I sat an initial interview of suitability for my Masters programme three weeks ago, I now have to submit a 6,000 word portfolio of my work to my Lecturer who will then make a decision and invite me, or not, to attend a formal interview for a place on the course. I have been in talks with the university since last year but everything hinges on the quality of my portfolio.
I have a degree in Education and English Literature and I am to undertake a course in Education and Creative Writing. I want to research two areas: Life Long Learning and Writing & Reading for Mental Health.
For the last three months I have tried to balance working and writing which has been extremely difficult as my office is not a creative space so mostly I’ve wanted to stay in bed each morning writing, as when I get home in the evening I cannot face another computer screen.
I battled away at it for almost four months. I printed all my ‘good’ work, I read and re-read the course syllabus, I told anyone who would listen (The Dutchman) about the direction I wanted to go, I repeated myself over and over, I edited, re-wrote, cut and pasted, words, words, words, words, words…. then I hit the wall.
What is a portfolio? What does my Lecturer want to see? What does my work say about me??
I begin my portfolio with one of the hardest pieces I have ever written, a memoir of my infertility. Being infertile has changed my life. This piece is well written and hard hitting. It also has been graded so academically it already has achieved top marks. I sandwich it between two parts of clever prose and boom! part one is finished. I then try to incorporate new pieces of writing, however, since my operations I have only written about heartbreak, soulmates and looking for love – oh and the little whimsy pieces I posted on here! Unfortunately this isnot enough. You cannot jam love stories together and hope for the best…
I decide to focus, bring the portfolio more in line with my areas of interest. I start writing a piece about my love of short courses, where I humorously try and explain my CV and personal statement. The Dutchman is in town and offers to read and select some pieces. I take a day off, sit in his hotel room and spread all my work out. We decide over wine and cheese that Education, academic writing or something to weave the second parts together is missing. I feel like I’m back to square one but thank him for being so kind to me and spend the next day in Westminster walking around and waiting for inspiration.
I always know what to do when I awake. The angels must talk to me in my dreams! I print off one of my favourite essays, take a highlighter, analyse it until there is nothing left and write my final piece. I blend everything I know: Education, sociology, theology, anthropology, and linguistics. Finally it is finished.
The portfolio is almost ready to go. I somehow am 109 words over so I must go through today and edit. It really is something I am proud of. I feel as if I have achieved something small already this year.
I cannot confidently say that my writing is good enough to be accepted onto the course, however, my determination and perseverance is second to none and for that I am happy.
I wish you a successful and productive day