Tuesday, January 18, 1983


Yesterday Shelley told me that Guy came back from a meeting about the American Studies year abroad with news that cuts have forced the University to charge us £1000 if we want to go.

This news really sickens me: the year in the States was a big factor in me choosing this course. And now I can’t go, and if I can’t change to Literature either and get stuck with the History track and no year abroad, well . . . the next 3 years just stretch away bleakly at the thought.

I laid on Shelley’s bed brooding. What incentive is there now? Earlier I'd gone to see my personal tutor to choose courses for the rest of my time here, and as I looked through the options I felt totally disinterested and thoroughly deadened by my choices.

So at teatime a group of us went up to the Cork & Bottle in Sarisgate and I gratefully seized on the opportunity as an excuse to throw myself into the comforts of alcoholic oblivion for a while. I got drunk on shorts and blundered back feeling absolutely frozen only to slump around sleepily in Rowan's room. She, in bed in the dark, said, “The more I know of you the less reachable you seem. You don’t give anything away about yourself. I don’t know anything about you.” I finally went to my bed at three or so.

I had some really vivid and coherent dreams: I was back in the 1830s and felt excited at the prospect of visiting Bethany. A railway line stretched naked across the moors.

I was still drunk when I woke up and when I looked at my clock I thought it said 4.15 p.m., so I lay there for fully ½ an hour under this delusion, deciding I may as well stay in bed. But when I looked again I realised it was 8.45 a.m. and I was jolted into reality by loud voices outside my door.

RCP Carl's parents were questioning Barry about his whereabouts: he hasn’t been in touch at all or even signed on for the new term at Poly. After they’d left Barry found he'd got a postcard from Carl and Patrick. They're in Oxford: “In the city of dreaming spires, looking at it in a scientific way, seeing if wine, women, song + lobster something or other have any effect on communist convictions. We’re making these sacrifices for the revolution.”

I got a typed letter from Duncan Verity asking me, if I had the time, to look up various ‘haunted’ places in Watermouth. He really knows his topography! It seemed so weird reading this blast from the past as I wandered back through the foyer of Wollstonecraft Hall.

Since hearing this news about the year abroad yesterday I’ve felt at such a loss. Do I know why I’m here? What do I want? There's got to be more.

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