Sorry I've ignored the blog for so long. As you all saw in my last post, we've been battling with Den's cancer.
Three weeks ago he finished a course of radiotherapy, and since then it's been a bit up and down. He has started eating solids again, which is a good thing, but unfortunately he still has days when he can't keep anything down. We see the doctor again next week (on my birthday of all days), to discuss further options, including chemotherapy.
But at the moment we're taking the view that he's still here, he's still functioning fairly well, so we're not ready to give up just yet. We know he can't be cured, but we can work on keeping him here for as long as possible. It's a bit 'one step forward/two steps back' around here, but we keep on going and are trying our best to carry on as normal (whatever normal is).
With this in mind, I've signed up to do an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University, which starts in October. I have ten years to complete the course, so if I do have to take time out to care for Den, I can still return to the course later. The MA CW is something I've always wanted to do, and thankfully new funding rules have made it possible for me to do this.
I'm a bit excited and not a little bit nervous! I was talking on Facebook yesterday about whether my particular brand of genre writing will go down well with the more literary tutors/other students (I might have put it a bit blunter than that and used the words 'arty farty' and 'navel gazing' ... cough).
This is not an irrational fear. A long time ago I attended a poetry workshop at a Summer School and we all had to write a poem. I wrote mine and agreed to read it out in the class. After which the tutor looked at me aghast and said, 'Oh, it rhymes'. She quickly moved on to the next person, leaving me feeling like a burst balloon. How was I to know that rhyming poetry was no longer acceptable?
But I figure that in the end I have to be true to myself, and I don't want to try to write outside of my genre just to fit some ideal of what a literary author is. So I don't expect to do brilliantly, but as long as I pass and get my MA at the end, that's all that matters. It's the experience that's important and also proving to myself that I can do it.
I don't know what's going to happen. Obviously Den's health is still a major factor and the top priority for me, but the way I see it, I haven't hit a brick wall yet, so I intend to keep going until I do. And who is to say that if I hit that brick wall that I won't find a way over and around it? I've come a long way since that Summer School and nowadays I'd be more likely to argue that rhyming poetry is a perfectly acceptable art form, regardless of that tutor's personal tastes.
I'm hoping to keep an online journal of my studies, if I get the time with everything else that's happening in my life, so I can share my experiences and maybe inspire others to take that step forward in their writing. I will probably set up a new blog for that, in my own (real) name, as that's the name I'll be using for the MA.
Since writing this, I have set up a blog for the MA, under my real name. If you're interested, you can read it HERE.