Although I’m quite aware people have much greater problems than writing a BA paper, this has been my biggest problem since January this year. As cliché as it might sound, I learned more than the content I was writing about. It’s been insane at times and wonderful other times. I wished I would have been able to blog about it while I experienced all this, but to be honest I barely had time to leave my house and I don’t think I would have made much sense anyway. This is not going to be a post where I complain about oh-how-hard it was. Although it is true that many tears were shed and many feelings were broken when my ideas didn’t go through supervision, I think it was one of my most useful experiences so far. I learned so much about my own limits, my own strengths, and my general ability to appear confident when I was the exact opposite in reality. So instead, I choose to write about the positive things of writing my paper, although some nagging will,needless to say, squeeze in here and there. Read the rest of this entry »
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Recently I had a (civilised) argument with someone about a certain site that in many people’s opinion sexually objectifies women (it doesn’t matter what site it is, there are tons that do it anyway). Many people tend to talk a lot about how this and that sexually objectifies women these days. I think this is wonderful as this tends to trigger interesting debates and perhaps brings the subject more into focus. However, I feel like there is a need to widen this idea as I see more and more sexual objectification of men as well. Perhaps some of you would think that’s equality finally, but I think it’s equally bad. I mean, if one gender is miserable, swimming in stereotypes, should we help fix the problem or should we all give a hand at making the other gender equally miserable too?
There are many ways to conceptualize this objectification of men, but I feel like I can only illustrate how I feel through advertising, since I have been happily studying it last semester. The course changed my view of things, which was a very naive one before, and made me realise the problem is more complex than pointing at things and saying “it’s wrong to do that”. My post will only include some examples that I feel are worth posting, but there are many others I don’t have the courage to post online as they often include nudity or extreme content. I am not cherry-picking my examples, but be warned that it will be an image-heavy post (images that might offend some of you). Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a long time since I posted anything, and that’s because I am now writing my final paper after which I will officially have finished university. For now. Because I’m going straight back, this time in the wonderful world of graduate level. Oh boy!
I seem to find less and less time for the things that I like doing (like blogging), as I’m pretty much just reading research, trying to wrap my head around literary theory, and keeping what’s little left of my sanity intact. I am now at the point where I know where I’m heading with my paper ( American Psycho and the critique of society) so things are not looking as desperate as they did when I started. That being said, I have made my application to a programme for MA level and my choice surprised many people (me included).
Choices, choices. It’s hard to make choices, I guess everyone figured that out so far. So you take a deep breath and you plunge head-first into an unknown world and try to make the best of it. At least that’s what I do. My choices regarding my academic life have been various and plenty. I like studying and I am a curious person so it’s very hard for me to decide on one what sole subject that I would like to study, work with, etc. Can I do a little bit of everything, please? But the more I work my way through life, the more I realise what are the things I like to study more in depth and what I would like to know more about.
When I was 18, still living in Romania, I dived directly out of high school to university life. Big mistake, but we won’t talk about that now. I was studying Math but I chose to go to Psychology because I felt like that was what I wanted to work with. In the end it felt…wrong. It felt as if I didn’t belong in a system that constantly made me feel uncomfortable. In that University I’ve met one amazing teacher and ten that should have never been allowed to teach. I felt cheated and was constantly reminded that I was too young to study and I should “ live a little”, whatever that meant. I struggled to make my way through books of theory that I had to later “regurgitate” in exams without a drop of critical thinking. Teachers would read the newspaper while we would write exams and it often felt like I was the only one trying to study, trying to understand. I had many friends who I would have loved to discuss the things that we all studied; that never happened as the only time we were together we were partying. There was no interest because we were not stimulated enough I suppose. This is not a critique of the Romanian educational system, but only a glimpse of how it was for me. I gave up during my second year, disappointed by the attitude of the teachers and of my fellow students. More than everything I was disappointed by my own attitude- I had lost interest. At 18 I had planned to change the world but I realised I did not want to go through a string of humiliations and disappointments anymore.
