Day 73ish: CELTA. WK 3

Most intense and stressful week so far. Most of us spent the week with huge bags under our eyes, necking coffee, groaning, being unable to cope with usual amounts of stress.

Didn’t fail 2 TPs. Wrote audio script for TP6 overnight during lesson planning time. Still managed a ‘to standard’. Had PANCAAAAKES! Wrote assignment 3. Didn’t fail assignment 2. Sleep deprived. Fell into hysterics FREQUENTLY. Harmer’s hand technique. Lol. Did some classroom dancing. Learnt how to draw a dragon. Co-created incredible literary gem about dragons and mermaids. Drew comic strip about the adventures of the Enigmatic Electric Eel man and his sidekick Mr. Crabs, the sworn enemies of evil Sponge Bob Square Pants. Copyright’s mine. Back off, kids.

Had nightmare that CELTA trainer was hiding under my bed and standing in my room JUDGING me. Had to get up, turn light on, check, lock door. Hilair. Slept until 9am twice this weekend. Stayed up working until 2am regularly throughout the week. Weekend jaunt to Fuckin’-Awesome C. Midweek trip to 7/11. Ate roti. Was amaze. Pool is algae-filled but no-one’s had much time to use it.

Only 1 week to go then we get shoved off the edge of the known world into whatever comes next. Bit scared. Feels weird that in a couple of weeks there’ll be other trainees here, taking our place, using our classrooms, messing up our resources room, swimming in our pool, writing on our whiteboards, learning from our trainers. Stressing. Getting hysterical. Bonding. Poor, lucky bastards – they don’t know what they’re getting themselves into.

2 lessons and 1 assignment to go (plus possible revisions for assignment 3).

Wish me luck.

Dragon story pic

Day 67ish: CELTA WK2

CELTA WK2. D1

DON’T TALK TO ME, I’M FRANTICALLY LESSON PLANNING!

Skills to work on: productivity, time management, not procrastinating by spending hours on Google images searching for the perfect picture to go with my activity.

Food eaten: ALL

CELTA WK2. D2

Woke to dulcet tones of Chiang Mai morning chorus (street dog remix). Think dog asylum. Think battle cries. Howling and barking like it’s the end of the world. Plus the pubescent comedy cockerels who can’t carry a full crow yet because their voices keep breaking. There are a few birds in the mix too, but mostly it’s just deranged dogs and cockerels. Disturbing.

CELTA. WK2. D3

Not teaching today and not writing an assignment. Went totes crazy and took 8 mins of personal time to PAINT MY FUCKIN’ TOENAILS, BABY. Took insane pleasure from it. Now looks like I’ve 10 teeny-tiny disco balls stuck to the tops of my toes. Bizarrely satisfying. Keep getting distracted during input sessions. Yes, I’d love to talk to you about voiced alveolar fricatives, Percy, but have you SEEN my toenails?!

8 mins of personal time, though. I’ll regret that later.

(Pancake sightings: zero)

CELTA. WK2. D4

Locked self out of room for 3rd time this morning. Helpfully had left both floor-to-ceiling windows wide open so just stepped in through the netting. No-one saw the hilarity. Was mildly disappointed.

Got assignment back. Passed, astoundingly. Had mid-point tutorial. Didn’t fail. I AM MADE OF RELIEF. Took evening off, sat in pool after dark with The Gang; chatted, watched a storm roll in. Power kept going out. Pretty exciting to be in the pool in darkness watching sheet lightening in the distance. Everyone chilled, happy. It’s that Thriday feeling.

(Still no pancakes)

CELTA. WK2. D5

TOO MUCH CHILL! A day of no structure and all fear. Start to  plan our own lessons FROM SCRATCH for next week. Also move up a level to Pre-Intermediate learners. Tired and full of aches and snot and grump. Ate 2 oranges to boost vitamin C levels. Early night required.

CELTA. WK2. D6

Another day, another after-dark storm. Power out for hours. We sat in the resources room chatting by candlelight, eating snacks and talking about ghost stories but not telling them. The “Drip, drip, drip” story we told as kids was also told by another Brit and a girl from Canada, each version slightly different but the basics all the same. Sheet lightening over the mountains but – weirdly – no rain.

Productivity = 45%

Mosquitovity = 87%

CELTA. WK2. D7

I NEED THOSE 8 MINS OF PERSONAL TIME BACK! Disco nail polish flaking off in dramatic chunks. Toes look like disappointment and shards of shattered hope. Got some good streetfood from the market and ate it, along with everything else in the world and more. May have caused whole-Earth famine. Sorry about that. Discovered that the birds I thought were hiccuping “FUCKIT! FUCKIT!” at night are actually geckos hiccuping “FUCKIT! FUCKIT!” at night. Geckos look so innocent – you’d never think it of them.

Fully expect CELTA WK3 to send me over the edge. Watch this space.

(STILL NO PANCAKES. I HAVE LACK-OF-PANCAKE RAGE.)

‘Be fine

It’s Thursday night. I’m leaving Glorious Yorkshire on Saturday morning. I fly out to Abroad a week today.

Just sayin’.

I’d kinda expected someone to stage an intervention by this point, if I’m honest.

“OF COURSE YOU CAN’T GO AND LIVE IN THAILAND ON YOUR OWN, YOU IDIOT!”. Passport stolen, probably burned. Someone rolling their eyes at me. Tutting. That kind of thing.

