AN OPERATIC WEEK

Aroldo

It really does feel like I am spending all my time in a theatre. And it’s marvellous.

Yes, I am aware of how much energy is sapped and how I feel so unfit because my limbs ache when I do the usual daily walking et cetera – but these are the risks I chose when I desired to be a performer. My entire schedule is squiffed towards what I can do whilst I am confined to a green room and dressing room.

Well, ‘confined’ is perhaps too strong a word. But it does mean that the stage takes priority when it comes to working out how my week goes this week. I have responsibilities, and there is no way I will not uphold them.

One thing I know – or I like to hope in any case – is that the final photos will be glossy and glorious. Working on such a big stage with proper lighting and management leads to some great I know because I’ve seen it on the monitors.

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If my phone had not given up on me/y’all, I would happily have shared more photos on my Instagram… Instead, here’s a blurry-as-shots-come webcam photo of my as an Essex girl just before Friday’s dress rehearsal.

The opening night is tomorrow and I’m as worried as the obsessive perfectionist. I feel like I am aware of the little pieces that need tweaking and the acting and singing that I could be pushing myself to make even better. We had some costume adjustments for the final act – which, without giving away too much of the artistic direction – is a complete u-turn from the previous three acts, visually and socially. For anybody who knows the history of Verdi’s opera Aroldo and its previous manifestation as Stiffelio, they clue is in the additions Aroldo made on Stiffelio.

But anyway, this means that costumes have had to be changed, and with that comes an uncertainty about whether they will be there in time, whether – and, of course, whether I will have time to acquire the necessaries of my own costumes. Most have been provided, but then there are the little things that one needs to consider. For instance, in the first act, the ladies wear a lot of makeup, and of course I am set constantly wondering if what I have done is enough or even correct.

But we continue on. There is time. Even with the opening night coming up, I still have time before the performance itself to do a final costume check, tune myself up, and go back through a listing of the dance moves. Those crazy dance moves…

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There are still tickets left if you’re around in London the 20th-25th March (ie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday this week), 7pm at Stratford East Royal Theatre. You can get tickets here:

http://www.stratfordeast.com/wh

So, What is Up With My Phone?

I used  to think following a blog schedule was the most accessible way for me to keep blogging, but lately it has been a hindrance rather than a help, as the mind strays not only to uni and essay style posts. Not to mention the absence of inspiration for posts to share, or anything more than ordinary in my work.

Or an adequate camera for my plans.

Alas, this is becoming a regular occurrence for me. My phone is getting up to its fouth year of life now, and the life-force it demands is more than what is worth it for me to maintain. Furthermore, if the camera of the camera-phone was a highly pixelled device in the first place, it no longer is. Because technology advances so swiftly nowadays, what was a good camera is no longer satisfactory in my mind.

Basically, my phone is feeling its age, which, coupled with a problematic sim in the first place, has impeded the way I have worked with it; and it is becoming something with which I am less keen now to work. For instance, all photo quality aside, I’ve also had trouble actually taking the photos when my phone memory – despite my settings being geared towards save on the external SD card – is getting filled up From what I have experienced, there is no way to rid myself of this. My temporary data will not be removed, and that leaves me with space that is rapidly filling, no matter what I remove from my SD card.

So, no photos. Little data when I have the wifi. And barely any access to my own phone-dependent messages. My phone…has reached its little limit to its life.

To be honest, I won’t shed a tear when I don’t have to use it again. It will always be good to have a change before finding myself in a new normal.

So, for now I’ll keep pootling along, but I cannot guarantee a photo of the week like I used to. It’s no fun when the quality is not there.

Photo of the Week: Sappy

So, because of the faults with my Instagram app, lucky y’all get photos that would otherwise have been first given there.

Including this sappy collection (well, two) of cards I’m beginning to accumulate on my mantelpiece, featuring a me in the background. Yay, for mirrors! (Sarcasm) Clearly not the best of shots, but sometimes one has to make do with the bone one is thrown.

