Well it finally came! On Thursday I joined 23 new colleagues on the newly created and very exciting MA Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University. Although I have been waiting only a few weeks for this day, in reality it has been 23 years. I keep pinching myself to remind me that I am no longer talking the talk but finally walking the walk…it’s a scary but rather nice sensation and I am excited all to hell and back about the big things just around the corner.
True to form I turned up two days late for the first session at 9am having – I would like to say having misread the instructions but really the glance I gave them was so cursory I didn’t even notice a date and simply assumed they were talking about the Thursday not the Tuesday. Luckily it was not an important session and I already had the information. On the plus side I was really early for the 10am session which was important! This left time for coffee and reading. How wonderful to be on a course which promotes, encourages and downright insists on as much reading as possible!
Thursday was an introduction to the course and the only downside to the proceedings was my momentary baulk at the announcement of ice-breaking activities. In my experience ice-breaking usually involves standing up and boring a bunch of strangers with a mini bio and the sometimes very personal reason as to why you are standing in front of them. Once at job interview (I still wake up sweating occasionally)with about 18 other candidates, we were made to stand in a circle and throw a ball to each other. Every time you caught the ball you had to say something about yourself. Utterly loathsome. My baulk bulked when we were split into pairs and I concluded we would now spend five minutes sharing enough (albeit edited) information so your partner (a complete stranger) can introduce you to everyone else. Again loathsome and in the past, every time I have had to do this my partner either didn’t hear me correctly and was too shy to seek elucidation; was unable to retain even the basic of information; mispronounced my name or showed such an utter lack of interest that I had to step in and introduce myself. I was relieved and pleased to learn that instead, we had to give three facts about ourselves, two truths and one lie and everyone was to guess the lie. Fabulous, except I could not think of a witty, clever or outrageously impressive lie, so settled for three truths. (And my partner mispronounced my name!)
Dread returned when we started the sit down, stand up game. You know when you all start standing and then a question is posed such as ‘stay standing if you have never travelled by ferry’? A thousand years ago in another life I played a sex version of this game and for about five consecutive questions was either the only person sitting or the only person standing! I have never had sex since to avoid any further cocktail party embarrassment. Although on reflection, I suppose I could just refrain from playing the game instead…ahh yes, thats much better…or lie. Anyhoo…luckily this time there were no probing questions and I left the ice-breaking with a new found appreciation for the concept.
With all ice correctly broken we were free to matriculate at the Merchiston campus, at first a seemingly laborious and pedantic proces that in reality was well organised, well staffed and worked like a charm. We then foraged for a much needed gin and tonic, generously donated to all by Sam Kelly and David Bishop, the masterminds of the course.