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09 June 2007 @ 10:12 pm
have scalpel, will travel  
Does anyone really want to hear about my life? If so, here goes.

i. My internet connection at home is so slow, I page through Life in Focus to kill time (I’ve tried reading but I can’t concentrate in the short bursts required). Life in Focus is the National Geographic’s anthology of its greatest pictures. It is bigger than any of my textbooks, which is saying something. I’ve been online half an hour; I’m already halfway through. People in olden days had gross teeth.

ii. (a) My laser eye surgery went exceptionally well, except for the bits where it didn’t. I was scheduled for LASIK (the nice one, where it takes twenty-four minutes to recover and you can go scuba-diving the next day). The surgeon, who flies over from Manchester once a fortnight to earn about ten grand a day, which is irrelevant to the story, but whatever, took one look and said ‘I’m only going to do LASEK on you.’ LASEK, for everyone’s information, is the one where they float up your entire epithelium and burn off some cornea then stick contact lens on top. For four days. Four hours of contacts has always been enough for me, and I’ve never even fallen asleep in them before (practically a glasses-wearer-ing crime). You can imagine the agony of days and days of them. Or maybe you can’t, in which case, you are lucky. If I was a different sort of Irish person I’d be railing about the bastard English, in my clinic, stealing my eye surgery – but I’m not so I won’t.

ii. (b) Before I go on with this, my eyes are fine now but I’m so over teeny-tiny font. In fact I was never under it, but it’s killing me now. I’ll be getting a whole new set of wrinkles from squinting where before I’d calluses from shoving up the specs.

ii. (c) So I wibbled for a bit, on the steps of the city courthouse no less (what? I was in the area. Got some weird looks from the howryas at the Ben and Jerry’s I was comfort-eating, though). I decided, feck it, I’ll get LASEK, women have babies for far less reward. Only to be told, “Sure, we’ll take your money – again – but not until 20 July.”

ii. (d) July! I am not a patient person. But fortunately I’d told Mr Surgeon I was a med student. I may also have intimated that I was interested in a career in ophthalmic surgery. I kid you not, he bumped me up to the next day for 10 am.

ii. (e) Which would have been unreservedly fantastic were it not for the pathology oral I was taking that same next day, anytime from 9 am to 9 pm approx. (Okay not.) So I had to beg my George Hook lecturer* to let me in first. And he slotted me in no problem, although I had him for the oral and he asked me the difference between a sarcoma and a carcinoma as the first question and what did I say? ‘Oma usually denotes benign, so sarcomas are benign.’ He was like, ‘Nooo, crazy girl, are you sure you’re even in this course?’

ii. (f) Of course he didn’t. But I bet he was thinking it.

*No one I’ve asked since remembers his name either, so that’s okay.

ii. (g) Anyway, the two totally foul parts of the surgery itself that I drag out for anyone who asks are: the bit where he stuck a speculum under my eyelids to hold them open; and the fact that burning cornea smells an awful lot like burning hair. Tasty. I had to spend two whole days without reading (technically it should have been the whole four days but I literally couldn’t stick it). I listened to an audio book from the library. It was worse than being seven and correcting my mother when she skipped bits of The Dawn Treader to get me to sleep quicker. ‘The Kitchen Maid,’ I think it was called, imaginatively, because it was about ... a kitchen maid. If it’d been a circus elephant I’d give points for originality, but nada. And who starts a book with: my lover was lying on the floor, I had a gun in my hand, but I didn’t kill him yo! I swear!

There should be a question mark at the end of that.


iii. My results come out on the fifteenth. That should be a riot.

iv. Ever get sucker-punched with the truth? Unpleasant, isn’t it. I got three separate comments on my writing that were so accurate, it hurt. One: nothing much ever happens (translation: no discernable plot). Two: too much like Pterry and Douglas Adams – and yes that was the first time I’d heard that mentioned in a derogatory fashion. Three: great build-up, no pay-off. I have gained some much needed distance this past year or so (at the expense of everyone in PoT fandom dismissing and/or disliking me – or so it feels. Your loss enniwai), so I feel more puzzled than suicidal. Like, where do I go from here?

v. On a more practical note, I am in need of a beta for a PoT exchange fic. Ideally to check up on those three points mentioned above, although what anyone else can salvage from my literary wrecks I’m not sure. I think I have grammar where I want it at this stage ... just in time to realise how little it really matters. If anyone reads this far, and is up for it, please let me know. I could do something good for you in return, like ... sending you really positive thoughtwaves across the internet. Not yet an actual marketable product, but I’m working on it.
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: The Further I Slide (Badly Drawn Boy)
The Goddamn Wolf Womanslythwolf on June 9th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Well I'm certainly glad you didn't end up having surgery 20 July, because if you had, your two days spent not reading would have been the two first days Deathly Hallows was out, and that would have been Bad.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Not bad, total agony. The suspense! And I'd have had to read regardless of the pain, because I have no patience (see above). Phew. Sometimes things do work out.
Jain: prince of tennisjain on June 9th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
On a more practical note, I am in need of a beta for a PoT exchange fic.

