Mastering The Enemy …

mastersYou know when you can’t string a sentence together with MS and your brain goes foggy?

Yup? What better time to start a Master’s degree (insert smiley face here).

That’s the way I was thinking two years ago (MS does funny things to your brain).

Back then, MS was The Enemy Incarnate, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, and had to be defeated at all costs. I had been writing random blog posts for a while (still do, lol) and wondered whether I could write anything else. So, I looked around, called a few universities and signed up for a Master’s.

It was then that sheer terror set in. On many levels:

  • MS – brain fog, memory issues, parking …
  • Age – how would it be to go back to Uni when I was the old enough to tell the students off?
  • Style – or lack thereof. How to pretend I fitted in. Scarf? Glasses? Something academic-y?

So, I got my mugshot taken for my ID card, shuffled along to the first meeting and wished I had shuffled right back out again. I was completely and utterly out of my depth, brand new notebook and pens notwithstanding. My fellow students used words like, ‘protagonist’ and ‘Stein-esque’.

My first attempt at a short story (about a decapitated mouse) was met with silence and a withering response. Too complicated, too long, too … strange.

The thing is. I wanted to give up. I went so far as to try to formally withdraw from the course. It wasn’t for me, obviously. I grew to hate my headless mouse and everything it stood for – a symptom of my failure.

But. I trucked along. I attended most of the tutorials, inspired by my fellow students. We critiqued each other in uniquely British-polite ways and nudged each other along the path to true creative writing.

And so I came to the dissertation.

Long story short, it evolved from a germ of an idea into a little pod. And with some nurturing from my friends, it grew into something I’m really proud of. It’s 10,000 words. Just had to get the critical essay done and that would be me – a Master’s.

One problem.

My essay is terrible.

I have six weeks to turn it around and send the whole thing in.

Sounds like a lot of time, but every time I try to sit down and write (re-write):

  • The cat is on my seat
  • The plants need watering
  • The fridge needs rearranging
  • The Teenager needs an emergency cash injection

I will get there. I will purge my dire sentences, such as, ‘I pull no punches with my story’ and change them to something like, ‘with my narrative, I will not hesitate to draw upon brutal imagery’.

Doing this is my way of getting back at MS. I want to push my boundaries, explore new areas and prove to myself that I can still ‘Do’.

The January deadline is looming and keeps me awake at night, along with the usual nerve pain.

As for now, I’m off to organise my books into alphabetical order and clean my fork prongs with a micro-cloth.


p.s. I cannot end this post without a very special mention to the supremely patient Dr. Kate North, my dissertation tutor. Thank You.

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6 thoughts on “Mastering The Enemy …

  1. Jane says:

    I’m so pleased to read this, that you’re not stopping, you want to push on. If you …nope, just lost that idea, paused to think about something else….as you were. Keep going. Prevarication tips available at short notice.
    What fog?

  2. Hello,

    All these blogs are a definite displacement activity for you. I play spider patience when I should be tending to my wee website and trying to generate some talks.

    So stop wittering on about your inconsequential 10,000 word dissertation, just sit down and write it. Leave the rest of us space to write our own pathetic useless blogs and not have to waste time reading your wonderful blogs. You are creating a displacement activity for us.

    Only joking, your blogs are an inspiration to all of us, good luck with 10,000 words cos that is an awful lot and you cannot waffle (like me)

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Most definitely displacement activity! How’d you guess??
      Luckily the 10,000 part is done, it’s just the 5000 word one I’ve got to worry about!
      p.s. I’ll still waffle …

  3. Nanette Lewis-Headnl says:

    Your writing is energetic,amusing,deep,thoughful,out of the box for many of us as we are not always where you are but alongside you.
    You will achieve that Masters and how proud we will be for you and it will be the foundation of yet more wonderful words.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
      I honestly would not be doing the Masters if it wasn’t for this blog and all the support everyone has given me since I first started blogging back in 2012 🙂

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