Sunday, 29 November 2009

we don't want perfection, we want knitting.

I accidentally stayed out until 3am on Friday, got rather drunker than I intended (it just sort of hit me; one of those evenings, I suppose, where it inexplicably does) and was in an - let us be delicate and say an interesting state, when my family arrived on Saturday morning. Not awful, not even the worst this week, but I did have a cracking headache - unusual for me, I never get them - and hadn't had even nearly enough sleep. Thank the gods of hats and irn bru, anyway, because I survived, albeit rather narrowly.

It was an odd beast, the prospect of my family visiting; I love them but I don't really suffer from homesickness, for whatever reason, and could probably survive okay on the odd phonecall hither and thither. Some of my flatmates call home almost every day, but I just don't need to: I suppose I've always been allowed a lot of freedom, running off to London all the time from the age of about fifteen and Edinburgh when I was seventeen and Glasgow every new years, etc etc. But unlike a lot of my friends up here, I'm an only child, so my parents are able to come and see me because they sort of may as well, if that makes sense - they've not got a lot else on?

Anyway, the long and short of it is that we had a lovely time, a nice meal and I showed them (it was my mother and grandparents, by the by, interested parties) around a little. Most adorably of all, they brought me an utterly unexpected sort of "care package" - a big cardboard box filled with a few foods and useful things, some nice shower gel, lots of exciting tea and canned gin & tonics. How sweet is that?!

So currently, it is a Sunday night and I'm putting off doing my washing because it means going on the biggest walk ever to find change for the machines and it is FAR too jolly cold. Instead, I'm listening to The Smiths, writing one of these new-fangled blog things and drinking green tea with "a hint of lemon". Rather more than a hint if you ask me. It's like I'm entering some kind of competition to be the tweest person ever - today, my flatmate and I went for lunch in a cute little cafe and then to a day of knitting at the Bluecoat, sort of our local arts centre. It was a collaboration between the Festival of Nordic Art and Culture (NICE) and a local knitting shop called Purlesque; I can already knit with needles, or at the very least hold my own with a simple straight or purl, though I've not attempted anything particularly interesting yet. Still, I learned to finger-knit and my flatmate, a newcomer, received an interesting introduction to something I adore. They run a knitting circle at a local tea shop on tuesday nights & I think I might go: university is a very intense experience, and wonderful of course, but it can't help to meet and socialise with people who are slightly outside of it.

picture from here.

The highlight for me, anyway, was meeting this fellow and adding a few lines to the terribly interesting piece of knitting art on the left there, which he told me he's been working on for about two years. Anyone and everyone could just roll up, add to it a bit and move on - a really beautiful piece of collaborative art. Made me wish I'd discovered the Bluecoat earlier than last week: so much seems to be happening there all the time, it's a really lovely place. Flatmate and I just spent a cheerful hour or so there, listening to them play charming music - Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, I was very happy - having a bit of a chat, meeting people and learning. An excellent afternoon. I'm considering writing about it/him for the English Soc magazine, if I ever get around to writing anything at all for them; my friend said that I could, that they need writers rather desperately, but I'm so dreadfully unfocused.

Must be quiet now and get on with things, but before I do, the reasons for making this post are twofold:
1) my previous one was too depressing to leave up there. I didn't feel down when I wrote it or anything, but it reads incredibly bleakly and I don't want wandering passers-by to think I have given up on all of it and ended myself.
2) I mustn't get too caught up in all the fun of university - because it really is fun, it is, so much, especially now that I'm getting to know & love my excellent cast better and better all the time - and forget just how much there is to DO in a city. Lots of things! I don't want to look back on these three years with any regrets. Or at least...with as few as I can manage, I suppose.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

now say hello.

Well, I have an insane amount of work to do, so of course, of COURSE I have remembered this blog! As I type, I am sat in my no-frills single-berth room in my University halls (although the walls are plastered with photos, leaflets, flyers and I can't keep an inch of it clean to save my life; it could, at the very least, never be called "impersonal"), listening to two of my flatmates play-fighting in the next room & supposedly doing my history reading.

