I wanted to write one of those ‘best bits of the year’ posts for 2013 but it’s all a mad blur, so as random factors pop into my brain I shall blog about them, randomly…
In the meantime my son has gone back to school today, after telling me last night on the way home from Beavers that he hates school and wants “to stay at home, watch TV and play swordfighting all day”. After various complaints this morning ranging from having to get up to why did I polish his shoes he went off quite happily.
So now I have to get back to doing what I do…what do I do…oh yes, writing and teaching…no longer studying…looking for gainful employment… gizzajob!
I am about to begin two new creative writing projects which will keep me busy for most of this year- more about them once they’re underway…
I am also now in a position to read the stacks of books that have been growing steadily whilst I have been at university. My aim is to read one a week if possible. Let’s call it a resolution. I am slowly working my way through the pile of books my lovely friend and bibliophile Annie lent me (2 years ago-sorry Annie! It has been a joy to read purely for pleasure and not have to deconstruct and analyse everything, although this is a hard habit to break once you’ve been doing it for a while.
I’m delighted that Gingerbread has published the blog post I wrote after running The Big Fun Run. I am hoping to run the British 10k for them next July but running has been happening in fits and starts since the end of October. Something to do with the increasingly cold weather and the fact that I seem to be busier then ever- how did I ever make time to study?
The dust is settling after the handing in of my dissertation and the excitement of receiving my results. I have been enjoying having more time to spend with my son and be a mum. The house is looking less like the scary scene out of the film Brazil with the paper flying everywhere, and resuming its status as a home which contains far too many books (I know, there is no such thing…) and neat piles of paper which are slowly being filed away in boxes marked ‘Recycle’ , ‘Research, ‘Review’ (aka- dunno wot to do with this).
I have hardly written a word, apart from a few lines here and there, updated my cv and started applying for jobs… it’s been good to take a break from it and give my creative writing muscle a much-needed break. But I have written down a brief plan for a new writing project which will keep me busy for, at least, the next year and possibly longer.
Because this is just the start- not the end. This is where I get to be a writer without the safety net of university, although I do hope to go back to higher education to teach because it was the highlight of my last year of academia.
Yesterday I finally picked up my new ID card from the library at university. It says ‘valid until 30 September 2013’. That is the deadline for the dissertation I am working on this year. On 1 October 2013 I will no longer be a student. I’ve been studying full time since 2008 so it will be a big change. Yesterday was the first time I really felt it creeping towards me. This final year of study is tough, I knew it would be. The combination of completing the MFA in creative writing and studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching is proving to be rewarding and gruelling in equal measure.
It will be very strange not to be a full time student anymore but I am also looking forward to beginning a new adventure.
I was lucky enough to see the legendary Michael Rosen perform at the South Bank on National Poetry Day, to the squeals and shouts of delight of the children sat on the floor at the very front of the stage in the Royal Festival Hall.
He was followed by the rainbow-drop-multi-sensory-poetry-experience that is Laura Dockrill, who had them shouting “Pain Au Chocolat”, with exaggerated and exuberant enunciation. Her cheery persona, spot on vernacular, combined with bewitching poems – the one about a boy going to live with his Nan was so evocative you could smell it- is perfect for engaging kids in the possibilities of poetry.
I may be doing a poetry workshop with my son’s class and this gave me plenty to think about. I will have to do some serious work on how to perform to and pitch poetry at a group of four and five year olds, and how best to facilitate some fun with words. I hope it goes ahead- it will be a great opportunity.
Although I haven’t written poetry for children (yet), Sam and I enjoy playing with language and making up rhymes and poems, songs, and silly phrases which make us laugh on a daily basis. His Granddad recently taught him all about limericks and they spent an afternoon constructing a great one between them.
So I was really pleased to see this article pop up as a link on someone’s Twitterfeed (apologies, I can’t remember whose) which is a piece written by Morag Styles, who may be the only Professor of Children’s Poetry around. I have borrowed the title for this post, I hope she doesn’t mind… The Case For Children’s Poetry can be read here.