I had thought that the fact that this time around I am not facing seven exams in nine days would mean I would be without the weird-dreams, lack-of-life and sitting in the library pale of face* and with unwashed hair as I came to the business end of my degree.
Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.
Okay, I haven't stooped to such levels as reciting Andrew Marvell poems whilst in the shower or getting excited about Chaucer or scaring award winning Playwrights with the look of fear in my eyes. And, for all I like the idea of the writer-in-the-garret, there's been something curiously social about this experience. Library Lock In may have involved lots of computer time (erm, and twitter) but there's also been coffee breaks, extended lunches and on one only moderately painful occasion, Badminton. Oxford turned us into solitary fact eaters. Goldsmiths has turned us into a group with a level of co-dependency that means we can just about go to the toilet on our own.
But writing this new play has, in its own way, been just as crazy-inducing as those weeks of 12 hour revision sessions. There's been a 4,000 word essay for my Prisons, Punishment and Performance contextual course (in which I wrote 2,500 words on Bad Girls The Musical - see, working at the WYP really did pay off) but since I spent exactly four and a half days on that it would seem a bit churlish to lay much blame in that department. But the new play. That has been something altogether rather different.
Because this play of mine, not only does it have to stand up to a workshop, and the prodding and poking of my fellow writers, and then (in, shudder, six weeks) a thirty minute reading at the Soho Theatre, and beyond that the final project deadline and the small matter of it counting for a stonking 60% of my final grade - this play matters in terms of what I do next. Which is PRESSURE. And that makes me go a bit high pitched and squeaky. Or unsteady and hysterical as Arsenal Fan commented of me on Sunday evening when the library printers stopped working and I went to that place where only dogs can hear me.
Though I recognise, even sat here now, how wonderful in many ways this time has been. For so long my writing has been something that was made to fit around other things. A worrying proportion of Films About Ghosts was written in the FoH office at the WYP. This new play - oh, I should stop hiding the title, and just come out and say it is called foreverafterwards** - has been for the past few weeks priority number one. The time I have been able to devote to it, to simply researching or playing with ideas has been utterly wonderful. And that part of the process hasn't finished yet. Indeed, if anything, it will get stronger, more intense. Suddenly I realise that those seemingly endless Press Nights and vomiting children have bought me the time to do this. And that time is a wonderful, amazing thing which, even if it never comes round again, I will always treasure. I want to come back to the process of writing foreverafterwards in another blog soon, as it's raised some issues I've never experienced before, but for now let me say: the insanity has been worth it.
There have been other things that have contributed to the high-pitchedness. Obviously I've been ushering 3 to 4 times a week. There's been some job hunting for what I might do come the Summer. I've started reviewing for TotallyTheatre and have been shortlisted for What's On Stage's Blog Correspondent. I'm dramaturging two plays for StoneCrabs that have an inbuilt deadline of their production in June. I've also been given a project for StoneCrabs that not only thrills me but might actually pay me properly (I shall divulge as soon as possible). There's also something bubbling that might make next year very interesting indeed.
Oh, and in four days time I leave Forest Hill to take up residence with Dean and Director Boy.
Which all means, I suppose, that if I've hit levels of pre-finals crazy-ness in April, then May is going to be very interesting. I apologise in advance.
*So, yes, I am usually pale of face. But paler still.
**Yes, with no capital letters and as one word. Should you be interested it's