Time flies, space midges etc

A whole fortnight since I last posted! That will never do.

It’s been a steady couple of weeks. The Monday I met all my poetry compatriots – about 8 others in this semester’s seminar, with a couple more hanging around, plus the 40-60 others doing prose and screenwriting, and had a lovely time devouring the free wine laid on for us (and then afterwards a select few went for Chinese, which was good.) The second Monday was my first seminar, which went well, and bodes well for the rest of the course. I’m contracted to write a poem a week, but I find I’m doing a couple of others on the side as well, which brings my average up startlingly from “once in a while”.

Talking of writing on the side, I’m going to be putting stuff in The Manchester Review from time to time, because it’s a good discipline and the opportunity is there. My first piece is on the Welcome to Night Vale live show, and it is here. I went to that basically because again, the opportunity is there, and while I haven’t the spare cash or the time to follow up on every delight in this city, especially alongside all the literary events of an evening that are an unofficial part of the degree, when I can I will, and when I do it’s good to write about it because I’ve never been a diarist and this is probably better.

Literary events wise, it’s been fairly light so far, just Verbose last Monday under my belt. It was a bit of a weird one – I’m fully intending to do as many open mikes as possible, so I can actually work up to being good at them, not to mention write poems that work there – but I was thoroughly underprepared for this one (I was a reserve who got bumped up to being the last on) and so it didn’t go so well. Still, onwards and upwards – when I sort my life out a bit (hahaha) I’ll get on the gigging poet lark like nobody’s business.

As far as sorting life out goes, next week is gonna be filled with obtaining gainful employment and having nice conversations with the University over fees. I’m starting to feel a bit more grounded now, have got some idea who and where my friends are, what’s in the city, what time I’m expected to spend on the MA, so it’s a better time to sort it now than when I’ve been dropped in fresh and new. I’ve already applied for a tuition job, which I’m not likely to get far on, but it’s interesting that I’ve gone for it considering how far I’ve been running from any kind of tuition work. I’m also intending to get some sort of portfolio together and go for some writing work, but mostly it’s gonna be a week of ringing people up and thrashing around CVs.

In between the Mondays and the writing, it’s just been fairly steady, getting basics together such as scouting out supermarkets and introductory lectures, figuring out what books would be helpful, that sort of thing. Plus, finding time to actually go out and have some fun. It isn’t Fresher’s Week if you’re a postgrad, more the realisation that as soon as the work starts it will not stop, and if you don’t have fun and meet people before then it will not happen during, since you can only really afford to do so once a week and that’s assuming you have friends to do it with (which you won’t if you don’t make them when you can). In this, I’ve succeeded in getting a couple of different groups of friends who do a variety of sorts of things, and I’m sure I’ll make more once I’m out on the poetry circuit, so that’s one major worry set aside.

There’s a lot less pressure on the friends thing than there was back when I was a fresher, too. Rather than being in this weird anonymous residential block, I’m in a nice house with people who are going to be playing D&D with me come 6pm, so that’s a definite upgrade from anything I had either as an undergrad or as a working adult (the HatchPalmer house in my interim period still winning out overall, though, despite the weirdness of being a long-term temporary resident). Plus, rather than the five or six people who liked me at all I had when I went to uni, now I’ve got pockets of them all around the shop, which is better for your psychological wellbeing, and makes making new friends much easier. Plus, I can visit them, and they’re here occasionally too – just yesterday I saw Miss Charlotte Brown, who was stewarding an incredibly strange contemporary theatre event at the MMU arts centre, which was a lovely surprise.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t note with excitement approaching glee that Doctor Who is back, and the new Muppet TV series has started and is actually good. Between that, the cat books of Tom Cox, Wittertainment (so very far behind), Cool Ghosts, Shut Up and Sit Down, and the multiple podcasts I’m plowing through, I am keeping informed and entertained throughout this shifting and uncertain time. And my newfound student status means I just got Amazon Prime free for the next six months, so there might be something there. Here’s an affiliate link that I feel a bit guilty about posting, turning this blog post into a cheap platform for advertisements, if you are so inclined: link.

So yeah, so far, steady but good. Plans for the coming month: be more rigorous with my time, get some different clothes because rocking the white t-shirt look has lost all its appeal and is not winter-friendly, read more, do more (the lit festival approaches so that won’t be a bother) and play more guitar, I’ve been neglecting it. I’m off to cross some more things off today’s to-do list. Talk soon.

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