It started last week – my MLitt in creative writing at the University of Glasgow. And in the manner that very much I imagine it will continue. There I was convinced I didn’t need to be there until noon when I thought I’d better check.
10am. That’s when I need to be there – in 30 minutes! I may have sworn as I abandoned my careful preparations and threw myself into the car.
Of course, I was late. Luckily few people noticed. Apparently, if you are in your, ahem, middle years near a university during freshers’ week, you are invisible.
There’s an old joke about two journalists who meet in a pub.
“What are you up to?”
“I’m writing a novel.”
“Yes. Me neither.”
It’s probably true that most people who work with words hoard a notion that they might – one day – write the big one. The book that puts them on the map. The one that reveals their shy talent and hidden depths. Only I, after years of procrastination, did something about it.
Being offered a place was probably the perfect moment of my literary career. Chosen for potential and yet to disappoint.
The first few minutes did go fairly well – I found somewhere to park and got the right room first time. Then someone asked me what I did. What could he mean? I stammered something about copywriting and families and journalism.
There was a pitying look. “No, I mean, your writing. Are you a poet? Short stories? What?”
“Erm. Prose. Yes, that’s it. Mostly prose.”
Good grief. What was I thinking? I have no idea what I ‘do’ except follow through on something that seemed a good plan back when I used to have ideas for things to write, for plots, turns of phrase. Back before I knew exactly how out of my depth I was.