Life was looking good. I was in a good place, feeling, um, good.
Until an email pinged on my phone. A weighty document from the university, detailing a reading list, term dates, rules, regulations, how to get a student ID card (yay!) and plagiarism warnings.
Have I been a bit too hasty in signing up for an MA? Will my brain have the last laugh? I scanned the book list, the phrases ‘developing effective analysis and argument’, ‘critical thinking skills’, ‘Harvard referencing’ leaping out at me. Assignments include a 6,000 word novel chapter, a 3,000 short story and a 10,000 word dissertation.
Perhaps my expectations have been a little on the low-expectation side. I imagined Creative Writing to be, well, creative and artistic. I had a vision of myself scribbling important thoughts in a battered notebook with a lilac pen. I would be sitting in a dingy cafe wearing fingerless gloves and studenty clothes. Me and The Teenager would cook beans on toast and lentil curry on alternate nights, warmed by the glow of our last candle. Perhaps we would visit the market at the end of the day to pick up plums and turnips that had fallen on the floor.
The last time I critically analysed anything, it was a letter from my neurologist detailing the sorry state of my brain, and even then I had to Google the long words. This course would be a whole different brain-game. Am I really up to it?
In a bid to calm down, I listened to my ‘You Are Intelligent and You Can Do It!’ relaxation thingie. Unfortunately this left me more stressed as I couldn’t count down my Stairway To Success without losing track of where I was. And when the American voice told me I was a worthy and special being, all I heard was ‘you are a special bean’. I snorted with laughter and missed the next bit about creating compartments in my mind where I could store important information. Gah.
In a fit of optimism, I ordered everything from my reading list and I have a pot of freshly-sharpened pencils on my desk. Am I ready for September? About as ready as I was for my lumbar puncture….