October (Retrospect and Reminiscing #10)

October (Retrospect and Reminiscing #10)

October. I applied to university, dyed my hair black, went to ComicCon, obtained Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate novels, translated early 19th-century revolutionary pamphlets from French into English (badly), planned my NaNo novel, made a cover, acquired Tom Hiddleston’s signature, started watching Sleepy Hollow, read lots of books, wrote essays, argued with my characters, reviewed a play for the local paper, planned all my Death and Fairies books, finished watching Firefly, went to a NaNoWriMo event, saw Thor 2, made one video, and wrote six blog posts.

*takes a long pause to breathe*

Okay, that’s everything. I’m off to continue rewatching Merlin.

I’m kidding. I enjoy talking about myself way too much to let you get away with just a paragraph, and as you can see, things actually happened in October. And while I’m still suffering the Itchy Face Of Doom, it’s less dramatically scarlet than yesterday, so I’m in less pain and I look slightly less ridiculous. Hooray.

Dyeing my hair black for London ComicCon was one of the more radical things I’ve done for cosplay. My whole costume was on a budget of less than eight pounds, including hair dye (which is about four quid on its own), and I think that’s pretty impressive. I borrowed a top hat and tailcoat, obtained a waistcoat and fabric for a cravat nice and cheaply, and used trousers, boots and a shirt that I already owned.


I went with my friend KM – if you’ve come across her before, it’s because she’s my usual cosplay partner, and tends to go along with my mad schemes (like running around London as Sherlock and John, handcuffed to each other, instead of revising for our GCSE exams a couple of years back). We were cosplaying Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs from the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. You know, if the only thing you’ve ever read on this blog is this series of recap posts, you’re going to think I have a serious Cassie Clare obsession. But you’d kind of be right, so whatever.

I love the dichotomy of light and dark in our costumes – I’m like her evil shadow. Everything she’s got that’s pale, I’ve got dark, especially the hair. It was literally jet black at that stage, and hers had been sprayed white. The spray, of course, washed out. The black is getting there, but I’m still a darker shade of brown than I ever was before. It worked better than I expected, though.

I did eventually edit a video of ComicCon etc, though it took me until December. You can find it here.

The translation of revolutionary pamphlets was one of my coping mechanisms because of my continuing wrist problems. Unable to write anything in French, I translated into English instead because I could dictate my results, and being a massive fan of Les Mis, I went for a bunch of historical documents, mostly pamphlets from the societies on which Les Amis (the revolutionary students) were based. I confess, I didn’t translate a great deal, but it was quite fun.


Whether the translation is accurate is an entirely different matter – I’m just proud that I translated it entirely myself. And it gave me something to do, if nothing else. One day I’ll finish that pamphlet and put the whole translation online or something; I’m pretty sure it’s not been done already.

Planning my NaNo novel is something of a misnomer. I did a lot of work on it, planning the background to the character Sim and working out quite a bit about the narrator, Lyss, but my intention had always been that she’d tell his story, rather than her own. However, once I wrote it that completely changed and she dominated the whole thing, so… the planning was mostly a waste. But I did make a cover.

In terms of planning, I also wrote out short summaries or blurbs for each of the books in my Death and Fairies series, which have since been subject to some more development, although far too little of that has ever been written down and mostly exists only in Facebook exchanges with various beta readers. I had a big fight with my character Alex, who kept telling me stories and wouldn’t leave me alone until I planned one of his novels, but at least I did that in the end.

The play I reviewed for the local paper was The Crucible, which I studied a few years ago now but never before had a chance to see. It was great to finally see it come to life, even while I was working on an essay about texts I was currently studying for English, in this case an exploration of the fractured self in The Bell Jar and The Dream Life Of Sukhanov. Weird combination, I know, but it was so great to write about a book I’d chosen rather than studied, in this case Sukhanov. I knew that nobody else was writing about it, and I’d never come across any other critical material for it. There was little enough on the topic in general, but for that book there was none at all, so I really felt I was breaking new ground by writing that essay. When you discuss a text that’s been studied to death, like The Bell Jar or whatever, there’s nothing unique under the sun. I like to feel like I’m pulling something from a text that maybe nobody’s thought of, so I found that essay pretty enjoyable.

It was certainly more enjoyable than watching the last episode of Firefly without realising it was the last one and then being incredibly miserable that there were no more because I hadn’t appreciated it as much as I would have done had I known I was getting no more. Sigh. I guess that just made the experience more authentic, right?

I also started watching Sleepy Hollow, which I find fascinating because it assumes its viewers know a lot more about American history than I certainly do. But I’ve been educated now on the midnight ride and all that. “The regulars are coming!” See, I can yell it with the best now. Gotta love a show that educates you. Talking of educational shows, I’ve now confused myself, because I don’t remember mentioning Vikings in these recaps. I think I watched it in September, and I skimmed over than post rather, so… But that was a great show too, and I loved the inclusion of Old English and Old Norse.

sigWhat was that about the Norse? Oh, yes. Tom Hiddleston visited my sister’s workplace and knowing how much I admire him as an actor and a person, she managed to get me his signature. Apparently he doesn’t sign things all that often except at events (gets hundred delivered everyday), so I’m incredibly grateful that mine was one of those few. It’s on my wall.

Talking of Loki, I went to see Thor: The Dark World at the end of the month. While my blog post didn’t happen until November, I still wrote plenty on Facebook about my admiration of the design, not only the costumes but also the scenery and worldbuilding, which was genuinely stunning. Plus, it was an interesting film in terms of character development.

So, finally, the books I read in October were:


Oh, The Song Of Achilles, how tempted I was to recommend it to unsuspecting lower-school Classics students and watch their confusion and the shattering of their innocence … but no. I just wrote a blog post about it instead. Of this collection here, I have to say that I adored Angelmaker. It’s such an interesting concept, plus it has vintage lesbian superspies in it, and I’m sorry, but I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. I totally get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but…

… wait, hang on, no. How can that not be your cup of tea? What is there not to like? Women as superspies, lesbians as superspies, generally superspies in the 50s – come on, if that doesn’t appeal in the slightest, you probably won’t find my blog hugely interesting.

So, that was October. Tomorrow, I get to talk about November and NaNoWriMo and dictating at an overly rapid pace, but in the meantime, tell me about your October. Or about queer superspies. I really don’t mind.

5 thoughts on “October (Retrospect and Reminiscing #10)

  1. Ah, October. Things of which I approve: The Bone Season (read that in October myself), Firefly (though, watching that with my corridor-mates, I haven’t seen more than five episodes, sadly), Tom Hiddleston. Things of which I disapprove: none. Keep posting, M! Your year has been so much more interesting than mine!

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