Well, there you go - somehow I managed to force this middle-aged brain to work sufficiently hard to obtain a first-class degree - yippee!!!
This last three years have been very happy ones, fully of reading and writing. I've been obliged to read and discuss books by authors I wouldn't have otherwise chosen to read - Charles Dickens is amongst them. Having studied some of his works and researched the period in which he lived, I now appreciate his efforts so much more, in fact I intend to read his entire output.
I do have an old set of books that my maternal grandfather gave me about 40 years ago. I've started to read them at various times, but the print is minute, and I think I must have been too young, for I only managed to read a few. I couldn't appreciate the subtle humour, for example, nor realise the appropriateness of some of the many contrived names. I still remember hearing a reading of one of his novels, Nicholas Nickleby, and being amazed at the school's name "Dotheboys Hall", being pronounced as Do The Boys Hall - so brilliant, yet as a child it was right over my head, I simply struggled to pronounce it!
I've read poetry, and written it. What's more, I enjoyed reading some of it, and delighted in the inventive use of words when writing it.
I wanted to write. I want to write for children. My aim in becoming an undergraduate was to hone skills I already possessed to some degree, having written short, very short, stories since I was a child. I used to write stories and create books for Rachel when she was small, though I doubt she remembers them.
I've been successful in smoothing some of the rough edges, though, naturally, the polishing could be said to be a never-ending process: when is an article or a story truly finished?
When the Lancashire Evening Post published two of my short stories this January, it brought tears of joy to my eyes - somebody "out there" considered my work good enough to fill the centre pages of the newspaper! So it's "only" a local newspaper - who cares? Not me, it was a great boost to my morale.
I've listened to lecturers for hours. Sometimes I've agreed with what they've said, other times, maybe less so, but it's all been enjoyable.
All, that is, except for the Sunday before the final exam. On that day the tears were of frustration - I enjoy exams, always have done. But this was sooooo important, worth 50% of the module's mark, and my poor brain's not as fast at remembering things as it once was.
However, my fears were all for nothing - I managed to scrape 71% for it!!!!! Despite walking away from it quite convinced that I'd blown it - there was so much I hadn't had time to write, but really wanted to include.
So, I've succeeded in my dream of attaining a first, and had much fun along the way. Now I need to get my MPhil/PhD application form in pdq as UCLAN will pay my fees for the next three years - yippee. Postgraduatedom, here I come:-)