Ramblings: Clowns to the left of me, 19th century French novelists to the right

Studying has ruined me for any kind of “ism”. Year 9 and 10 Science completely ruined creationism for me. Year 11 and 12 ruined postmodernism (though to be fair, that subject was never very interesting to begin with). The autumn semester at Uni shot to bits any appreciation I had for classicism. And now I’m studying realism, and writing a critical essay on how it relates to Madame Bovary, and I feel like banging my head against the desk until I’m too concussed to write.

Disestablishmentarianism, watch out.

I don’t see how this book became such a classic. Maybe it’s a result of growing up with movies and TV and being used to faster paced works, but I found the book utterly boring. It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t known that the author set out to write the most boring book he could. Literary merit can’t save you, Flaubert: no matter how much literary genius or philosophical revelation you can pull out of your arse, it doesn’t mean diddly squat if no one wants to read past the first page.

The rest of Uni is going well. There’s a class for Prose, where we pick apart short stories and extracts of novels, but in a way that – unlike last semester’s classes – doesn’t completely destroy the readability of the work, that gives me an insight into writing, and that doesn’t seem as boring as… well, as Madame Bovary. Writing for Stage and Screen is equally educational, albeit with a harder assessment task. Writing a story is one thing, but writing and performing a monologue seems sadistic. If the thing gets marked on how well we perform it, I’m screwed. But like I said, it’s educational. The lecturers have a way of putting concepts and techniques into simple terms that are easy to remember, so that I don’t have to grasp at vague ideas that float around in my head when I’m trying to accomplish something in my writing. I feel like the writing of my novel has improved a bit as a result.

The non-class stuff is great too. I think I actually have friends. And if you knew me, you’d realise what a big deal that is. Plus, UniBar food is awesome. Just saying.

The job quest continues. Seeing that woman, the one who works in employment placing, was helpful, and I got a lot of tips on how to do up my resume a bit better. I did another training shift behind the bar in that bowls club, and they’re giving me a call in the next couple of days about doing some more. Which is good, because they want to put me behind the bar again, and not-so-good, ’cause they haven’t decided if they actually want to employ me properly. I’m still putting my details out there. And if anyone reading this knows of a part-time job going in the Illawarra, send me an e-mail, I’d really appreciate it.

I’m still reading books of my own choosing, though not as much as I’d like with the weekly readings and assigned novels to get through. In the last couple of weeks I finished the first Codex Alera novel and The Long Halloween, one of my favourite Batman GNs. And I picked up a few more books to read: Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, the first in that series; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first short story collection; Academ’s Fury, the second Codex Alera novel; The Bourne Betrayal, the second book in the Bourne continuation series; and True Colours, a Star Wars EU novel (so sue me!). That’s on top of the few I’ve still got to read: Sharpe’s Gold, a Agatha Christie novel about Miss Marple, and a Bernard Cornwell novel about the Holy Grail. My cup overfloweth. But in a good way.

Now. Back to my essay.



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