It hasn’t happened yet but I can only assume that the moment is near. I’m alert; poised for action; expectant. I’m keeping an eye on my passport at all times and, yes, of course I’m wearing matchsticks in my eyes at night, just to be on the safe side. Because OBVIOUSLY The World knows this scheme probably a bad idea and that I can’t really be trusted with all Life and Adventures and that. The World definitely knows that, right people?

‘Be fine, though. That’s my new situation-specific motto. It’s good because it slips off the tongue real nice alongside a little shrug of the shoulders and makes everything seem more manageable, like when you wash your hair with L’Oreal, because You’re Worth It.

Yeah. ‘Be fine.

 

1 week to go…

NaNoWriMo 2011. And swearwords.

Oh SHIT! Shitty shit McShit. It’s September already. SEPTEMBER! How the hell did that happen? Where has the time gone? Tell you what, trying to become a roller derby superstar sure makes the months roll quickly by (pun intended).

For the uninitiated, September is the month before the month before NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, that wonderful and terrible writery month of self-loathing, melodrama, repetitive strain injury, procrastination and glorious, GLORIOUS writing. September is the pre-planning-month month of planning; October the actual planning and pre-start Complete Collapse Of Faith In Everything You Hoped To Achieve month; November the month of furious writing, frequent breakdowns, and comfort eating. There is a reason why we do it but I’ll be damned if I can remember what it is… I think we writery types must be slightly masochistic.

The target is 50K. Last year I ground to a halt at 16K. I couldn’t be displeased with the result: I’d written SIXTEEN THOUSAND WORDS. Some of those words – heck, meaty chunks of those words – were even pretty good. And I’d been writing again. I’d forgotten how ridiculously satisfying it is when your characters start to flesh out, when you start writing in a voice that is distinctively theirs, when the decisions they make come out of a thought process that is particular to them. When you write characters or a conversation or an entire scene or series of scenes, and it is BELIEVABLE, has the smack of truth to it, is entirely logical and plausible within the context of the world you’ve built around it, there’s this incredible sense of having created. Out of nothing but your imagination you realise these characters, these events; you bring them into the world; you make them real.

Deep. Compelling. Rich. Just another day out at Sasperella’s Story Shack [immediately changing blog name to this]. Pull up a chair. Pour yourself a cuppa. Stay a while.

So far, as usual, I have done no NaNoWriMo planning. I’ve done some very general thinking-about-plots for non-NaNoWriMo ideas but these tend to be meandering, disconnected scene ideas, or long, complicated and overblown plans for the first three scenes of a story. I have a collection of characters, a collection of ideas, but they all seem to be from different stories, which I’d bring together in one ugly patchwork if the different stories didn’t seem to me to require completely different settings and voices… tough times; tough decisions. Focusing is the problem, I think.

What about you, writery people: do your characters naturally fit together? Are your ideas coherent? How do you force your brain to take one thing and run with it rather than dancing from this character to that idea to this vision of the world and then the other, ad infinitum? What tricks do you have? What strategies? What advice?

Good luck fellow WriMo people. See you at the start.

Smuggity Smugface Fails at Words

Day three. My latest imaginary boyfriend is Mark Ronson – he gets on better with the imaginary cat.

But back to “Day three”…

I went to bed pretty smug last night. Not just smug, actually: Smuggity. I was Smuggity as hell. Neil Gaiman-esque.

I’d had a good session (of writing, don’t be filthy) in the evening and felt like I’d cruised to my word count without problems, having written in some good interaction between my characters, solid dialogue, plodding-but-actual tension building towards a definite scene climax and revearsal. I keep calling it the ‘Wronski Feint’, but I think that’s actually something from Harry Potter. You know, like in Quidditch… *Ahem* AS IF I know about Quidditch tactics. What do you think I am, some kind of loser? Oh. Hang on…

Anyway, even though I keep calling it by the wrong(ski) name I *am* actually thinking of a real thing. I think. I’m thinking of a term Mark Gatiss used in A History of Horror to describe a particular kind of tension release and revearsal of expectations in horror movies (used by and named after some director or other). An example of the kind of situation it describes is, say, where a woman is walking down a dark alley and hears footsteps coming after her; she quickens her pace; the footsteps also quicken; she breaks into a run; suddenly there’s a hand on her shoulder (moment of maximum tension) BUT in a revearsal of expecations (is it the monster/murderer?) it is revealed that it’s just the friend she’s on her way to meet. That kind of thing.

I’m getting carried away. The point was supposed to be that I’d done a day’s-worth of good writing, felt highly pleased with myself, greased my moustache (I don’t have one but if I did it would be like Dali’s), and did a lot of “faw faw-ing” before going to bed a confirmed Smuggity.

Tonight, I write nothing (to do with my story). I’m not even properly procrastinating. I just have absolutely no plans whatsoever to write. And do you know why? BECAUSE I DID WELL YESTERDAY AND TO CONTINUE TODAY WOULD BE TO INVITE FAILURE! Deep, right? Like, totally.

What I want to know is this: who the hell invited my inner bloody editor to take part in this project? I thought I’d sent the snarky bitch off on holiday for a month; why the hell is she back so soon?

Let’s do a count: 1700 tonight + 1700 that I’ll fail to write tomorrow night because of  bonfirenightbrilliance + 1700 on hangoversaturday = 6800 words on Sunday.

Probs well easy, that. Right? Right guys?

Shit.