I'm willing.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jainjain on June 11th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)

And how quickly will you need this done? I could beta a 5000-word or smaller story within a day of receiving it if really necessary (though more time is always nice), but if it's any longer, I'll need closer to two or three days.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 14th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
Hey, I just wanted to check if the story got through to you? I certainly don't expect you to have it beta'ed already, just to know if it got in safe. :D
JRevalangui on June 9th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
Well, glad everything turned out ok in the end. Why couldn't he LASIK you, do you need something special for that one or what? *goes investigate the difference between the two* The "med student" and possibly "future eye surgeon" thing was very Slytherin of you XD.

Now, your writing... the fist one might be true but I like it, truth is, in RL sometimes nothing plotty happens so as long as you've a problem to be solved lack of action is not necessarily a bad thing. I love how you use the more routine of things to show us so much about the characters and their whole lives, why would we need to be shown their lives after that?

The last one, I like your pay-offs most of the time. Well, I'm thinking of "The Problem with Elephants" (I finally figured out what that expression meant)and "May Contain Nuts" because it might be true for "Interview with the Hero" and for that second BigBangBaby one where Harry died. I loved both fics but the endings were like...nop. I remember you were a bit upset about people don't liking the BBB one just because of the ending but I think that's what they might mean by "no pay-off", so you see, if that's it, it's only sometimes and some other times you do pay-offs fantastically. For example, the first BBB one, the one you wrote with cynicalpirate, had an unhappy ending and I didn't like that but it was somehow easier to accept, because we had known all along it possibly wasn't going to work out. Not liking surprise sad endings might be a personal thing, though. *stops ranting*

If you ever wanted good audiobooks you should check out _audiobookshare, I can't remember how slow dial-up was but there are quite a few with 50mb parts so...:p
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, in my case I needed smaller pupils, a less terrible prescription and to be about ten years older. Apparently some places want you to be 24, which I didn't know at the time. But at least I got it done in the end, and I've forgotten the pain. I guess it's like labour. The reward wipes it out.

I know what you're saying and I agree. It's the inconsistency that's biting me. In that, sometimes I can make the ending work, but if I ever try anything really long and plotty it doesn't. This doesn't bode well for ever trying to write something substantial of my own. But like I say, I'm not terribly bothered by it. It's just the way it is.

Thank you! But I can read again now, so I shall never have to suffer that ignominy again. :D
JRevalangui on June 10th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
XD I just find audiobooks are nice sometimes, and my eyes are always grateful!

So your vision is like super now? *can't wait for her own* A less terrible prescription? that's kinda silly because the worst the prescription the more the need to do it and the more likely someone's gonna pay that kind of money for it. Speaking of labour...at least, unlike pregnancy, it took only four days and it lets you sleep at night XD

If you not being terribly worried doens't mean you're going to stop trying then I agree that's how one ought to look at it... You haven't changed your mind about getting a writing degree, have you? I was looking forward to experiencing it through you a bit and I thought it really could help.

My theory is that if you can do it in short you probably can do it in long(says she who loses track of subplots and has to abandone epic novels >.>), and even if not, good short stories/novellas might not be as popular but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy as novels or something. Besides, if the problem is mostly the ending/pay-off, then girl, you're almost there (and with excelent material from beggining to middle too), which seems quite promising... *stops rambling, again*
karadin on June 9th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
(hugs you and your corneas)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you dolling.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, it was. But I've basically forgotten it now, which is good.

I do tend to follow my instincts, which is why I'm saying these comments are accurate. Not in a bad way, in fact none of them was written with malice aforethought, but they are facts about my writing. Maybe I can change them, maybe I can't. *le shrug*
Geoviki: animals - yay by janicechessgeoviki on June 10th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
Yay for new eyes, regardless of how they came to be. The tiny print will improve, if you're like me. I had to buy a couple of cheap pairs of the strongest reading glasses that you can buy in the drugstore. After about 6 weeks, I was back to my usual reading glasses (because I'm old, that's why).

