Instructions for Dancing

Friday May 30, 2008

what if i say i’m not like the others

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 9:27 pm

430: tantum infelicem nimium dilexit animum.

It’s much easier to make a great case for why Nisus and Euryalus suck and how they brought their own death on themselves, but I wouldn’t really want to. It’s nice to have a description of honest love in Aeneid book nine, which I believe last year’s exam paper suggested was ‘an unbroken catalogue of idiocy’. They were never going to be ‘heroes’, but for two characters whose point of self-definition was their love for each other, dying for each other is surely the only end we could accept, Virgilian agenda aside. (Though I’m not sure that ‘yes, but that’s not really the point’ is good enough.)

Tuesday May 27, 2008

symmetry in your northern grin

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 3:03 pm

Mat sent 27/05/2008 00:27:
are you still there?
Mat sent 27/05/2008 00:27:
oh no, you’re here
Mat sent 27/05/2008 00:27:
bye then
Mat sent 27/05/2008 00:27:
Mat sent 27/05/2008 00:27:
(Hetty says hi)

Saturday May 24, 2008

and oh, isn’t it strange

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:35 pm

I had a really good supervision this evening with Carrie, on the Classical Questions paper, which I think is the most feared exam by all 1A classicists – 4 essays in 3 hours. Even Carrie admits that’s pretty stupid, but she says she had thirty set texts in her first year here and we only have eleven (?) so we can’t feel too sorry for ourselves. But anyway, I came out feeling a lot more secure about that exam and kindof inspired generally because of some very interesting things she said.

She gave us lots of good advice, namely

  1. cross out all the questions you won’t do so you can see your choices better
  2. trim the focus, because 40 minutes is no time at all
  3. be interesting, because the same questions are always popular

She also gave us an interesting bit of advice that Mary Beard gave her when she was studying under her at Newnham: don’t think of them as tests, think of them as chances to show off. Easy to say when you’ve probably not taken an exam in decades, but I can take her point.

So I guess that all sums up as: be amazing and fearless.

I think I can do the second, at least, because I know this mark doesn’t really matter. Unless I bomb six consecutive exams, I’ll get a 2:1 or a 2:2, though I know I’m capable of better than that. Roughly ten people each year get 1sts, so that’s a lovely thing to aim for but y’know, not a big cause of worry. Yeah, it’ll be okay.

Back to Homer now…

Friday May 23, 2008

jupiter looks good tonight

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 10:50 pm

God, Ovid was such a knob. My admiration and dislike of him has been growing all day while I’ve been translating Amores 2, especially with the poem in which he berates his girlfriend Corinna for trying to self-abort and while her life hangs in the balance he goes into really graphic detail and tells her that, if she dies, people will say “merito” at her funeral (‘she deserved it’). I wrote a fun essay on him last term, where I essentially came to the conclusion that yes, it’s love poetry, and yes, he’s insincere and rude and Corinna probably never even existed, but it doesn’t matter because he can do his own thing and turn the genre’s cliches on their head and it will be good. But wow, sometimes I really wish he had something meaningful to say.

He nearly got there today, in poem 17 of 20:

at mihi te comitam iuraras usque futuram
per me perque oculos, sidera nostra, tuos.

But you had sworn that you would always be my companion, you swore by me and by your eyes, my stars.

Nice, I thought. Then it continues…

verba puellarum, foliis leviora caducis,
irrita, qua visum est, ventus et unda ferunt.

Girls’ words are lighter than falling leaves; wind and wave carry them away null and void, just as it suits them.

So I guess I’m still waiting.

Thursday May 22, 2008

cleaning the windows

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 11:04 pm

Six months. and I’m still not trying to escape you. I’m ready now, I’m okay if it goes wrong, but equally I’ll be happy if it stays right. It’s nice to have at least one possible direction. We went out for a meal and talked about religion and family and power and parenthood, and since then I’ve been back here doing Ovid, but I’ll see him later if I get a few more poems done. The wine is making me slow.

Oh and, I’ve been listening to my very latest birthday present since it arrived on Monday. It’s a fantastic album, gentle and lovely and very easy to work to. The lyrics are good too.

