Here's a birthday card I did for my Creative Writing tutor, the divine Barbara Marsh, poet, actress and rock chick, formerly of the brilliant Dear Janes. Needless to say, Barbara looks much lovelier than this (much lovelier... she is soooo beautiful... sigh...) It's the perennial problem of how do you caricature attractive people?
The haiku reference is a bit of a self-mocking thing, as Barbara appears somehow to have picked up on the fact that it's... er, not exactly my favourite part of the course. But it is such a great course! My third term at it has just come to an end, and I am utterly at a loss. Got to sign up for it all over again in September. But I also need more! This is an excellent introductory programme, but I really want to go further and develop as a writer. Barbara has been advising me about this, and is encouraging me to apply to study for an MA in Creative Writing. I think I need to do this, but it's such a complex issue. Barbara is only able to advise me up to a point, as she studied in her native US, so has limited experience of the British education system. I completed an MA in Illustration last year, and wasn't entirely happy about it, due to the lack of actual teaching. Our arts tutors were fond of saying that people who weren't happy on the course were too used to being "spoon fed" on their BA courses and unprepared for self-directed study. They couldn't really comprehend someone like me, who had the opposite problem. Being self-trained, I was used to nothing but self-directed study, and was always slightly bewildered as to why I was now paying such hefty fees to work alone just like I had always done.
I'm reasonably confident that I could meet the demands of an MA in Creative Writing, and would get a lot out of it. But I'm not that arrogant. I think the truth is, in an ideal world, I could actually benefit from a bit of that spoon feeding and ought really to do a BA first. But... there is no way I could fit that around my existing schedule of looking after my Mum. I think, under present circumstances, the flexibility of part-time, self-directed study is the only way forward for me. That and keeping up attendance at my current introductory class, which is a fantastic way of generating new material.
So... deep breath, and on with filling out my MA application form. At least lovely Barbara has agreed to give me a reference.