I have Oxford on my mind

1

Wolf finished his thesis last week, and I insisted on proofreading until past my bedtime even though a deadline was looming. I hadn’t been able to help much with the doctorate beyond being a sounding board, but this was the assistance I’d been planning to give him since he first was admitted to Oxford. It was for him but also for me.

He emailed it off to the printer down the street from his former residence, and try as I might I can’t visualise the shopfront. Once printed, the readers’ copies would be delivered to the Examination Schools, another place I’ve walked past countless times. He’ll be mildly fretful about it until it’s successfully delivered, and so it’s on my mind too.

2

An acquaintance from sexy Twitter just ran the Oxford Half Marathon the other day. I’ve spent some time in the city and though I haven’t been there for the Half Marathon, I’m certain I’ve seen some other race there. I have a mental snapshot of runners in bibs, which must then date from May or June 2015. Where were they? Longwall?

 

3

Another acquaintance from sexy Twitter has family in Oxford and also studied there. We’ve talked about that a wee bit, and discussed colleges. No doubt some of his most vivid memories of the city are situated near some of my own. Like that evening when I saw an undergrad in a room above street level, carrying on with the music loud and window open, and wearing a bedsheet toga.

4

My mood is tenuous. It’s bedtime and I’m looking for a book to read. Must be fiction but there’s precious little new fiction in the house. I haven’t yet cracked the new Yann Martel, in part because the quote from a review on the front cover calls it “entirely heartbreaking”. Why did I buy this? So I look for an old friend and choose Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, a goodly chunk of which is set in Oxford.

 

I’d spent time in the city before I first read the book, but only a couple of weeks by that point. My visual memory is shit and I could barely remember the things that I had seen. I reread the book in preparation for my trip in 2015, and then soaked up vistas, views and sights. Radcliffe Camera. The Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian, All Souls (all from the outside). New College mostly from the outside but briefly from the inside once to take in evensong. The Covered Market, Blackwells, Holywell Street. The river down to the college boathouses and beyond. On the second-last day of my two-month visit, I took a tour of the Bod and got to see the famous Duke Humphrey’s Library and the Selden End (alas, no photos allowed), where the Harkness book begins.

 

As a student, Wolf was in and out of the Bod regularly, though not this building. He has a few business cards and one of those makes an utterly perfect bookmark for this book.

5

When I arrived in Oxford that time, Wolf and I both had things to tell each other that needed to be said in person. We’d been living apart for the better part of three years, though our last separation commenced only about two months before. He told me that he wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t been for a few months already. He had noticed a problem soon after he had last returned to Oxford, so it must have been March. There wasn’t much to be done until we got home, but at least I’d already set up a checkup for him. Seven weeks after he went for that checkup, he was having open-heart surgery. The ends of the scar are still pink, the drugs a daily reminder.

It was all I could do to wait a week before sharing my own news. During that week, we fucked up a storm, jet lag and period notwithstanding. It was a delight to reconnect, and to connect sexually in a way that we hadn’t really ever before. I’d been busy having my epiphany and related revelations but I was at home alone most of that time. And when he had been home, he found it a bit overwhelming.

When I could no longer hold my tongue and finally confessed that Gawan wanted to come and meet me, it was very difficult and took quite a while for Wolf to process. I have a trip to visit Gawan in a few weeks, and my departure date is almost two years from the day we first met at my local airport. Gawan is now my dom, and though the distance and polyamory are a challenge, Wolf is comfortable with it now, which allows me to be too.

6

The book I brought with me to Oxford was Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars. I’ve since given Gawan the previous GGK book, which he’s currently reading.

7

I’m not generally one for romance novels, but I found I enjoyed the romance element of A Discovery of Witches. The main character is a witch who has avoided learning anything about or using witchcraft and magic since childhood, and the love interest is a vampire. Leaving aside the issue of how vampires in literature (and other media) went from being terrifying to romantic, many of the little things he does are dominant; it reminds me a touch of D/s. One of the first things he says to her is that it can be pleasurable to let someone else take the lead, he’s protective of her, and following a bonding moment he declares that she belongs to him. And she agrees. He’s used to being obeyed. He also wears a lot of black, so there’s that.

Boobday: mile high 19

Yes, it’s another airplane loo shot.

This was taken during an unplanned trip to attend a relative’s memorial. It’s got me thinking about family, my own childhood and history, and the history of others that has affected me even though I wasn’t there.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last three years or so, but I can’t help feeling that the key to deeply understanding myself is locked away inside the head of a person who’d prefer to take her secrets to her grave. And if I’ve learned one thing recently, it’s that the grave may be nearer than you think.

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Boobday: mile high 18

Things are still quiet around here.

I finished out the term of dance classes but right when I was pretty much ready to take a break for the summer, one of my students had an idea that intrigued me. So I’m starting up another class (with shared teaching duties) soon. Time will tell if I come to regret this. I’ve also started taking a dance class as a student. It’s in a different style and very aerobic, so I’m definitely going to get a workout.

I’ve been feeling a bit better, energy-wise, and I’ve been putting that into my work. Er, and dance, which then leaves me tired. Not sure if there’s a net gain here.

My newest new hobby appears to be decluttering, and as it happens, sorting out my emotional shit has also given me some clarity about the stuff I want or don’t want in my house. Weird but true. And now I’ve found a website to sell my stuff on: people come to my house to take away the things I would have had to junk, recycle or donate, and sometimes I even get money for it! Amazing!

One down side of this is that the spot where I used to take most of my self-portraits now contains a table where I takes photos of my crap to post on that website. It’s a very functional spot in the house, but I’ve sort of lost my studio.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good though I still wish I had more energy.

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Boobday: mile high 17

It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. There are a few reasons for that, but nothing dire. I have low energy at the best of times and I’m even more tired than usual, which I think is partly a side effect from some medication I’m taking.

My interest in the blog, both writing and photography, seems to be going through a low patch. (Hell, I’m having a hard time even replying to comments, never mind creating content.) But my interest in some of my other hobbies, such as dance and sewing/costuming, has been higher than usual lately. So it balances out – at least, it does for me.

I think I just need to ride it out.

 

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Sinful Sunday: outdoor nude photography

The Sinful Sunday theme this week is “outdoor photography”.

Looking out over the Umbrian hills from the castle. There’s no model, but the photographer was nude. That counts, right?

Edit: Since I seem to be disappointing those of you who consider my playful sense of humor as one of my lesser charms, I will point out that there is a more conventional photo of me elsewhere in the Sinful Sunday offerings. But you still have to find it.

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