Someone I know told me that someone they knew told them that someone we didnt know (you) was agonizing about wanting to study Creative Writing in a remote beautiful country. I wish I could tell you that when I heard that, I laughed. Because while it might sound like a perfect idyllic thing to do, it is also, most definitely the hardest thing Ive ever done.
I wish I could tell you of the nerves that you’re never able to control when you have to do readings every week, to a roomfull of strangers poised with pencils waiting to pounce. I wish I could tell you that you never get used to it – And Ive been doing readings for more than 6 months. I wish I could tell you about the characters I based loosely on my life, that I was then forced to spend months editing down to shadows of their former glory. I wish I could tell you about the resentment I feel when my friends studying Science&BioTech wave aside my work as frivolous and fun. I wish I could tell you about the reading we have to do; more than the average book-lover reads in his/her lifetime. I wish I could tell you that the only real skill we have and are expensively honing are to be writers, and readers; neither of them CV-friendly. I wish I could tell you about the money we spend on coffee&cigarettes; every writer’s best friends. I wish I could tell you that it isnt all happy words and pretty thoughts; its math, and business, and numbers and spreadsheets and law – ugliness that I thought I’d rid myself off years ago. I wish I could tell you that Ive had to take a sabbatical from my S.O because of my workload; actively pushing away your strongest support system for your craft is more painful than you could ever imagine.
Then again, I wish I could tell you the other things as well. That if you’re going to study writing in a beautiful somewhere, it couldnt possibly get better than this. I wish I could tell you about the Literary Festivals and the Book Fairs and the free books. I wish I could tell you that I can actually “study” lying in the spring sunshine while dandelions tickle my toes. I wish I could tell you that Ive met people here I can talk to about art, and architecture, and how those shape literature as much as books. I wish I could tell you that those same people will travel around the United Kingdom with me to run our fingers over the country’s greatest art&architecture. I wish I could tell you that this city is so beautiful, even taking lazy afternoon walks&pints with the S.O serves as inspiration I can pen to paper. I wish I could tell you that in the spring, the sun shines so bright, you have to wear sunglasses indoors. I wish I could tell you about how theres nothing more beautiful than the way light streams through my window, weaving past my wine-bottle flowers, to illuminate my work.
I wish I could tell you all these things. But I never will.
You arent someone I know.