Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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Quick Takes Friday: Bring on the Stress!

It’s time for Friday’s summary of the week. Hosted by This Ain’t The Lyceum.

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~1~

Exams: five down, zero to go.

Obligatory robot party gif.

~2~

“So, now you don’t have any exams, you have lots of free time, right?”

‘Nother misconception about students is that when we’re done with assignments and exams, we have nothing more to do. Not true. Currently, Alex is a busy bee, run off her feet, with so much yet to do with herself.

And, apparently, that makes her use third person…

~3~

The Itchy Feet event I’m helping to organise was on this coming Wednesday, so my free time was devoted to promoting that. Which is, frankly, scary, as it involves leaving the house and handing out flyers to strangers. Oh well. I need to up my performance confidence. I should make it a goal to stop flailing as I do things I actually love. Starting with cooking.

Itchy Feet Reading

~4~

I had three meetings today, of varying lengths and involvements, but all is adding up as work. My Psychology project for third year is beginning to be planned, but we’ve been unable to get hold of our supervisor, so it’s feeling like we’re in the middle of a lake without oars.

~5~

Did I mention that there was a Steampunk event last weekend? It wasn’t a big one, and revision meant I limited myself to one outing, but a Steampunk event is a Steampunk event nevertheless. The Sergeant and I travelled over to Frome in Somerset for a few hours of looking around the Steampunk market there and then around the small town. I may have popped into some charity shops for quick-spend clothes… No photos from me, sadly – as seems to be the unfortunate trend; and I’d love to vlog or video more steampunk outings – but my gentleman and I did snap a couple of selfies.

ChrisandAlexFrome

D’aww.

~6~

I’ve started editing again – didn’t much ease myself in, though, as I threw myself into Aidelle’s penultimate chapter whilst the Philosophy Society were busy with quiz and karaoke last night. The music in pubs these days is far too loud…

~7~

I’ve also been trying to enhance my imagery to make it more…unique to the novel.

Aidelle didn’t remember writing them, but her hand had decorated the page whilst Zara had been describing her life. It was as twisted as they were; more twisted than the pipes of a combustion engine. 


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7 Quick Takes About Contemplating Consciousness, Birthday Business, and Anticipating Arrivals

Oh, look ^^ alphabetic alliteration. :P Another Friday has crept upon me, but I am glad it is the end of the week. 7 Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum, and you can see the rest of the blog-hop participants there.

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

~1~

Exams: 2 down, 3 to go.

~2~

General poll for anyway passing who has an opinion: what is consciousness and how does it link to the concept of the mind?

Philosophy of Mind is proving a trickier module to revise, as I find myself falling into contemplation at every little question of the state of consciousness and how it ties into the actual question most philosophers are asking of whether and how the mind (or the mental) and brain (or the physical) are linked. I actually finally got myself to settle by asking my neighbour, who studies Systems Engineering and Cybernetics, and he gave me a satisfyingly empirical-evidence based answer that also involved squids. That will do nicely.

For now at least.

~3~

In Chamber Choir, we are cracking through Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C. Yesterday was quite a testing rehearsal for me, though, as I wasn’t on the game and got called out for at least three faults – and not even on the movement I didn’t know and was sight-reading on the spot. With my mental condition, it is moments like those that shock my confidence, which is only just beginning to revive me. I keep telling myself that others’ reassurance is irrelevant to how I view my singing, but after years of bullying for being a singer, I feel like I need to hide behind a crowd, rather than indulge my desires to be soloistic.

~4~

The Coronation Mass, as it is so elegant and summery. My personal favourite movement is the fourth, the Sanctus. I seem to have a soft spot for Sanctus movements in big choral pieces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NP_z6LmscI

~5~

For my birthday week, I’ve actually not being doing that much. Revision as a priority, and then I joined the rest of the Swing Dance committee for a few drinks after our Weds lesson, as it coincided with my birthday. It was nice, and I wouldn’t really have wanted to do much in any case. I am 20, and it is inconsequential.

