I wish I could give some extraordinarily compelling excuse for my extended absence over the past few months: alien abduction, Freaky Friday-esque body-switching, or an improbable scenario in which I somehow discover that Jules Verne was right all along and the earth is indeed hollow and inhabited by dinosaurs, and I end up shacking up with Brendan Fraser and making it all the way to China through the Earth’s crust. But sadly the excuse is, as ever, an extraordinary banal one: a new job, the kind of cold that’s so persistent that after a few weeks it brings along a few of its friends and turns your sinuses into its own personal party bus, all combined with the usual leg-dragging laziness.
First off, I hope you all had an excellent holiday period, and that there were many good books exchanged, read, and accidentally set on fire when Grandma tried and failed to make a Flambéed Baked Alaska for the third year running, her crucial mistake being that she put too much of the rum in her mouth before starting. In case you’re wondering, no, I did not get that baby Niffler I’ve always wanted, but I did get a pretty cool set of gloves that lets you type on your phone without freezing your fingers off, so I’d say I did pretty well this year.
I’d also like to say, just off the bat, that my New Year celebrations did not include a ridiculously romantic and sexually-charged When Harry Met Sally-esque encounter with a former friend-slash-lover who miraculously discovered he’s been madly in love with me the entire time he’s known me. I sent him a message, but maybe he’s not using WhatsApp anymore? No, sadly my New Year celebrations included a couch, fifteen different kinds of cough syrup, and a Croatian New Year television program so badly produced that it made The Bold and the Beautiful look like a Scorsese film in comparison.
All this is by way of trying to drum up some sympathy in an effort to hide the fact that more than anything else, I just wasn’t feeling terribly inspired to write. Maybe it was some kind of after-effect from writing my dissertation, or maybe the Baby Boomers are right and my generation will genuinely kill itself off by dint of sheer laziness.
For those of you wondering what lit majors do after they finish their Masters degrees, here is your answer: if they are anything like me, they will find themselves in Croatia thanks to some weird and totally imperceptible familial gravitational pull, where they will spend several months applying for teaching jobs, translating short texts, and gradually coming to the realisation that the Australian school system, apart from leaving them with an overwhelming repulsion to the smell of melted cheese on toast of a morning, also failed to teach them even the most rudimentary grammar, and that they have therefore emerged from twelve years of schooling knowing as much about the English language as a five-year-old kid from Međugorje. They will eventually find work as an assistant-slash-nanny, which they will find surprisingly enjoyable, despite their lack of experience with kids, and despite the shoddiness of their Croatian.
They may also spend several weeks trying to find funding for a PhD in the UK, only to end up swearing and cursing the fact that the arts are so under-funded, particularly if you’re an English major from Australia with zero private funding and about as much leadership potential as a paper hat. They will spend long hours composing improbable proposals for research projects that are a) incoherent and b) impossible to realise in the given time frame. Long live the arts!
In all seriousness, it’s been an interesting experience, and I’m sure will remain so over the next few months. I’ve learnt a lot of things you can’t really learn at university, like how to deal with Croatian bureaucracy (viz. if at all possible: Don’t), and how to keep a seven-year-old occupied using just a ball of wool (spoiler alert: chasing it is usually not an option, unless you have a particularly cat-like kid). I also haven’t given up on my academic ambitions, financially-challenged as they are. And while I haven’t been reading or reviewing as much as usual, if you’ve stuck around with my blog, or are a new visitor, I hope I’ll now have regular posts for all your literary needs once more (she said optimistically). Thanks for visiting, and stay tuned!