I'm heading to Dublin for the weekend in an hour, and in lieu of packing, here I am on blogger, like a sad case. I'm planning on packing some of the reading list for the MA - the course starts in less than a month, and panic is starting to set in - not enough read, certainly not enough written, and don't even mention the looming horror of moving house, let alone trying to fit in enough paid work amongst the madness to finance the rent I've already paid out in advance. Terrifying.

Each week on the course we'll have a seminar and a workshop, and every two weeks there'll be an additional seminar with Martin Amis. The reading will probably be manageable, and about half of it I've read before, so though I'll probably re-read most of it, it's definitely do-able. Getting back in the academic mindset after six years out will be more awkward. I expect I'll become something of a library gnome, hunched over critical texts, trying to drag my brain out of retirement, and writing deep into the night and getting all sleep-deprived and narky. Anyway, the reading begins today with some Henry James for the plane, and now that I've got a couple of weeks without much work (though including a house move, urgh) I should be able to get a chunk of writing done.

In terms of this blog, I've been looking at another one, The MFA Chronicles, and I like what they're up to, so I think I'm going to do a copycat job on it here, sort of, by keeping a record of my experience on a creative writing MA. I'll post notes on the structure of the course, the workshops, how I think it's effecting my writing, etc - a whole bunch of self-obsessed crap, more than likely, but you never know, somebody might be interested, and I think I'd have been interested in an equivalent log, a year ago. So let's give it a go. It's the MA course in Creative Writing in the University of Manchester, and I'll be starting as a full-time student on September 21st 2009. Stay tuned...


Jenn said...

Hello! And Good luck... bet you won't need it.

I have a friend doing an MA in creative writing, who is using her blog to record her progress... it's really interesting and even though I did mine a few years ago now, I still get a bit jealous reading it. Make sure you keep us filled in with all the details...


P.s that other blog is


Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks, Jenn! I've been carting my Henry James about all weekend in the hope that conscientiousness would strike, but it's been beaten by beer every time so far... Kim's blog looks great - thanks for the link - one for the good old RSS feed!

Fingers crossed for Not The Booker - that mug's got your name on it.

kim mcgowan said...

Ah Ha!! I've done a bit of detective work (on reflection, a very tiny little bit of detective work) and it's all coming clear now.

Hi Jenn. Hi Valerie, I love your blog and when I've posted this I'll arr ess ess you too.

Very great luck with your MA. But I can tell by your blog and stories that you'll do brilliantly; and I know luck has nothing to do with it.

I'm a bit jealous of you too. My final year has no teaching sessions and I'll miss the peer support (and peer dynamics). Also, as Jenn knows, I've got a lot of a thing for M Amis.


Emma said...

HI Valerie - just happened across your blog - remember me from Fiction Workhouse? (New Zealand Emma). Just popping in to say very best of luck with the MA. :-)

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Hi Emma, of course I remember you! We're all still nostalgic about Remembered Spaces... How's your course going? I read that Eleanor Catton book recently - I was impressed yet uninvolved - but man! How young is she? Depressing. You'll be next though - we're all waiting with bated breath!

Kim - I'm trying really hard to think of intelligent, non-drooling things to say to M.A. - failing miserably so far - I'll be the grinning loon looking for the autograph after class!

kim mcgowan said...

Good plan! If I give you my copy of The Rachel Papers will you get him to sign it with lots of love to me?

Oh, I can't. I've owned three copies and every time I loan it to someone insisting they have to read it and I never get it back. Maybe you could just get him to sign a post-it?


JayTee said...

Hi Valerie! I've now reached out to you via both twitter and your blog so I could be considered an e-stalker now! lol You've got quite the list of publications over there in the sidebar! That's pretty inspirational. I'll definitely be following your progress. I'm especially interested in what you'll be reading so please do share. Good luck when your program starts!