~6~

The Boyfriend is joining me this weekend – squee – and we’re attending a Swing Dance workshop focusing on footwork and British Collegiate style variations. It’s an all-afternoon thing, so I’m a little nervous, but it should be a fun break, as I know most of the other attendees. *looks to the sky* I will leave my room! :P

~7~

I’m also doing a really mature thing and cooking dinner tonight. I have a frittata recipe I tested out (for one) last week, and it worked pretty nicely. I will be tweaking the recipe when I do it for two, but I reckon I can come up with something nice either way. Fingers crossed! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about university students is that we are always low on food (I always have too much food) and (okay, two biggest misconceptions) that we somehow fail at cooking or don’t like it. I definitely fall into the contrary of that.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!


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Quick Takes about Guided Prayer, Farmyard Frolics, and a Rule of Life for Next Year

Oh, hi, Friday, come here often? Haha, the week has passed so quickly with the everything and nothing I’ve been doing.

seven quick takes friday 2

~1~

Guess what I’ve been doing this evening?

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My Neuroscience revision is coming together for my exam next week, and that occasionally involves painting a silver squishy/stress ball brain with various colours to represent neurology pathways, such as the somatosensory cortex, the Fusiform Face Area (not shown), and the superior temporal sulcus.

~2~

Reading Uni has been running a Week of Guided Prayer this week, which has been a nice change. It involved half an hour of prayer a day I experienced a relaxing, calming pace of prayer and talked about women in the Gospels with my guide, where we both discovered more about the passages and people that we hadn’t realised through solo reading of the gospels. God also opened my eyes to the interplay between prayer and work; I can take half an hour out of my revision and my day, and yet I am still able to focus on my revision – more so at times!

~3~

It was the General Election in Britain this week. I did contemplate writing a post about it (in fact, how badly some of my friends had reacted to the news on social media rather upset and/or aroused my opinion), but, in the end, there is no point in complaining about people who are complaining, as that would make me as bad as them.

But we could have done worse than another Conservative government, and the result is no one’s fault (especially not the general public’s!), but a reflection of a plutocratic norm that has existed for centuries. I think that the only way to avoid a situation like this would be to convert back to a society of skill-and-gain exchange.

~4~

But back to happier things. This afternoon, as part of the Union’s relaxation/distressing regime to ease us from our exams, they brought in a selection of farmyard animals and cute pets for us to handle. I got to hold a bunny, guinea pig, and stroke various other cutesies. A lovely distraction from work and way to release those natural endorphins.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

More photos on Monday – unless I find something better over the weekend for my photo of the week.

~5~

 As well as the evening talks/workshops for the Week of Guided prayer, Wednesday evening saw a meeting of my house group for next academic year. We signed the official contract last week, and we moved in in July, so that is all very exciting. There are four of us, and we plan to make our house a Christian community, a Chapter House for those wanting to pray together, eat together, and discuss scripture together. We started this this year, but it has been non-residential, out of the kitchen of the Chaplaincy assistant, so the residence-ness is a big step, and we were meeting to discuss our Rule of Life: our way of living as a community, including how much time we were giving to community work, social work, and Chapter House feedback.

It was an enlightening experience – we spent an hour in full discussion, and I didn’t realise there was so much to be considered – but a rewarding meeting. Just that meeting, imagine! I can’t wait to start living out our plans for faith living.

~6~

Again, nothing to report on the writing or editing side of life. I had a cracking vivid dream yesterday about the eldest of a collection of siblings – most of whom are twins, but he isn’t – who has to solve a life-size, Indiana-Jones-like-exploration puzzle (starting as a Where’s Wally/Waldo game) to reveal family secrets. I hold off from writing or planning it, because I know I will become immersed if I do. Story of my life.

I almost did this evening, but then my revision took my mind and left me a shell, waiting for the time for inspiration. It’s now 11.30 and later, so I have run out time.

~7~

I leave you with a quote from Hosea, the fancy image found on He is Our Strong Tower:

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How apt for the start of my exams. Pray for me, that God gives me the wisdom, insight, and determination I need to power on through my revision, my birthday (yeah, that’s totally a thing I keep forgetting), and the rest of May.

