Picture not representative of my weekend

I write this from the futon at a friend’s place in another state. Another friend drove us down here, and we’ve been marveling at how gorgeous her apartment is and rending our hair at the low, low rent. It’s been a great opportunity to get out of Chicago and hang out with people I adore, but unfortunately work, like a Prohibition-era G-man chasing down bootleggers, will always cross state lines and stay on my tail. I’m pleased to report that I’ve made my way through all the chapters of my Kaplan GRE test prep workbook, and that high school math is finally fun for me. However, it did require that my two friends leave me at the apartment for a few hours yesterday. Not exactly the mini-vacation it could have been, but I know I won’t go into full-on panic mode later.

All this prioritizing and pacing of competing and equally pressing needs feels very like college again. In theory, I’m older and wiser now, and not given to all-nighter weekends. That’s borne out less than I would like, but I have been congratulating myself a little for keeping Innogen on schedule for a whole month. That’s certainly an improvement over college-aged Esther, and I hope it bodes well for throwing myself back into school again.

Last week, Imogen took a huge risk and revealed the full extent of her suspicions about her nightmares. The risk seems to have isolated her, though — and as a woman of politics, she can’t let her emotional life interfere with teasing out this undercurrent of rebellion against Rome in Britain. Not being able to talk to Posthumus has thrown her off-kilter, though, and one or the other needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Which will it be, and how? Tune in Tuesday to see it for yourself. For now, some preview material!

One song

“Sea Lion” by Sage Francis [lyrics]

I was introduced to this song by an incredible fan video about Dean Winchester and his mother, characters from the CW series Supernatural. I love the restlessness of the track, and the conflict. Sage Francis is just blisteringly intelligent too, and there’s a vividness about his music that really works for me. In certain ways (not all of them obvious yet, but that’s on me), “Sea Lion” could speak for Imogen or Posthumus right now; certainly “a healthy distrust” is good advice for them both.

Two links
I need to give a well-deserved shout-out to Cambridge University, alma mater of my future husband and also home of the incredibly useful Celtic Personal Names of Roman Britain. Seriously: this thing is the best of the best, as far as this story is concerned.

Sorry, this is a short one this week, since at this point, large swathes of Chapter 5 still need to be written.

Three lines

“Doctor, where is Posthumus now?”

He frowns, and makes an aimless gesture toward the palace. “She was on her way to inspect the walls, and he wanted to go along. Physics,” he adds, with a shrug.

Curious? Given my schedule, so am I! Swing back on Tuesday to see where it all leads. As always, no knowledge of steampunk or Cymbeline is necessary to enjoy Innogen and the Hungry Half, but if you’d like to read the play, MIT has the full text available for free online.

GRE is to career planning as escalation is to…

If a protagonist has only one problem to sort through, there isn’t much of a plot. It’s by layering demands on our heroine that a story becomes interesting, especially if they’re in competition with each other. Apparently I am taking this formula to heart, because in addition to work, in addition to this project and in addition to trying not to become a hermit who can’t cook for herself, this week I accidentally signed up for the GRE.

“Accidentally” is a strong word, but it’s nearly accurate. One minute I was reading about application deadlines, the next I was giving my credit card to ETS. To put that in context, I’ve been resisting grad school since about 2005. I’ve always known I wanted to go, but I don’t want to be in academia, and I knew I couldn’t justify more school (and more debt) unless I was certain the degree would steer me toward a real career. Thanks to a recent graduate school fair organized by Idealist.org, I think I’ve finally found it — or rather, I’ve now got the name for the thing I’ve wanted to do all along. Which is great — a huge relief! I finally have a path, a plan, a set of options to pursue.

I also now have the GRE to study for, applications to compile, essays to compose, visits to arrange, decisions to make. This on top of work, friends, family, freelancing and Innogen. It was the right decision, but my timing is hilarious. Onward!

Last week Imogen got quite the suckerpunch, meeting Cloten, who looks just like her best friend and acts nothing like him. Let’s see how she’s going to deal with that!

One song

“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra [lyrics]

Hey, remember that time when your certainty in the most solid thing in your life got yanked out from under you? Man, that was rough. Poor Imogen. Now she has to spend an entire dinner party with it.

Two links
I’ve mentioned before that most of my knowledge about the Roman Empire comes from the Asterix comics, which means my general idea of what food in Ancient Rome looks like is something close to this:

From Asterix in Helvetia

Luckily there are scholars who disabuse us of hilarious, parodic simplifications, and who publish cookbooks of actual recipes from imperial Rome! I’ll never be embarrassed by my ignorance of how to properly cook an ostrich again. By Toutatis, I’m relieved.

The second link is mainly visual, and explains why I’m really writing Innogen.

Three lines

“Even Argus wasn’t invincible when Mercury came to play him to sleep.”

Rigantona smiles. “The Romans have gods, stories and much else, Lady Imogen, but I assure you, they do not have this.”

That’s it for now. Swing back Tuesday to see how it all comes together! As always, no knowledge of steampunk or Cymbeline is necessary to enjoy Innogen and the Hungry Half, but if you’d like to read the play, MIT has the full text available for free online.