At the moment I feel like I am standing on the tracks and waiting for a train crash to happen.
I don’t consider myself to be a poet. But I did write some poems last term as part of my BA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University. And, in a moment of madness, I volunteered to read one of my poems at an evening poetry session.
Why? Well, the theme of the session is ‘Journeys’ and I had a poem that was about a journey. And I have set myself the challenge of always trying to respond to a new writing challenge. And, to be honest, I thought there would be numerous volunteers and I could happily stand down. But, no, I was the only one from my poetry group who responded with “Yes, I can read one of my poems out”.
Then it turns out we need to bring two poems to read. Not just one.
So, on Saturday, I will be reading a couple of my not-very-good poems out loud in front of a (hopefully) small audience at Cambridge House in Camberwell. If you are passing by and fancy a free glass of wine and nibbles, do drop in. The other poets are much better than me and you will enjoy it. We kick off at 6pm.
(Further information can be found on the Birkbeck Web site.)
Open University – Start Writing Fiction Course. Three months of reading, writing and thinking – with two assignments to submit – kept me busy. Some of it was easy. Some of it was challenging.
Yes, I passed the Open University course. Yippee!
This was the Start Writing Fiction Course, A174, and counts for 10 credits. Three months of reading, writing and thinking – with two assignments to submit – kept me busy. Some of it was easy. Some of it was challenging.
Worth doing? Yes. Definitely.
One of the fun things about the course was the student forums. Our own ‘Tutor Forum’ was poorly attended, which was a shame. The course would have been greatly enriched with more active participation. There were four or five of us who regularly contributed and I am sure we got far more from the course by posting work, discussing others’ work, asking questions and sharing difficulties.
There was, however, an active Sudents’ Cafe. This was a forum where everybody from any tutor group could participate and it was a lively place.
Many of the A174 students are going on to do the Open University’s A215 course, Creative Writing, (worth 60 credits). Sadly, I am not one of them. But I hope to keep in touch with the friends I have made. And, I am looking forward to starting at Birkbeck in October.
“Why don’t you just write? You don’t need to do a course. Just write.”
I can write on my own; and I do. But how can I know what is good and bad. I am too close to the process
Following my disappointment with Nottingham University, I reappraised my options.
Had I set my sights too high applying for an MA in creative writing? Yes, almost certainly.
My husband said, “Why don’t you just write? You don’t need to do a course. Just write.”
But I feel that I do need a course. And I tried to explain to him why.
- I need guidance. I can write on my own; and I do. But how can I know what is good and bad. I am too close to the process.
- I need structure. Too often this happens; I sit down to write and get distracted – check Twitter and follow-up a few tweets, check my emails, look at my blogs, look at other people’s blogs, get onto Facebook, play Zuma Blitz …. You get the picture?
- I want someone else to read my work with a critical eye and offer advice and suggestions. I want an audience.
So, what did I do since my last rejection?
- I applied to do a 12 week Creative Writing module (Start writing fiction) at the Open University
- I registered for a couple of days ‘Writing Great Short Stories’ course at Knuston Hall
- I applied to Birkbeck University, part of the University of London, for a place on their BA in creative writing
My interview at Birkbeck took place last Monday. I had 15 minutes to persuade two very young lecturers that I was a suitable candidate. They sent me an email on Wednesday, informing me I had been accepted. Yippee. Can’t wait!