When I moved to Sweden I had to think really hard what I wanted to do. So I started from zero and got going in studying English (literature, linguistics, and a bit of cultural studies). It was a big step and an important one. In that program I could focus my passion for reading into something productive and understand how and why I wanted to read certain things. I could finally voice out my thoughts on literature. It felt like I have been keeping my love for the English canon inside and finally I was given a voice to communicate my ideas. I felt free, I felt happy. It had taken me some good years to find what I liked to do but it did not matter anymore once I was there. I had, and have, colleagues who were happy to go out for a coffee and talk about our studies, teachers who are inspiring and supporting, a creative environment. Even though by that point I realised I could not change the world, I was confident I could change mine.
In my 3rd year I dared to take a braver step, something that is very unlike me. I went to study abroad on an exchange semester. I went to England, and despite my hopes that I could find some nice literature courses I was only allowed to take cultural studies, something that i’ve studied before only briefly. And in England I was given an even better voice, one that could now scream even, that could confidently talk about critical theories. I became more passionate about cultural studies than literature. And so, every time I think/read/talk about a theme in cultural studies, I always apply it to a literature text in the back of my mind. To me, they complete each other; critical theories made me enjoy literature more than before. Jane Austen is more fun in regards to feminism; Kristeva’s text on abjection makes reading horror so much better; and I somehow always think of Postmodernism when I read newly published books (and it pays off sometimes).
So when I had to choose what I will like to study at MA level, I had to make a decision between literature or cultural analysis. And I chose the latter. I wouldn’t have guesses it myself a couple of years ago, but things have changed since my semester abroad. Choices such as these are hard to make but even the bad ones taught me something important. As I’m making my way through writing my BIG paper, I smile and think of the 18 year old me who once thought she will never figure it out, never whole-heatedly be able to say she wants to study X. But now I do. Education is great and vital, and I believe it to be at the core of who I am today. Nothing and nobody in my life helped me as much as what I got from simple lectures, books, exams, and good talks with my teachers/colleagues. Saying that, maybe BoldItalic will see more of concepts, theory and theorists, than book reviews this year. Or, ideally, a mix of both.
This is the view of the Tynemouth Priory, UK, from inside what used to be the kitchen’s window of the Gatehouse. It’s all in ruins now (but beautiful ones), with a 2000 years history behind. I enjoyed spending a lovely couple of hours exploring between its remaining walls, its old nearby cemetery, and enjoying the view over the North Sea. The place is loaded with history and if you would like to read more about it, the English Heritage site does a good job at showing you around, even if only virtually: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/tynemouth-priory-and-castle/#Left
From all the pictures I took that day (you can see some here), this is my favorite. It’s hard not to imagine how people a long time ago saw the Priory, then in all its original glory, through the same window as I did. They stirred the soup in the nearby fireplace that still betrays its presence in the room and occasionally looked through that same window. What did they think of when they watched the Priory? Did they hated the always cold rooms? Did they dream of being somewhere else? Or perhaps they wondered who will look through the same window in a hundred years’ time like I was when I took my picture?
…or my way. Or a different way. Call it whatever you want, really. Every year I get cards from friends and family and they make me all fuzzy inside at the thought that they took the time to buy the card and write me a nice wish on it and then go to the post office to mail it. I’m sure many of you feel the same when you see the envelope in your mail pile. It almost has a glitter around it (especially if your pile of mail is composed mostly of bills). If you are like me, you put it in a nice place dedicated to cards, where it stays the whole Christmas, somewhere near a window so you can see it from all angles and the neighbors will know you have friends! Also, if you are like me you put them in a box after the holidays are over, because you are thinking when you reach 80 you will hold your grandchildren on your tired knee and show them your lovely card collection. (Quick confession: I only keep the really nice ones). But year after year I realize nobody in their right mind has such a box. I also realize that in the eventuality in which I will reach 80 I will have much better things to show and talk to my grandchildren than Christmas cards (because if that’s the case I’ve obviously lived a very sad life). Most of the people throw these cards. From the bin- to the garbage truck- to the nice fire- ending up as ashes. It’s the cruel reality, I’m afraid. So what do you do if you want to do something special and unique that doesn’t end up in the pretty flames? Something that makes the person remember the gesture? That has that…je ne sais quoi? Here are my suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »
Happy Halloween everyone!
