Friday, 12 October 2012

Day 160 - looking at life and laughing at life

The title of today's post is a complete (mis)appropriation and paraphrasing of a quotation from Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. In chapter four, discussing various authors' treatment of what she terms the 'male sentence', she writes: 'Jane Austen looked at it and laughed at it and devised a perfectly natural, shapely sentence proper for her own use and never departed from it'. Now, today's topic is not literature, nor am I aiming to align myself with the majesty of Austen...or indeed Woolf.

Nevertheless, re-reading this book for my module Feminist Perspectives on Literature, I was reminded of my most fundamental coping mechanism for life - to look at it and laugh at it. If I couldn't do that, as those of you who are well-acquainted with me will be aware, I would be in the Slough of Despond. So, somehow, I take a leaf from Jo March's book (though not literally - I'd never deface the pages of Little Women) and fight my inner demons with a laugh, however choked a chuckle it might be.

I've needed to do this quite a lot in the last eleven days, which is why I haven't blogged. There are times when the situations I find myself in seem more appropriate for the script of a sitcom than for 'real life' - and such was the case in these first two weeks of term. One of my relief helpers broke her ankle getting off a bus and my dad had to come up to Warwick for six days. My mum was in France. Then I heard that one of my friends from my boarding school, Ollie, had passed away. He was two years above me but it still hit me hard because the school was small and everyone, quite literally, knew everyone. My heart went out to his twin brother Tom and the rest of his family, as well as to our Treloar community. Whatever misgivings I may have about certain aspects of my time there, I am extremely grateful for the friends I made, among students and staff alike. I love you all.

The news had a twofold effect. Nobody at uni knew Ollie, and Hampshire isn't near Warwick (obviously!), so I was largely silent in my contemplation and thoughts for him. It also put the difficulties of a broken ankle in perspective - there was nothing I could do but laugh about the ridiculousness and be grateful for the impromptu time with Papa.

Ollie laughed a lot, as I remember. I'd like to thank him for setting that example to all of us. Much love, QPR has lost its number one fan.      

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