God bless. Have a lovely weekend and a good following week.


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7 Quick Takes about Pushing through Exams, Carol Massing, and Twitter Pitching

Term is over! Let’s take a moment to flail about like 150-year-old musical automatons, then we can get back to the post.

7 Quick Takes Friday is now hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

~1~

Wondering why I’m doing so much flailing for simply finishing my academic work? Well, today I had an exam (which I found out is worth 35% of the module), yesterday I had an exam, Monday I had an exam. Oh, and I had two essays due in for Thursday. I have been off-my-feet-in-work busy this week, and it is such a relief to be able to get back to writing work again. Hence, why I don’t intend to go back to my pre-uni accommodation for another week or so. I need to catch up with my own life first.

~2~

Conversely, this week has been such a boost for my singing. Not to mention that The Tea Sergeant and I work wonders on each other’s self-confidence. Without saying too much for his sake, I’ll simply add that there are bizarrely striking similarities between Chris and I and the characters Lucas and Andrea from my romance novel Triangle.

Will Lucas and Andrea end up together?

~3~

I also believe this week has been warming for my faith. I sang the psalm for the Carol Mass on Sunday, and, despite the tremolo that snuck into my voice, I got a few compliments, particularly for my use of intensity/volume, afterwards. I may forget to pray or read the Catechism every day, but I know God has already forgiven my falling short. More so, I’m more readily trusting what He is doing for me. As part of a Bible studies/ecumenical faith group I attend, I wrote down at the beginning of term what I was really pining for, and, out of the unlikeliness, He offered me the positive escape from the pain I have been feeling from the last couple of years.

~4~

Remember I mentioned last week that the Chamber Choir were singing carols for the campus winter wonderland? Reading Uni TV (RUON) uploaded their video summary of it. I am in one frame in my lovely purple coat. :P (At 1.40 if you’re interested.)

~5~

Other than that, I haven’t had the time for much else. We had our Swing Dance Christmas social on Wednesday – a social which, despite the name, involved no dancing. It was fun to get to know a little more about the other members of the society. And I was flattered by suggestions of my age as old as 25! xD

~6~

No weekly writing update, due to the aforementioned stuff, but I have been working on my Twitter pitches. WTCB is kind of making me proud.

~7~

Christmas is shockingly soon. It crept up on me. Do you know what your writer wants? Young writer Lucy Saxon offers some ideas.

Ooh, weird and shiny things. :)

Until next time, friends. Have a lovely weekend.


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7 Quick Takes Friday about completing exams, dancing swing, and the exciting Pentecost

Join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for the 7 Quick Takes Friday weekly segment.

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

~1~

My academic exams are officially over today for the year! My last was yesterday morning, Developmental Psychology, which…could have gone a whole lot better, if I’m being honest. The essay question(s) were bafflingly broad, and I was unable to include any of the Cognitive Gender Theory I’d researched for revision. Nevertheless, my June will not be absent of things to do. I’ve only just started planning and organising my time and the extra-curriculae are filling up the days already.

~2~

<Unnamed Steampunk Short> is finally coming together as I round the 10K mark. I promise I’ll give it a name once I’ve finished the first draft, but nothing I come up with so far fits in that just right sense. The Title Mistress has lost her spark, I’m afraid. One problem with naming Steampunk fiction is that published stories have already taken a lot of the wittier/appropriate names, such as Windup Hearts. Since my story has a romantic line through it, I was hoping for a name along that vein (no pun intended!), but I shall have to rethink my plan.

perf6.000x9.000.indd

~3~

Tuesday’s swing dancing was fun, if a notch tiring. The music drew away from swing music shortly before I left, and I didn’t get as much dancing in as I would have liked, but little I could’ve done about that. Next time.

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~4~

On the downside, my left ankle now bears a stupidly painful from-impact bruise from where I jumped down some stairs last night and landed awkwardly. This is why I don’t call my sporadic moments of energy and wall scaling ‘parkour’!

