December. This is, the last one! And I’m writing it before December has technically finished, but hey, how much am I likely to do tomorrow? Very little, is the answer. I’m currently fighting my third draft of The Quiet Ones instead of doing the mountain of homework that needs to be done this week, so tomorrow’s going to be fairly busy.
I’m not sure if it’s my facial expression or what, but for some reason I really remind myself of Maisie Williams (the actress who plays Arya in Game of Thrones) in this picture. Which it amuses me greatly, not least because I always get Arya in personality tests. I think it’s because I’m small and violent. Also I crossdress way too often. Ain’t nothing wrong with a bit of crossplay, in my opinion. Male characters get better costumes.
At the beginning of the month I finally had an appointment with a specialist about my hand problems – yes, the problems I’d had since the end of June, it really did take that long. And guess what? Turns out it wasn’t RSI in the first place. Nope. Being hypermobile (my ligaments are too stretchy so I’m prone to dislocation), I overused them and strained them and because I thought it was RSI, I then rested them for a couple of months. Which was the worst thing I could do, as the muscles atrophied and therefore there was nothing to support the stretchy ligaments. So I was told I have to strengthen them.
Then, the day after that, I had my interview at Newnham College, Cambridge. While I was there I just fell even more in love with the idea of going there. I’ve yet to hear whether they’ll make me an offer and even then I’d still have to get the grades, but I felt the interview went reasonably well and I put across a decent impression of myself, so if it’s me they’re looking for, then that’s good. I also managed to leave my black fingerless gloves in the college, because I’m a genius.
Early in the month I wasn’t writing anything of my own, but I did do some work on St Mall’s 2 (passive aggressively, because I was mad at Charley for her lack of contributions), and found it was great fun to torment her by taking single sentences out of context until she wondered what exactly I was doing to this book.
Later on – I think on about the 17th or something – I started the third draft of The Quiet Ones following feedback from betas, and I, er, scuppered my plot by hospitalising all my characters. Oops. I’m sure I’ll get it back on track over the next few days, but at the moment I’m panicking. I’ve also been doing it entirely typing. That is, using my hands instead of dictating. I’m getting better, people!
I wrote about sixteen poems, most of which served as Christmas presents for my friends because I couldn’t afford to buy them anything. I also wrote a whopping 18 blog posts, or 19 if you include this one. (Maybe twenty, if I post tomorrow?) Then again, most of them were part of this series, but I also had a collection of thoughtful ones as well. Probably the most popular, or at least the one that got the most attention, was my post about giving advice to teen writers. However, I also wrote a post detailing my own novels and lack of publication, kind of as a follow-up to that.
December was also a fairly political month. As well as a post about my political views, those who follow me on Twitter may have seen my tweets in support of the “Cops Off Campus” demo that happened on the 11th December. Unfortunately, I was ill and in school and therefore unable to go, but I voiced my support online instead.
I made a video for Project For Awesome about a Christian LGBT organisation called “Believe Out Loud”. I also rewatched a stunning spoken word poem called “God Is Gay” about eight times because it still blows me away every time I hear it. It’s the line about the burning bush that gets me. The first time I saw it, I couldn’t get that out of my head for days afterwards.
I got a new phone, named it Combeferre, and shared with you a bunch of pictures of sunrises that I tried to turn into some sort of philosophy or positive thinking post. I don’t know what I was trying to do there.
I started a folk band for tax reasons. I’d go into detail, but I might get arrested.
I plotted one of my Death and Fairies novels, at least partly. Well, I know that somebody at some point has their heart ripped out. I mean, I know who they are and who does it and why and everything, but I’m not telling you that. It’s enough to know that hearts are being torn out. As I said on Facebook, “Some of my characters are so heartless…”
stole borrowed a harp. I should explain: I’m getting a harp in January. It’s been one of my dreams for years and I’ve been saving up for ages. However, because of the aforementioned folk band I need to learn to play it very quickly. In order that the band can start rehearsing promptly, I borrowed a harp for two weeks or so, and I’ve been playing it ever since. I have to give it back soon, though…
I played the violin for the first time since July. It was a little painful, and my coordination is terrible – couldn’t keep my fingers in time with the bow – but on the whole not as bad as I’d feared. I’m healing, people, I’m healing!
I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and staunchly defended it to my unimpressed parents solely on the grounds of its importance in terms of character development. To be perfectly honest, I’m far more interested in characters than plot. I realise this may be a weakness and I should care about them both, but if characters are interesting enough, I’ll excuse a lame or incomplete plot.
I generally went through the month in denial that Christmas was happening, only to be forced to sing seven carol services in one week. But I never ended up doing the last one, because I had a huge freaking panic attack earlier in the day (like really really huge) and wasn’t in a fit state to leave the house for fear of panicking all over again. I actually wasn’t looking forward to Christmas at all. It went better than I’d expected, though.
I only read four books, but I liked all of them, and that’s always nice. I adored The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, felt emotionally numb and drained at the end of Code Name Verity (which is always a good sign, right?), and found a protagonist who shares my name for the first time in, I think, ever in Blackbirds. Miriams are very rare in fiction.
I also acquired a wonderful waistcoat-corset thing that’s basically the greatest item of clothing in the history of ever. There’s a photo here. It’s glorious.
However, the most important thing is that, much to my great surprise, I survived to the end of the month, and therefore the end of this year. I’m here. I’ve been rewatching Merlin and working on this timebomb of a third draft. I’ve lost friends (some of them deliberately) and gained others. I’ve been to new places and old places. I’ve had arguments and I’ve been kissed and I’ve listened to music I loved when I was twelve and I’ve discovered new bands and I’ve grown my hair and dyed it and had an allergic reaction to my fluffy poncho.
I’ve faced down a lot of demons over the past twelve months and I’m a totally different person to the girl who sat here blogging a year ago and I’m stronger because of it.
If I don’t post tomorrow (which is entirely likely), then have a wonderful New Year and I’ll see you in 2014. And if I do post tomorrow, then I’m sorry, and I promise I’m almost done with the post spam.
2013 Retrospect and Reminiscing