rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
I started using LJ when I was in university. Back then, I posted regularly (so long as it was a term-time weekday, since at home we were mired in the Dark Ages of dial-up). I haven't checked but I'd say it was usually every day. And since I went on to complete a Master's and a PhD, that pattern continued for a while.

Then I left.

And the postings dried up.

Now a bit of that is down to the internet situation at home. We're a slow-adapting household; as far as I recall, we were still using dial-up when I left uni in 2007. So I fell out of the habit of logging in on a regular basis. But the big reasons for the posting drought?

The loss of shared context. And confidentiality.

The latter is pretty obvious - or should be, given all the social media scandals. The former... lemme explain.

Education up to a certain age is compulsory throughout Western Europe and North America. Everybody growing up in those societies, therefore, has been to school at some point. So I could moan about my tutors etc. and be confident that most of you could nod your head sagely and say, "Yeah, I know the drill."

But once you leave the education system and enter gainful employment, that shared context disappears. Bar portrayals on TV or film, I have no freaking clue about the workaday lives of accountants - nurses - warehouse managers - IT technicians - police officers - lorry drivers - civil engineers - insurance staff - stockbrokers - fashion designers - dental receptionists - charity campaigners - town councillors - refuse collectors - fishing crews. And what the hell is a Special Advisor when it's at home?

But work takes over from education as the central day-to-day activity of your life. So if I were to write about my day... well, I'd have to spend some time setting up the context. I would have to explain about ICOS and FTR and what 'pulling the court' means. It's boring and long-winded and likely to end up in TL;DR territory. (Yes, I am aware that this entry is falling into that category too.)

***

I guess I'm old-fashioned in wanting/expecting my posts to be about my day-to-day life. 'Blogging' seems now to be about passing around quotations, stories, memes, photographs and pictures which originate with other people, not ourselves. Or it's an editorial column, made up of our musings on the topics which interest us. Or it's a reviews column on our chosen form of entertainment, from books to barbells, hardware to handicrafts, singing to sex toys. Or it can be an advertising hoarding for whatever it is we want to promote to the public.

Please note, none of these are meant as criticisms or as a in-the-good-ole-days moan. I'm only observing that social media has shifted away from the "on-line diary" idea that I 'grew up' with, and that I haven't shifted with it. I don't subscribe to Reddit or BuzzFeed or wherever else people get their "Share" links from, and besides, I tend to consume stuff like that and move on rather than telling others about it. I don't write editorials because I know I'm a poor arguer and am not prepared to handle any shitstorm that might result, even if it only fits in a teacup. I could do reviews, I suppose... but do I really read/view enough to justify it? I haven't been to the cinema in years and my TV watching falls into the territory of whatever-will-keep-everyone-vaguely-interested-and-or-entertained-but-not-necessarily-inspire-enthusiasm.

***

Lack of shared context is also why I'm crap at phone calls. I can't see what the person on the other end of the line is doing/experiencing, so I can't offer any comments on the same to gee the talking along. Once we're done with the obvious hi-how-are-you-this-is-the-news-where-I-am, I run out of conversational steam.

This inability to generate conversation is screwing up my chances with on-line dating too. My opening messages are banal to the point of pointlessness. Ugh.
rhondacrockett: (blood & claws)
...I've had a reminder tonight of exactly why I left academia. Writers' group was supposed to be holding a poetry writing workshop. It turned into part-lecture, part-tutorial about poetic theory, the nature of meaning and the audience-as-author, with a little bit of biographical/historicist material for good measure. Roland Barthes got mentioned >.< I was so angry; we did only two practical writing exercises, neither of which were particularly inspiring or interesting (one was that old "write one line and pass it on" chestnut) and ugh the woman just talked and talked and talked *rolls eyes*

At least it made me appreciate what my writers' group is usually like. Everybody is down-to-earth, talks like regular human beings, and is focused on the practicality of actually writing rather than this airy-fairy literary theory guff. So glad that I'm part of the Tuesday night group; the guy who brought up Barthes goes to the Monday night group and the others who go on Mondays also strike me as being prone to "academic" pretensions.
rhondacrockett: (Default)
It's cold, windy and raining. Time to block up draughts and sit in front of the fire. 'Course, it doesn't help that dad's been trying to varnish/repair our window frames, which means there are draughts in several rooms.

I've become addicted again to the Sims 2. I do have slightly more time for it, I suppose, now the thesis is merely on "corrections". I still don't have that report the examiners were supposed to post me, though.

And then there are other things I want to do, like get back into writing again. I've been away for four years, bar the odd fragment or scribble. The problem is, I don't like the story I've got. I don't like the set-up and I don't like the characters. I still want vampires, I still want the truce, and I still want my afterlife administrators and bean-counters, and I still like my opening few sentences. It's just everything else is crap. *sigh* I have another idea brewing too, a more realistic story, but that's freaking me out too because I'm not convinced I can do realism. I'm horribly vague about settings and in fantasy/supernatural, you can kind of get away with it if you want to, but not in a realistic story. *sigh*

Slight expansion on above )

Man, this is making me depressed. I'm gonna go now.
rhondacrockett: (Default)
Hello again, folks. Having submitted the thesis, I took some time off. Thank you all for your messages of congratulation, they were warmly appreciated.

It's not all over yet. I've got my viva - kinda an interview/oral examination - in November, before they'll give me my doctorate, so I have to start preparing for that, reading up on every last point they might try to trip me up on. Oh the joy!

Plus I'm back teaching again this year. And Leon wants me to help put together an exhibition at the Dickens Museum to promote the Clarendon edition of Our Mutual Friend. I'm looking forward to that.

I'm still living at home but with teaching and this other job I'll be in Belfast a lot and will hopefully have more time to hang out. At least all that damn writing is finished with (unless they send me away from the viva with a ton of rewriting - eep!).
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
I am spectacularly bad at it. I need to see people's faces, to see how they react, what they're looking at. It's always helpful to know what the other person can see around them, cos if a gap in the conversation comes, you can fill it in with some random observation of the surroundings.

The reason I'm talking about this is cos Lesley phoned me last night, and boy was it awkward. Partly, that was down to not having seen or spoken with her in so long, but mostly it was down to being bad at phone conversations. She's applied for a PGCE at Coleraine, so I can't rely on her being able to move with me in Belfast. :/ I need to start thinking about where I'm going to live next year. It's pretty much settled that everyone else is leaving. Working from home is certainly possible, but... it's just that, having been in Belfast for the whole of my university career so far, it seems odd to try to do it from home.

More and more, I am looking forward to finishing the PhD and taking my time to write my book. I know why I'm investing so much emotional commitment in the TV shows I'm watching, and the characters from them; they are my creative, imaginative outlet while the PhD occupies my writing and reading time. I am also looking forward to having time to read all the books currently stuffed in my bottom drawer. I went through a fit of book-buying about a year or so back, but haven't managed to read most of them yet. Yesterday, I purchased "The Well of Lost Plots" by Jasper Fforde, which I am looking forward to reading very very very much XD I have my own, personal plot-idea(s) about the merging of the real world and the world of fiction, so seeing someone else deal with the idea is kinda gratifying.

And now that long ass statement thing, stolen from Sparky )
rhondacrockett: (Lookit me)
Swiped from Skwerlie )

Phew! That took me ages to fill out!

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