Thursday, December 29, 2011

Given that a number of things (not too significant, so don't hold your breath, if you are) have happened since the last time I blogged, I think I'll make a list of updates this time.

I. Bidding period begins.

Can you feel the anticipation, the territorial vigilance with which everyone is camping out before their computers, lying in wait for the next bidder so that they can one-up him and throw in a higher bid? I know seniors get priority (well, not exactly priority - just that they have more points accumulated from past semesters and can afford to bid higher), but with so few options this coming semesters, competition for English modules is tough! And because of some administrative failures last semester, I absolutely have to take five English modules next semester so I can graduate on time. So I HAVE - did I mention HAVE? - to secure all five. The only five, in fact, because I've taken the rest before. You'd wonder why they offer so few English modules for this coming semester. I could ask the same.

So if everything goes according to plan, I'd be taking:

1. EL3204, Discourse Structure
2. EL3206, Psycholinguistics
3. EL3252, Language Planning and Policy
4. EL3880E, Second Language Learning,
5. EL3257, Investigating Language in the Media

I know. Hardly inspiring or scintillating. But, you know, school is school. No more fun modules, like Playwriting or language modules. Speaking of which, I got the A I wanted for Playwriting, and did better than I expected for my other modules. It's different when you feel passionately about the things you study, indeed.

II. One more semester and I'm done with school. Can you believe it? Not to sound completely corny, but it feels just like yesterday that I attended my first 10am lecture at LT11. I was rereading Megan McCafferty's Charmed Thirds, the third of the Jessica Darling series, where Jess attends Columbia University. And I just felt like it was such an apt book to be reading, because I could totally relate to what she was going through. The uncertainty, in the new environment and in herself, the diversity, and the stuff she was learning, the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life-after-I-graduate brand of anxiety. My three years of tertiary education is coming to an end, and I feel more than ever the pressure to make a decision, pick a path already, plan plan plan your life, don't waste time or you'll fall behind.

I admit, a lot of the pressure comes from myself. My dad's not putting any pressure on me to earn my first million by the time I'm 25 or whatever, but I do want to achieve something quick so that I can show my dad that I will get by in life and that he doesn't have to worry so much.

But 2012 seems bleak, at least on the job market front. And that's not something I can control. So in the words of my dad, let go of what you can't control.

III. So Christmas has come and gone. Next up: New Year's. Excited? Not really. Thankful, though? Definitely. We've all lived through another year, at the very least, and that's always something to be thankful for.

IV. I'm currently reading The Grift by Debra Ginsberg. This is the third time I'm attempting to read it. I don't know why I didn't manage to get through it the previous couple of times, because it's actually a pretty well-written story. Not so much about plot, but about character, and it's high time I learnt how to write a character-driven novel without sucking instead of falling back on plot every time my story stalls.

And remember when I said my goal was to finish writing Fifteen Minutes Down Sunset Avenue by the end of this holiday? Yeah, that's not going to happen. Unless I manage to write, like, ten pages a day every day until 9 January 2012, the first day of school (after which I won't have time to write at all). At the rate I'm going (about three pages a day), that seems highly unlikely. Still, it's making progress. And I've finally come up with an idea on how I'm going to raise the stakes and resolve the story. All that's left is to write it. Which is always easier said than done.

V. The National Arts Council is organising a competition to select five young adult manuscripts to publish. And I was considering sending in Fifteen Minutes, but that doesn't seem possible now. With all the editing to do, it'll take me months before I deem the final manuscript ready. Besides, I'm still too attached to Lambs for Dinner to pass it up for this competition. But one of the criteria is that the story should not incite violence. And Lambs is really a little dark. Maybe not gory, but it might incite violence, how should I know? So I either risk submitting something that may or may not go against their criteria, or submit something that's not ready yet. I don't know about you, but the latter seems much worse to me. So Lambs it is. I believe more in it than Fifteen Minutes anyway. At least for the moment.

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