded of the exercise one of my former English teachers used to set us, to try and find a song to fit each character within the text we studied. I’m not sure what I’d give to Tess, but I’m leaning towards Song In This Book by The Jane Austen Argument for Alec…
And now I’m tempted to waste my life going through all my English Lit texts and finding songs for everyone. So that’s a form of productive procrastination in itself.
4. I got new glasses and a haircut.
So I can see, because I no longer have hair in my eyes or glasses designed for somebody more long-sighted than astigmatic as opposed to more astigmatic than long-sighted, which apparently is what I now am. The poem Astigmatism that’s included in Crossroads Poetry seems appropriate more than ever — though in truth, the poem works just as well as an exploration of the impact of my hand problems on my writing as a reflection on my eyesight, if it weren’t for the fact I wrote it a few months before I killed my hands. So, it’s multi-purpose.
5. I watched the Hannibal season two finale.
And now I regret everything and my life is sad.
So, it’s been a busy week. I’m glad to have finished D&F book one, because it’s been weighing on me — I’ve been writing it for almost two months, and for a second draft that seems like a long time to me. The process has been somewhat disrupted, too, due to school and exams and all that. Now that it’s done, though, I’m really going to focus on working and not writing.
In the summer I’ll be tinkering with The Quiet Ones a bit further, polishing it and proofreading it and trying to think of a better title, and then with any luck I’ll be querying in August/September, which should be fun. In the meantime, I’m hoping that Charley will send me the latest copy of St Mallory’s book 2, so that I can procrastinate by contributing to that.
But for now, I need to stop blogging and get on with revising for exams. My status as Queen of the ProcrastiNation will not get me to Cambridge.