Filled with this newly found Halloween spirit ( we don’t really celebrate it in Sweden, but what the hell- I’m in UK), I am going to jump head first and post one of my poems. It’s an old free verse I wrote, and it’s somehow dear to me for reasons I have yet to find. I don’t normally write poetry but once in a blue moon it happens.
Enjoy your spooky day! Read the rest of this entry »
In the last few months Bold Italic became my home. I don’t literally live in it, but if that would be an option I would strongly take it into consideration and spend my days surrounded by pixels. For a long time I was looking for what I really liked doing, what I really liked studying, what I was really passionate about. I now know I always had this. Literature was always a constant in my life, if not the only one. Once I figured this out, the next step was finding people to share my thoughts and ideas with. It’s hard to find the right folk who would listen to your rants and weird opinions. To blog about this has turned out to be one of my best ideas. I’m grateful that people I don’t know are interested in reading my stuff, and it gives me the confidence I need to click the “publish” button for yet another post. I love this blog as it is my treasured, contained space where I can be myself and write what I want. Nobody dictates what I write about, there are no deadlines, and I love the community. As it turns out, I really like blogging!
Seeing as I am so happy to type away my literary thoughts, it’s only natural to want to blog about the next big thing in my life: a semester abroad in UK.
This September I will go to Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, where I will spend four months doing great things for my future: studying, making friends, building memories, and possibly getting drunk. I’m not sure about the getting drunk though. We’ll see.
I realize this is going to be really great for me and really boring for many (I mean really…who cares). Therefore, I decided not to blog about it on BoldItalic, and instead make another blog dedicated to this. I’m mainly targeting an audience of students or future students, especially those that are planning to make that big step and apply for a semester abroad, but everyone who is interested in reading this kind of stuff is welcomed. My home university is being awesome as usual and will share my blog on their Facebook, as well as let me post on their own blog.
BoldItalic is still my main blog, and I will probably have common posts on both blogs if they are about literature. In any case, there is always a link to my study abroad blog up there in the menu bar.
At this point there is nothing left to say other than I’m equally terrified and delighted at the experience that will follow. I
lied wrote a post on the new blog about how brave and courageous I am, but I guess I didn’t fool anyone and everyone knows what I really want to do is get in my bed under my blanket and never go out again. But plane ticket is booked, I have a course selection, my student grant is on its way and so am I on 17th September (to Newcastle).
Wish me luck! I will surely need it. Especially on the drinking and having fun part.
P.S: next post is going to be a book review. Pinky swear and all that.
- Studying Abroad or “What the Hell am I Doing?” (awayinuk.wordpress.com)
Except the book is not dead yet. As a matter of fact, far from it. The electronic vs. paper books seems to be a popular debate for today’s avid readers. Should we get our intake of literature from ink or pixels? Well… why choose just one option when you can have both? This is not going to be about the ongoing discussion where “the real book feels better in my hands and I like the smell of paper”, although I wholeheartedly agree. This is about what goes beyond personal preference and the olfactory sense. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve always found writing to be rather therapeutic. Writers often agree on this, and I strongly believe writing can take you in that hidden place inside your mind where all the twisted stuff is- the subconscious. Freud based his theory of psychoanalysis on this, arguing that the subconscious is a complex and vital part of us. So when we write, especially free write, things from our subconscious might come out and say hi. This is really great news if you happen to write romance, fantasy, or comedy. But what about horror?
It took me quite some time to realize that the only thing I really enjoy writing is dark and horror fiction. It came to me, not so long ago, when I was putting together a portfolio for a creative writing class. This portfolio consisted of a short story, a personal essay, a couple of poems, and a multitude of writing exercises. I was proofreading everything for the last time when I realized the common denominator of all my work stopped being comma splices and misspells, but instead turned out to be blood and gore. What?! Read the rest of this entry »