I took that subsidiary after all.

It's two months this Thursday since I moved to Liverpool and in that time I have not been home since, though I have visited M. once and been to London a couple of times, so I'm not sure what the reasoning behing that is. At the beginning, I felt like it would be simply too strange to see my childhood bedroom and all those old familiar sights, and then return to my new friends and home and life - I still think that it will be strange, but now it feels like a decision motivated more by Let's Just See If I Can than anything else. Anyway, it doesn't seriously count because my family have visited once (for my birthday, of which more later) and are doing so again in a couple of weeks.

Ironically, after I said all that "oh who even meets people through their accommodation" stuff, all my closest friends up here are people from my accommodation who I met in the first few weeks. Unfortunately, this has made it easier for me to not socialise with other people than to socialise and my neighbour-friends are, in many ways, my only friends up here. I know a couple of people on my course enough to chat to, and am beginning to get to know my castmates better (hindered by the incredible discomfort and sense of being on the back foot that I always experience when I first meet drama people, because I am not confident enough to make my voice heard and feel, for at least the initial few weeks, like the most horrendous and unfunny person who has ever lived), but still. It's not quite the social whirl I imagined? Like, I thought I'd instantly know THOUSANDS of people and be forever going to, you know, to beat poetry readings and underground bars and tiny theatres and so on, and wouldn't be able to sleep for all the hot jazz playing on a loop in the room downstairs.

Okay, of course that isn't exactly true; I have enough older friends to know that you get out of university only what you put in, that people have wildly different experiences and that almost everyone is disappointed. But then one of my closest friends up here said today, she's considering dropping out: not because she hates her course or isn't having fun, but because she cannot shake the sensation that she is merely drifting. She wants to go travelling and take photographs and I am jealous because even if the decision maddens her, even if it drives her out of her skull, at least there is something she wants to be doing.

If I dropped out of university, I would have no idea, no clue at all, what I wanted to be doing or how I should go about achieving it. By staying, all I am doing is ignoring this fact: I have exactly as little reason to want to leave as I have to want to stay.

The problem is what the problem has always been, basically - that I am not good enough at anything, not a single thing, to deserve a) payment in return for doing it and b) to continue it on for any real amount of time. I like writing and acting and music, and I am not particularly terrible at these things but neither am I very good at any of them, basically. Well, I'm pretty awful at the last one and the first two depend on the night, but no matter. I said all this to a friend the other day, only casually, but really rather upset myself - as I always do when I get onto this subject - because I realised that it is so incredibly true.

Remember when you were a kid and you said, I want to be an actress/a spy/an astronaut/a whatever? And your parents said to you, well dear, that's lovely, but don't forget that lots of people want to do these things and only a few people can, so most of them just grow up to be tax accountants and office workers and that is okay. You shrugged it off, because yes, of course - most people did grow up to do these things instead of the thing that you wanted to do, but obviously none of them wanted it as much as you did. Otherwise they'd have done it. And it was that simple, because you were young, and then you grew up and realised that you are not special either. When I had to learn that, it was, it really was okay.

The only really hard thing is that, nowadays, I don't want anything very much.

My flatmates got me a commonplace book for my birthday because they know I like to write, and they stuck photographs and messages into the first couple of pages, and it was one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received. Why do I have to care so much about being good at everything? Isn't it enough to just do things because you like them? I would tell anyone else that it is, because it is, and I'm nineteen now, I must at least attempt to recognise that ridiculous double-standard of mine for what it is.

CHRIST. I only opened this window to say that I was sorry I abandoned my (incredibly well-intentioned) university blog as soon as I actually made it to the fucking place. What's wrong with me! It's definitely time to go and read about the first crusade.

Sorry, lovely blog. I will try to find something to do with you soon.

p.s. the money worries got sorted out fine. Sorry I called you a pack of dicks so many times, student finance?