Contemporary Gothic

I’ve done some reading for the London essay, and I’m finding myself fascinated by the theories around Contemporary Gothic. It’s even more interesting than I had imagined, and I can see how this reading will be useful in my Romanticism essay (since reading about Contemporary Gothic invariably involves reading about Classic Gothic as well).

In the last couple days I’ve read Kelly Hurley’s “British Gothic Fiction, 1885-1930” to ground myself in Gothic tropes and ideas, and Steven Bruhm’s excellent “Contemporary Gothic Fiction: Why We Need It.” I also read Roger Luckhurst’s “The contemporary London Gothic and the limits of the ‘spectral turn’,” which was long but interesting and useful. I feel like I am starting to get a handle on what Contemporary Gothic fiction might be about, and how it relates to my novels.

Ah, the novels.

I am a pitiful 57% through Downriver. I bought the kindle and the audible versions of Neverwhere, hoping that Whispersync would work between them (as advertised) but so far, no dice. I’m one chapter into that rereading.

This is progress, but it is painfully slow progress. The experience of academic reading right now is incredibly frustrating, I feel like my brain is on an extended vacation. I can’t get more than a couple paragraphs into an article before giving up in frustration, and taking a few minutes to shift my position because I’m achy, or meditate for a few minutes, or just try (try!) to absorb what I’ve read.

In the last few weeks I have seriously considered dropping out of University. This, perhaps, is the most relevant part of this post. I feel exhausted, overwhelmed. I had hoped that if I got through Christmas, everything would be better. I would be able to focus. I would be able to write. I would be able to produce good work.

Instead, I am no better off than I was when I had to defer this term work. I am, in some ways, worse! Old issues that I thought were long-resolved are creeping back into my life. Daily panic attacks that leave me queasy and wrung out, insomnia… I am afraid of another episode of depression. I see it barrelling down on me, and I just want to get out of the way.

I won’t quit University. I love what I’m doing and I feel like it’s important. I’m good at it, when I have my brain fully functional.

But this London essay is due in one week, and I’m terrified of that.

I’ve made some progress, but it’s too little and I’m afraid that it’s too late.

I really don’t know what to do about that.

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