~5~

I finished Part One of my Catechism challenge, and, whilst I’m not yet halfway through the book, I beam at my achievement every time I think of it. Reading the Catechism has definitely deepened my faith, even if only in that way one gains knowledge and, with it, confidence incrementally.

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~6~

I’ve been praying the nine-day Pentecost Novena, which finishes Sunday 7th. I only learnt of the Novena on Sunday (it started on Friday 30th), but the priest gave out small, instructional cards, which I’ve been following.

Novena_AlexB

~7~

This Sunday is my confirmation! It’s more exciting than words can describe when I finally engage full with the Catholic Church and consume a consecrated host for the first time. My mother is coming down and the chaplaincy is holding a barbeque afterwards for all. And there will be cake (*leaves to buy eggs*).


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Photo of the Week: Summer

Flowers! Everybody likes flowers – well, I do, a lot, so here is another picture I took last week of a yellow rose beside the road. It really is summer now.

 Summer

 

It was my last exam today! Woo! Now I can concentrate on writing!

Got my final jabs today as well for travelling in a couple of weeks, making my arms a little stiff. ;) It’s been a busy day.


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Why Blogging is Awesome (and Useful for School)

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There are loads of reasons provided for why writers should have blogs – expanding into the community, meeting new people, really getting a feel for their style, but last week I realised that in the year I have been blogging, something has become better due to my blogging that steps away from writing in the fictional sense.

I’m talking about essays.

For all of my A Level subjects – Latin, Religious Studies and Psychology – I am forced to provide ideas, evidence and conclusions in a time-constraint, for RS in under 45 minutes (but then I have four consecutive essays to write), for the other two, under 30 minutes.

Yes, it’s tight. Yes, it takes a great deal of practise to get those skills honed for

Let's hope this isn't me in an exam!

Let’s hope this isn’t me in an exam!

the stress of an exam. Yes, it hurts one’s hand after a while, after all the scribbling.

But it was so much more difficult last year.

I believe that crafting my opinions and ideas on this blogs, especially to the unusual extent that I have in the last few months, has not only widened my mind to think about the topics I’m interested in more regularly and thoroughly, but I believe that blogging is also helping me in my exams. Exam technique is composed of many different ‘legs’ – one of which is the flow of an essay. You know – that little under-remark saying “marks are awarded for the quality of your writing”. When I was younger, it used to be as obvious as “3 marks for spelling, punctuation, grammar”.

Now we simply have to guess what it is that the examiners want. They call it making the exams tougher, but I think it’s just rewording items so that marks are more difficult to award.

Blogging, for me, is basically talking to a computer screen through my fingers. That is, it is helping me expand on my use of the English language to I know that, before I started blogging, my writing was stuck on the sentence structure of finite verb, participle. And it was a bit bland. Through many of the outlets of blogging, my writing has taken on a bit more of a voice…I hope.

This ‘talking through my fingers’ has been helping me with the way I structure my exams. Whilst there could be the problem of being too colloquial, I think I’m okay on that account. Instead, I’m now taking the idea of talking in structure and applying it to strands of other people’s works.

Take, for example, my Latin Prose mock exam this afternoon: one question, to be answered essay style in half an hour, was along the lines of ‘How does Tacitus make the reactions to Nero’s daughter’s birth and death vivid?’*

I had been talking about Nero’s excess in celebrating his daughter so much that he treated her as a goddess after her birth. Now, the question – albeit implicitly – says that I must talk about both little Augusta’s life and death. Suddenly, I knew how to administer the switch using the theme of goddess that I had detailed upon in the previous two paragraphs. Without putting much effort into it, I switched to talking about Nero’s opinion after her death. Sorted.

bloggingHow do I know that I have blogging to thank for this? Simply because I have been honing the skill of flowing from topic to sporadic topic here – one might even say in this very post! Because my life revolves around so many different things, my mind jumps to another even when I am in the middle of one (this has resulted in many abandoned blog-posts, sorry); in this way, it is necessary for there to be some way of collecting up the pieces.

Blogging has just helped me tighten up the links between all of my favourite topics and theories!

 

*For more information on the text I am studying, see this external link.

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