I didn't want to mention the smell of pulverized cornea, because it's a bit of a turn-off, I think.

Don't claim that those reviews are the "truth," because they're someone's interpretation of what you achieve. If someone claimed I write like Pterry, I'd be thrilled. If I only had the money from it they do, is all. And "nothing much ever happens??!" The only question a writer needs to answer is: do the characters change from the beginning to the end? Yes? Then goal achieved, I think. I won't tolerate you being dissed.

I do not know PoT, so I'm no help whatsoever in the beta department there.

every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)
I was all prepared to wait way longer for the vision I've already got. (The doors were thin in that place, so I listened in to other people's consultations. heehee) I'm still getting starbursty at the end of the day, or when I watch more than an hour of TV/internet. But who cares! No more glasses! And a Mac makeover next week!

Yup, got warned I'll need glasses again eventually. Maybe by then they'll have invented prosthetic eyeballs?

Aw, pets. I'm not cross about this, I'm just in an impasse. At the moment, the story I just wrote, I know I did a Jilly Cooper on it. (Do you know her? Have you read her? Trashy but SO awesome.) I always emulate writing styles and I have no idea what my own style really is. Same goes for my personality. It's annoying, not to know who you really are, but having no legs would be worse.

'Sokay, I got one. I always have immense trouble finding betas, I have no idea why. :(
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 10th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
I meant to say walls, not doors. Although the doors, they were thin also.
Me and my Bride of Frankenstein: [tennis] dazed and confusedalice_and_lain on June 10th, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Tiny font is an abomination. For the love of all things holy, world, embrace the 12-point-or-higher font size!

I wanted to say something about the Truth, but can't quite puzzle it out.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 11th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Yea, for they are an abomination unto Nuggan.

even the size of this comment box text hurts my eyes and I don't know how to change it!!

Like the book? Or the capital-letter lie thing?
Caitcoralia13 on June 12th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
I have been inexcusably distant from LJ this year and, thus, even more inexcuably distant from you, so I am very grateful for the update! The surgery sounds horrific, although incredibly well-managed by you. How's the vision now? How do your eyes feel? I'm thinking of getting it myself, soon, and am still kind of debating the issues to myself.
I am really glad you're still writing, even if you're feeling ambiguous about the results. My goals for this summer include: more writing and a long LJ entry about MY life, potentially friendslocked for you only, as I have so often promised to do.
Anyway, glad to hear your news, and now I must revert to reading the horrid novels of Northanger Abbey before my meeting with my intimidating tutor at four. I have only eight more days in Oxford. This is not even a little okay with me.
Although I feel greedy asking for more after such a long post, and I hardly have the right to ask for ANYTHING after such a long absence, I would love to hear how your educational plans/love life (because the two so clearly go together...) are going.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 12th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
It's so good to hear from you!! I've often thought about trying to email you or putting out one of those 'where is' posts, but because I haven't been around much either I kept putting it off until I was. And then, when I am around, you show up! Perfect timing, y'all. ♥

I'm sorry the surgery sounded horrific; it was, but it wasn't intended to put anyone off, because I think everyone who can should get it done! It's the best thing ever. Srsly. If you're suitable, don't even hesitate. My vision's still a little blurry at long distances, but not lke the big blobs of yore, more fuzzy-edged. And I can read, watch TV, go to the cinema, see blades of grass -- everything I need. Go for it!

I'd love to hear everything; I feel like this whole amazing year you've had has passed me by. Mind you, this year flew for me. I can't believe I'm off for the summer -- have been for 3 weeks, yet you're still in college. Wow, those are some long terms. :D

My educational plans do not extend much beyond seeing what my results are like on Friday. I'm embarrassed to say that outburst at Christmas was more of a blip than a longterm plan. People occasionally ask about it and I've been very bold, evading the questions. *hides face* As for the love-life, I've been working very hard at getting over Him and becoming a Crush-Free Zone for the first time ever. It hasn't worked, but it's working, if you know what I mean. Hope you have better news to report!!
Caitcoralia13 on June 12th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
I am picturing you putting my face on the back of milk cartons, and finding it very flattering. So, that's nice for me. How nice that we are both around! (For a brief, shining moment, and then I will vanish into the ether until the end of July. I thought this time I should warn you before it happens.) I would love to reciprocate with a heart icon right about now, but I have forgotten (again) the way you taught me to do it, so I will just say "heart," and comment on the bitter irony of me trying to show my love for you by telling you I've forgotten all about something you once told me. Bad form, Caitlin!

