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So I’m quite happy!

Today was the induction to the English Department and my Creative & Life Writing MA Program. There are about 30 of us in the program. The introduction didn’t last too long, we just filled out a contact form and two of the instructors gave a base introduction and passed out the handbooks and such. It wasn’t like in undergrad where they go through the syllabus thoroughly. Though they did say the first week was still going to be dealing mostly with administrative details (so perhaps that will be the dreadfully dull but useful “here’s what you’re going to be doing” spiel.) My only class sessions are on Wednesdays. As a full time student I go to both the morning and afternoon sessions. That’s it. I know that doesn’t seem like all that much, but apparently I’ll be quite busy the rest of my week reading and writing. The group of thirty is about half and half part and full time students. In that thirty there are three different writers workshop groups with a specific tutor/writer. Mine was there today and did a little bit of talking, though not much. He did however point out toward the end of the meeting to look around and see that we were all likeminded people who didn’t think that writing was a completely mad direction to pursue or that there was no question about pursuing it. That pleased me and put a smile on my face. Then the head of the program this year went on to congratulate us on making into a rather competitive program.

After the introduction, one of the students had the balls to announce to everyone “fancy a meeting at the pub?” So after turning in our paperwork about 15 people in the program hit up the Hobgoblin and got to know each other. The whole morning/afternoon I felt so pleased and proud to be here. It was so much easier talking to people in my program, I guess because we’re all here for about the same reason and truly want to be here. (Less so I suppose at the mixers with the undergrad some of whom might be here to drink, or get their Mrs., or please their parents, etc.) Mostly we talked about why we were here, what we write and what we’re looking to get while studying here. The age range varies but most are about my age and here for about the same reason—after working for a while found it unfulfilling and wanted to get back to that which we were passionate about and take a year to properly learn and write. Some have novels they plan to take this year and work on. Others are here to try a different medium than they’re used to for instance the performance poet that wants to concentrate on prose. Others have come from slightly different BAs under their belt (one in journalism and one in psychology) but have written creatively extensively in their spare time but never really pursued it. Then there were others like me, open to what comes creatively in the year, wanting to produce new material (and in the back of the mind frightened of writer’s block in this time) and focus on strengthening their writing in general. The only other non-UK student at the pub was a girl from Vienna so as far as I gathered from the pub crowd I came the furthest to get here (though I think I recognized one woman from the international students meeting who was from Chicago—even then I win in terms of millage, of course). I talked to many different people (some more than others), drank three pints of cider in the early afternoon and left very excited about my program and my year here. I need to read through this handbook more thoroughly, I need to find a couple of books on the reading list and I still have some administrative concerns to contend with (why can’t I get into my school e-mail account?) and I’ll be golden. It’s been a good day. Oh yeah and I know it’s stupid but as I was coming back to the group from the Ladies room at the pub at one point the Specials came over the jukebox and it made me all warm and fuzzy about actually being here and living in London. You know how it is when kinda trivial things hit you the heart strings at the right time.


Yeah so what else? Yesterday I went for a walk and walked from New Cross to Tower Bridge, then along the Themes on the South Bank to the Mellinum Bridge and I went across to St. Pauls. I once again had a take away lunch on the steps of St. Pauls. (I had a pasta salad from Sainsbury’s that started good on the first bite but became increasingly disgusting with each bite. There was one spice used in the salad which started out good, then boring then just overwhelming gross.) I wandered over to the London Wall somewhere I didn’t quite make it to on my last visit and I ended up wandering around the Museum of London. I thought it would give me a greater appreciation of the history of this old place I’m living in but it really didn’t illuminate any new information about history, really. It was really just a bunch of artifacts that tried to take you through history to create an image of the city throughout the years. There was one moment in the very small Blitz section that I saw a gas mask in the corner of my eye and I literally jumped for a second on account of the “Are you my mummy?” episode of Dr. Who. Yes I am a nerd. *bows* Of course it didn’t help much that the sound in that room would randomly let off bomb sounds. I can’t imagine how horrifying that experience would be and yet how it becomes routine. All I have to go on of being attacked in my lifetime is 9/11 and even that was on the opposite coast of my country.

I feel so much more connected with history here. That is to say there IS history here as opposed to my rather new city of only what 150 years, only perhaps 90 of which I would ever actually want to live in there. It’s neat to read about a historical figure and find they’re buried just a tube ride away (as was the case with a figure in the book I’ve been reading for school, Mary Wollstonecraft—Mary Shelly’s mother—who is buried in St Pancras). Or for another example these figures I’m reading about who have their portraits at the National Portrait Gallery which I went to in my visit last year but surely didn’t recognize the names at the time. This isn’t my first trip to a European place and enjoying the old, but it will be the longest time thus far I’ll have to really take advantage of it and that excited me. There are many things and places I learned about Paris after I returned home and either never got to see or didn’t appreciate at the time (Les Halls is the first to come to mind in that case) which I long to return to with my mind able to fully appreciate.

But I’m rambling. Suffice to say I’m quite happy today and very excited about the city, the program, meeting people and especially using this time to its fullest.

South Bank Thames Walk


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear you having a great day! And your care package is there too! Yay!
Oct. 2nd, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
...and you were worried about meeting people.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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