I can remember when I first saw you
You said in my photograph I looked more far away
I laughed and smiled and didn’t say
I am a bit afraid to be here.

satellites on parade

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 12:36 am

I am in the very last chapter of Cicero’s Second Catilinarian, and suffering war-wounds. My neck aches and my wrist has a shiny red dent in it from where it was resting too long on the desk, and my bum is a little numb. I’ve been going nonstop since five hours ago, which is a kindof weird thought, but I needed to get a whole speech done tonight. And there’s satisfaction after.

Aand I’m done. I will be so impressed if I keep this regime up for another two weeks.

Sunday May 18, 2008

a pulse that kept you in time

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 8:28 pm


Now the tiles, the scourge of my life. How you managed to go to Tops Tiles
for the kitchen without your brain melting I do not know… ANYWAY

Sam has sent me a massive email detailing his and Mum’s plans for how to renovate our bathroom. Attached are six different images, two photos and four diagrams. It’s such a funny email, and he sounds like he’s in really high spirits, which makes me really happy. I’m going to need a spare, god, maybe spare hour to reply properly, because I’m kindof 800 lines of Virgil’s Aeneid behind my revision timetable, but I’m kindof filled with love at all the effort he put into it.

This evening at evening I did those Mozart Vespers (K339) solos I mentioned the other day. They went really well, and I wasn’t really nervous because all the solo parts interweaved rather than giving separate spotlights. This is the first time besides Requiem that I’ve really gained a feel for how fantastic Mozart is; there are just a few moments that his music is spot on, the word setting too, and singing them makes your heart ache a little. Especially beautiful is, in Beatus Vir (1:00), the line Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis (light rises in the darkness for the good), and in Dixit Dominus (2:45), the wonderful et filio descent at the beginning of the gloria that was all mine.

Friday’s formal was really fun, though the post-formal socialising went on late so it was a bit tiring. The rest of my weekend’s been very quiet what with shutting myself in my room working, though I relented for a few hours last night and we all learnt bridge and had a few more games of tangle, which were extremely funny. Tomorrow we’re all going to Clare to celebrate Ev’s birthday, which should be lovely not only for the company but also because Clare formals are shiny and delicious.

800 lines, then. Off we go.

Saturday May 17, 2008

bet you think that’s pretty clever

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 4:20 pm

Matt and I are playing Scrabble over Facebook. It’s quite… liberal.

hetty (work) says:
Mat sent 17/05/2008 16:12:
thats 43 for me..
hetty (work) says:
well aren’t you clever
Mat says:
i do feel pretty smug, ye
Mat says:
hetty (work) says:
i suppose your ability to spell makes up for your inability to use apostrophies…
Mat says:
i just literally typed christs college and was about to correct it
hetty (work) says:
ooh, suck on that
hetty (work) says:
your go
Mat says:
what the hell is obo or gox

50 points! And, for general knowledge – Gox, Obo

Friday May 16, 2008

let’s see how far we’ve come

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 2:09 pm

“Book IX is an exciting book of the Aeneid to read, because in it Vergil creates some situations and questions that may not have been brought to the fore before. The absence of the Trojans’ leader Aeneas leaves a gap that other men in the camp – and indeed the leader of the enemy – seek to appropriate, and the resulting confusion may reinforce our understanding of Aeneas’ import to the Trojans and raises some interesting questions about what it means to be masculine or heroic. I think that in many ways the successes or failures of schemes in this book do not rely on masculinity or heroism in a traditional Homeric sense; characters fail who have great strength and bravery but shortcomings in other areas, and I think that in this book we see Vergil making the concepts of masculinity and heroism far more separate in meaning than they may have been before; to be a successful hero in Vergil’s eyes seems to require characteristics far more subtle than the typical Homeric ones of bravery and strength.”

Those were the first three sentences of my very first essay here, back in Michaelmas term. Carrie called me out on that, thank god, but from my point of view there’s also a whole lot of rambly fake-enthusiastic crap that makes me squirm a little. And a lot of ‘I think’s. That’s really not cool, I think. I was going to a quote an introduction from a more recent essay to see if I’m improved, but now I’m not so sure I want to know the answer. I think my sentence lengths are a little more manageable, at least.

Formal here tonight for Helen’s birthday, which should be jolly as most people are going. Supervision with Carrie at 4, so before then I have two hours to learn a third of Aeneid 9. I made a revision timetable last night, I think it’s going to kill me.

Thursday May 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — by hettyweston @ 10:31 pm

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

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