Recently I was telling a friend how I was going to have a cup of tea, a bath and read aromance book, we found it amusing how much I was fitting into the stereotype of the intelligent, introverted girl, probably single, maybe ‘alternative’, to be honest there are similarities with the stereotype of the old lady, and I fulfil this too to some extent, I really do drink gin and tonic, and I do knit and sew, and I like cats and poetry. I really do tend to prefer staying in and reading, the othe night there was a concerted effort to get me to go to a club, it failed and I spent the evening reading Aurora Leigh, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Especially recently I have been noticing how introverted I really can be, mostly because I have been going out a lot, I’m back at uni now, and especially last week I ended up in the pub with my friends nearly every day, and it was great, but it was exhausting. It was supposed to be, it is all part of my new resolution of keeping busy, but the weekend of hardly leaving the house and working my way through the reading for this week at uni and my dissertation was nice.
I’ve always had reading as a major occupation, there was a time in secondry school where I didn’t really have any friends, but I didn’t mind because I always had a book, so, sitting outside in all weathers as we weren’t allowed in school during lunch, I became known as ‘the girl with a book’. I confused one of my teachers at college when they asked what I was reading and I showed them Lolita, maybe they thought at that even at 16 it was a bit unsuitable. Even earlier, at primary school, I would sometimes stay in the classroom on my own to read or draw, rather than go out to play, and I really did read under the covers with a torch. Nothing much has changed, I still always have a book in my bag, at the moment I am reading Aurora Leigh, The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf and The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt. Reading three books at once isn’t unusual for me.
Doing an English degree is amazing, the other day I had dinner with a friend and we talked about children’s literature for most of the meal, someone else who grew up on a mix of Victorian and 1950’s childrens books, and most of my friends carry books around with them. I’m sad about leaving the degree for itself, but I’m also sad to be leaving the experience of being around people nearly as obsessive about reading as me.I’m going to miss writing about books, I forsee this blog getting very full of literary stuff, mini-essays, my discoveries of new authors that have been dead a hundred years.
It scares me that in just over a year and a half I’ll be a teacher, trying to teach 11-16 year olds that Shakespeare isn’t as boring as they assume he is and poetry isn’t a load of old-fashioned rubbish. Of course all the poetry I most love is old-fashioned, and when it comes to prose I’ll either be corrupting them with Jeanette Winterson and Sarah Waters, or boring then with the Brontes, Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde. Well, maybe not, I think the National Curriculum will stop that, rather than enraged parents.
Still, next month my friends and I are starting a book club, so I’ll be supposed to rant at them about books I love, especially as were starting with a Sarah Waters book, Affinity. My least favourite of hers, but an amazing book,and certainly one I can talk about for ages. We’re going to have wine and cake and books, and I can see that stretching out for the rest of my life, only with more tea and cats as well, until I become a crotchety old teacher, surrounded by cats, still trying to make a load of 16 year olds appreciate Tennyson and Browning. It doesn’t sound too bad, tame maybe, but I’ve always said I’d rather be respected in my field than famous.