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Quick Takes: Two Weeks

I fully meant to be part of the blog-hop last week, but, somehow, it escaped me, and this I guess this is a culmination of last week’s and this week’s adventures.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

I must say it every week, but my time is being swept away from me now, though not necessarily in a bad way. This week, I mostly focused on my schooling. Plus, I’ve not done that much.

~2~

Though, of course, it was the obligatory All Saints Day on Tuesday (1st) and Newman House, the university Chaplaincy in London held a beautiful Mass with the Bishop presiding. It was all very exciting.

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The Bishop also blessed the new cross out the front of Newman House.

~3~

As it was, I chose not to do anything for Hallowe’en. I’m not much into deliberate drinking when there’s nothing to do or no point, and I have never been into asking for gifts door-to-door. Besides, getting a costume together is something I don’t have the time for, nowadays. Everything is just too complicated at the moment.

~4~

I’ve had experimental participant credit to gather, and it recalls to me my days as a first and second year undergrad. There’s a certain vulnerability at being a participant or other people’s research, particularly if it counts towards a mark or their degree. Nevertheless, within that vulnerability of stepping into something created by someone else, for all that we are ignorant, is an inspiration for my own work. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential experiments one could create to test for all sorts of unique aspects of humanity.

~5~

Tomorrow sees me for the third year at Steampunks in Space, the unique convivial in Leicester Space Centre. With astronomy and space having always been one of my favourite sciences, I love that we get to explore this museum and its exhibits whilst also in some of our best garments.

~6~

Have I been editing? Well, yes, I have. Cathy’s now in Italia, which I suppose is progress, even if I can echo the sentiments I made on Monday about NaNoWriMo.

~ 7~

Cathy opened her eyes one at a time. Dull afternoon clouds, grey-tinged, yet exhausted now of their rain, lay above her. A second passed before she realised that the world looked sickly due to certain goggles pinching the bridge of her nose.

She willed herself to whip them off, but her arms ached. A thousand bruises pinned them to her sides.

House Moving and Procrastination

Sorry I have been shamefully quiet this last week. It looks like I was more able to post when I was out of the country (in Poland for the World Youth Day) than when I have been here in England with my laptop and time to my disposal.

There have been a few factors orchestrating this virtual absence – and the least of them, for once, is not having the time or knowing what to write. I could have posted about anything, and I should have, but my own self got in the way.

Firstly, though, there have been some developments in my non-writing work. That is, I moved to London to get settled into my student lodgings for the time I need to be in London for my Masters in Linguistics. I’m in the capital! It’s kind of scary…

Not much has happened so far, apart from unpacking, shopping, and cracking the wifi code. Cough… I’ve also been planning my next Steampunk outfit for the Lincoln Asylum in a couple of weeks. I’d like to say that I’m going to write a post about my experiences at the biggest Steampunk festival, but signs point to that being unlikely…

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Oh, and making friends with the resident cats. Boop.

Then I journeyed up to Leeds for some personal matters and exploring the surrounding areas. I didn’t know how long I was going to stay up there, but two days turned into three easily. The problem is: when I stay with my partner, I find his dad’s place a difficult place to concentrate on work. Sure, I did some research (not writing-or uni-related) I was hoping to do and got a couple of chapters of Metropolitan Magic written. But none of the writing is serious.

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My partner making an idiot of himself, as usual.

Which brings me to my other point for why my progress with writing has been slow… I haven’t felt emotionally up to editing. I want to edit Horology, as it’s with Betas at the moment, but I keep putting other things first. I keep saying I’ll do it later when I know full well that I may not have a later. I am filling up my schedule so I don’t have to think about what is probably not so much a mammoth task as it feels to me.

