Two more assignments to go before year’s out.
Do I want to be a writer? Do I really feel as though I can BE a writer? Will I ever feel comfortable with the idea of calling myself a writer?
I feel so much uncertainty with where I should go with my studies. Today I have been looking at the next module. We’ll move on to Stage 2 with the next module and that’s when the more focused point of study begins. I love writing! I enjoy it so much. I find it so rewarding. Before starting this module I had done very little fictional writing. I strongly felt it was not something that I would be very good at. I accepted my weaknesses and felt my strength lay in life-writing – that is, autobiographical and biographical writing. These past several weeks have opened up a new world to me. One that I felt was out-of-bounds for me. I convinced myself I would never be good enough to become proficient at fictional writing (I avoided using the term “to master” because I doubt I will ever “master” it). I’m still not sure I will ever do so.
I keep trying to silence the inner voices. At the very least I am trying to talk back to them and tell them they’re wrong. Those inner voices that keep saying to me, “you can’t.”
The biggest stumbling block I had was never knowing how to start writing a piece of fiction. I was daunted by the blank page. Since learning how to break the blank page curse, I find that lots of ideas come to my mind. I have even found myself dreaming of stories. I know they are dreams of stories because I’m not even in the dream. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced dreams that I have never actually been a part of. If I have then I never really thought about it in this way and never thought of it in terms that I am dreaming a story and I should do something about it or with it.
A few nights ago I dreamed about a female protagonist called Jessie Orange. Yes… she had a name! Completely from nowhere because I don’t know ANYONE called Jessie Orange. Jessie is Northern Irish and she dislikes her surname because of the connotations it has. She’s an activist and a protestor – but she protests for peace and a united Ireland – but she’s not Catholic, she’s Protestant.
I woke up with such vivid visions and ideas for Jessie and I immediately wanted to go to work and do something with her story. But…I haven’t. Other than now giving the synopsis of Jessie’s story, I’ve not written a single thing about her or her story. I think Jessie was an amalgam of watching the play Cyprus Avenue at the Tron Theatre a couple of weeks back and then seeing Elaine Malcolmson at McChuills on Sunday afternoon. Exposure to Northern Irish people and themes fuelled my imagination.
I’m still very ratty when it comes to capturing those kinds of ideas and doing something proactive with them. My enthusiasm is building into having several writing projects on the go at one time. This idea scares the bejaysus out of me at the same time.
I am loving the research that I am doing writing the prose for my EMA (End of Module Assessment). I’m worried that I am enjoying the research itself more than developing the story from what I’m learning through my research. I don’t really want to discuss what I am researching in case discussing it would be deemed too revealing about my piece of prose. The piece is history-based but entirely fictional. For the assessment we HAVE to write a fictional work. I am conscious of it needing to have verisimilitude – an authenticity to it. It needs to be believable and tangible. The other aspect I am worried about is that my piece will run away with me. The prose can be no longer than 2000 words and I’m worried that I have set myself a story that will be very hard to contain or work effectively within the constraints of 2000 words. There’s a part of me that wants to be selfish and start something fresh so this piece can be given the wings to soar and allow me to expand it and have the potential to make it something of a more considerable length.
My days alternate between feeling brimmed with enthusiasm and creativity to feeling as if I am going down the wrong path entirely and that it really is just academia in general that gives me a kick. It’s learning more broadly that inspires me and perhaps I shouldn’t tie myself down to a specialist subject?
How “well read” writers need to be makes me apprehensive too. I enjoy reading. Of course I do! But I’m not a book worm. I’m not as avid a reader as I should be. I do wonder whether I should stick to English Literature to begin with and then move on to CW? I also love etymology and linguistics – the concept of words, how they came to be, how we use them, their lineage, etc. I can study this as well. But then I look at the Creative Writing module at Stage 2 and there are things I am keen to learn about (like life-writing) but I can see we’ll also be looking at poetry in greater detail and that puts the fear of god in me. Writing poetry I like, reading poetry is what I find scary. I know! I love song lyrics. It’s ridiculous of me to say that I’m scared of reading poetry. It’s the complex stuff that scares me. Clever syntax and blank verse, etc. Pam Ayers? Great! William Blake? HELP!
I’m just in a very pondering mood today and wanted to jot some things down.
I love the story I am working on for my EMA. I’m a little concerned I don’t have an exact end for it, yet. It’s very early days and the EMA isn’t due until 18 May. Before that there is another TMA to hand in which is due on 6 April – just over a week away. It’s worth the lowest overall percentage of the module mark and is just 800 words. It’s a reflective task and study plan mapping out how we are working on our EMA. I’m trying not to get too hung up on that. I’ve made a tentative start and will start pulling it into focus over the weekend and into early next week.
Lastly, my grammar worries me greatly. I am very conscious of my weak points and I am being particularly mindful of my sentences at the moment. I think about every single word I write and worry whether I am using all my words in the right context. I am 52 years old and I still feel like a 14 year old girl. I still get a basic sentence wrong all the time. I keep trying to understand and work out where I am going wrong and rectify it but a lot of the time it feels like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. That’s the final voice in my head. The one that keeps refuting all the examples of “you’re never too old.” That voice keeps saying “Yes you are! You’re far too old already. Why are you even bothering?” Trying to suppress that voice is REALLY hard!