Glad the surgery has been worth it for you! Does it feel amazing to say goodbye to glasses and contacts (or, at least, changing your contacts) forever? Is the fuzziness supposed to improve?

I've vanished from LJ (and, really, the entire internet) because I didn't want this amazing year of mine to pass me by. I've spent a lot of time over the past few years thinking that I'd just keep my head down and keep working until graduation, and then my life would start. And yet somehow, I've managed to get it started two years earlier than expected. This has, I believe, been the best year of my life thus far (although admittedly, because I unplugged myself from the internet, I didn't write hardly any of it down, and have thus promptly forgotten a good deal of it, much to my disgust. It's win/lose, really!) I am looking forward to reconnecting with LJ people (mainly you, you may have guessed) next year, and getting back into my fandoms a bit, all of which I've missed.

The deal at Oxford, actually, is short terms, long breaks - terms are only eight weeks long (nine, if you count 0th week, which doesn't have tutorials, but does have exams), and vacations are five or six weeks (again, depending on how you count 0th week). All my first year friends are in incredible pain right now, due to exams, and are all wishing the term over, but this is actually one school year I wish wouldn't end. It's all been so lovely! And as far as that (and, incidentally, the boy situation) goes, I will have to update you on it all more privately later!

I think it's fine to change your mind, and fine to be so frustrated with something that you decide to quit. I'm glad you've been on the verge of quitting it and then changed you mind, actually - hopefully it's made you feel more confident in and pleased with your course of study? Good luck with the results - keep up posted!!

I didn't have a crush once. For about two days this year. And, let me tell you, as someone who has had at least one steady crush for as long as she can remember, not having one was the weirdest sensation I can imagine. The only way I can describe it was that it was like breathing pure oxygen - everything is so much sharper because you're only thinking about what YOU are doing - I didn't realize how much of my mind is constantly with Him (whoever he might be at the time), but even when you're thinking about something else, part of you is thinking about him. There have been times in my life where I've convinced myself I was over someone, but this was so, so different. It's like Enlightenment. I hope you get there, and then become like some kind of Bhuddisatva, showing the rest of us the way.

What are your summer plans? Mine (which will explain my absence) are: leaving Oxford next week, staying with a friend outside London, going to Paris for a couple days with some other friends, going to stay in Cardiff with another friend, then heading back to the States with friends who will be there until the end of July, at which point I will return to internet life. Throughout this time, though, I will try to keep reading your posts and commenting, even if I make no posts of my own. This is a promise I want very much to uphold.
Keep us posted! I missed you!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 14th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
Would VELLY much like updates on toi's boy sitch. :D
moocow: [DrW] Dream Teammisconstrue on June 13th, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
i'm sorry to hear about your eyes and your writing (although I will disagree that there's no payoff although i guess people are entitled to their opinions). hope things get better!
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 13th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
My eyes are great now, thank goodness. As for the writing, well ... we'll see. Thank you for your kind wishes! ♥
jehnt: bsg - starbuck - tornjehnt on June 18th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Eeek. The eye surgery sounds ... eeep. I have no words. Was it terribly scary? Can you see like a ninja now? I've been thinking about getting my eyes corrected but I'm horribly afraid of the pain. *frets*

And while the comments on your writing are, I suppose, accurate -- although the great build-up with no payoff is only an occasional occurrence, I think -- the first two are exactly why I adore your writing. I think your writing generally does have plot, in that the story and characters go somewhere, but that this is accomplished in a meandering sort of way which is quite unlike the directed plots of lots of novels and things. I like it but I can see how it might not be to everyone's taste. *shrug* I was going to try to offer some sort of advice, but I have the most useless pieces of advice. They're all some variation of "Follow your HEART! It will show you the way!" So, yeah.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on June 19th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Not scary, imo, but mainly because I would have done anything to lose the specs - let them cut my hand off and sew it back on etc. The pain is nasty but to be fair it doesn't last very long - only the four days, and then only because you have contacts in. If you imagine that stuck-on dry pain, x4, that's it. And if you qualify for LASIK you won't even have that. I seriously advise everyone who can to go for it. The longer you wait, the more you'll wish you'd done it sooner when you do get it.

You could always get a job writing Disney songs. :D I dislike the idea of plotting on principle, in books I always hate it when they segue from the romantic bits into OMG CAR CHASE WITH CHICKEN ON SMALL BICYCLE WITH SUBMACHINE GUN! bits. Perhaps I should try getting a deal with Mills and Boon ... :D