T + 739 Back to school

A non-medical post, which must be a good sign. However for those who hang on my every word of my medical condition: This week I came off the gabapentine nerve pain killers completely and have had no twinges from my shingles which themselves are fading fast and barely visible as light blemishes around my middle.

Back to School

Some of you may know that I did a degree with the Open University in the late 1990s in maths and computing subjects. Well I am now back with my old Alma Mater but this time doing my first course where the code for it begins with an A indicating it is in the Arts faculty.

Specifically I am embarking upon A215 Creative Writing. This is a second level course but it does not need any pre-requisites as long as people are used to or can cope with studying on their own. Having done a lot of self-study not only with the OU I should be able to cope with the demands in terms of managing my time.

After completing NaNoWriMo to write Reunion last year (did I mention I wrote a novel? ) and a couple of other short pieces of writing subsequently, I decided I needed to have some external stimulus to help me get into a more regular writing habit. I also recognised that rather than finding things out the hard way in terms of what works and what doesn't in my writing I might be able to short cut some of that process by studying the craft of writing.

The course is aimed at beginning writers and after covering ways to get into a writing habit it covers three areas Fiction, Poetry and Life Writing.

My main interest will be in fiction but I have been known to pen the odd poem though not for a long time. The area of life writing is the least appealing to me but I'll approach it with an open mind. It may come as a surprise to people that I am not interested in life writing as a few have suggested that I turn this blog into a book.

I guess my reasons for being less keen on life writing are two-fold, firstly I suppose in one way I already do that via this blog though it is hardly the most literary of endeavours and not the main purpose of the blog. Secondly, whilst I enjoy telling anecdotes about my experiences to people in a face to face situation the thought of writing them down for others to read has less appeal because one of the joys of writing for me is in the creation of something new, something that I don't already know as it were.

Finally I can't imagine it being particularly interesting to anyone who doesn't know me and those of you who do have this blog anyway. That last point is stated very frequently by people in relation to writing about their life. Why would anyone be interested? What's so special about my life? This is stated by Stephen Fry in the latest volume of his autobiography that I have just finished listening to him read on audiobook. The way he phrases it, and perhaps this is the big difference, is that his life is no more or less interesting than anyone else's.

I guess it comes down to the telling as much as the content but let us wait and see what I make of it when I come to that section of the course.

One downside to doing this course is that I will not be able to enter the NaNoWriMo this year as I know I won't have time to complete it whilst also studying A215. Maybe next year.

Finally I recently wrote a Drabble which is a story of exactly 100 words, this is available on my ABC Tales account but as it is only 100 words I thought I would reproduce it below as well.

House Arrest - A Drabble

I knew it was a risk going out in daylight but I was desperately low on supplies.

As I turned the corner of my street I saw the dark, menacing outline of one of their vans patrolling.

Would my neighbour cover for me?

I just couldn’t risk it.

I was on my last warning.

I sprinted down the alley.

Lungs bursting, heart pounding, I vaulted the garden fence and crashed through the back door.

Was I safe?

I looked up the hall and saw with dread, there on the mat, a small card:

“We tried to deliver a parcel today…”


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