Saturday, 17 July 2010

Getting old and A363

For the first time in my life (so far), I have genuinely been treated as if I were old. A few days before my fiftieth birthday, this is particularly annoying. I have had estate agents talking very slowly, explaining things every carefully and refusing to comprehend that I am about to attend a university (again). The fact that son no.2 is about to go to uni for the first time is part of the confusion. So I just had to send off every tiny detail of our combined lives and an explanatory letter. Yes I am fifty. Yes, I am doing an MA. No, I'm not leaving my husband. No, really. Yes, we are broke but we can afford this. With a lot of financial juggling - I even have savings in the bank. (Everyone in the world who knows me will find this difficult to believe! But that's how serious we are about doing this.) How do people normally fund an MA? I imagine most of us create a financial crisis but do it anyway.

I am looking at the drama in Chapter 6 of the A363 coursebook (with my stated aim of trying to break the back of the course before October - which is now looking less possible). I've just worked out I have 10 weeks before the MA starts. I have nailed a first draft of the first two assignments but really need to be working on the ECA and a 2,500 word short story. I'm starting to panic at the workload, and living in Winchester looks scary. I suppose I ought to be using the stress as raw material. I'm getting more and more insecure about being able to do the MA. This is daft, they had a portfolio of my work, they can see what I can/can't do. But I'm having nightmares about school and failing things. I suppose, even if I didn't pass it, I would still have improved no end and have learned lots. And both boys would have got through their courses.

I feel bad that no.1 son's life was derailed so completely by an accident which was none of his - or the driver's - fault. A young man overtook into a corner, and we were around that corner. But it was crushing for all of us, on some level. My husband nearly died. His only injury from the accident was a fracture of a bone in his foot. Immobilising it caused a blood clot that travelled to his lungs and almost killed him,. If he didn't have a chest like a bear's and blood vessels like hosepipes he would have done. Kez seemed fine. He'd had two bangs on the head and a cut on his eyebrow which has given him a rakish scar. But he was fighting  PTSD from the start and depression eventually followed. My most mellow child became a raging, angry, self-destructive danger to himself. Two years on, he is trying to go back to his life and at 90% back to normal and a pocket full of Prozac he's going to be the other adult on the lease. So we're taking a fair amount of baggage with us down to Winchester. Maybe there's a piece of fiction asking to be written. Maybe it's for A363.

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