I can’t shake it, though. I love writing, and it’s a great stress reliever, yet I don’t want to face the constant barrage of rewriting and knowing that my work may never be good enough to see in print. I think non-writers, those who ask that poison-to-writers question are you going to get published? don’t understand how much time, effort, and energy we put into our work. It’s not just writing, rewriting, and editing; it’s that over and over and over again. We have characters in our heads, ever-roaming, and we want their stories to be perfect – but the stories never will be. And everything we do is fruitless to change that.

It’s one thing to have a tough skin at the comments of others, and quite another to be sensitive enough to rip one’s own work apart.

I don’t know how I’ll proceed. Need to take some big breaths and take things slowly. Again. Until next time: pax.

What I Do at Uni: Exam Edition

This totally isn’t being posted out of order as the first in a series *shifty eyes* *grins* Well, I am in the slow slow process of writing a post about a typical(ish, as every day is different) day at my university, but I thought, having been in the middle of exam season – where activating neurons and working memory for revision inspires creative writing – I’d do a post about the way I revise.

Of course, everybody’s revision patterns are different – and this is me reporting as an early bird, as someone who does better at working and focusing during the early day, not the evening or even the afternoon.

7am-8am – wake up, or doze for half an hour. In this time, my brain starts to gear up, starts to plan the day: what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to eat, what I’m going to study and where.

8am-8.30 – get ready for the day. During the revision period, I tend to skip on makeup and even my contact lenses (these take time to do and often simply hamper my revision). On the other hand, I make time for making breakfast, for a bowl of porridge with water and a dash of salt. It’s not about keeping myself full; it’s about stopping my stomach growling in the low-murmur of the library.

By about 8.40 or 8.45, I start leaving for campus. My walk takes about fifteen to twenty minutes depending on the speed I walk, the weather, what I’m wearing, and my mood.

9-12am – I try for a full 3-hours of revision. Sounds barmy, perhaps, but I work better the more I focus on a continuous stretch rather than the suggested 40-minutes-breask-40-minutes. If I break, I get distracted too much to work.

Which is why I keep it to a three hour stretch. My aim every day is for a good 6-hour of revision in order to get the results I want. (I hope! 😮 )

At 12.30, I head for lunch, normally at the campus café. Here, I normally grab a falafel wrap along with my coffee. I am normally pretty hungry after my revision, so I might grab a cookie or a muffin to help fill me up.

Now, the afternoon is where my pattern gets a bit weird. It really depends on the day. This, I think, stems from the beginning of my revision this year where I was simultaneously working on my own revision timetable, whilst also going to revision seminars set up by my professors. These seminars would often be in the afternoon, about 2pm or 3pm, where my lunch-following 3 hours of revision thus was interrupted quite severely—not only by the hour of revision, but the at-least-10-minutes of the walking to (alone) the seminar room(s).

Sometimes, I will spend the afternoon in the café. My concentration has been partly shattered by the half-an-hour-to-hour-long lunch-break, so I work a little slower in the afternoon. The hustle and bustle of the café and of the campus union is comforting—it is the background noise I sorely need to help my working; otherwise, I get distracted by my own thoughts irrelevant to the matter.

Other times, I head home at about 3. That means I’ve had a good hour attempting to work on revision, and sometimes, I am in one of those days where three hours is the only amount of time I can spend revising. It really is just dependent on the days and all the little things in between. I try and finish my revision by 5, which would be some combination of six hours’ work. If I’m in the café, I can lose track of time and finish at 6 instead.

I try to start dinner by 6.30pm, so I am eating by 7.30 the latest where I have the hunger. And dinner at its longest is half an hour, so I try to have the washing up and kitchen tidying done by 8.30.

In the evening, I chill. After dinner is when I am least able to revise. My mind has spent its thoughts, its processes, and now just craves some amusement in the form of a film or a television program. When I’m revising, I don’t game as much. And, luckily, I don’t much crave to game when I’m revising.

What Sheldon said. xD I wish.

So, that’s me for now. That’s what I experience as a student in an English university.