Formally studying English literature became of interest to me several years ago because of difficulty with structure in a creative writing project. My expectation was not to become a professional writer. I just enjoyed creative writing and wanted to study writing more closely. It isn’t easy to develop and sustain a fictional universe, world and argument the entire length of a book or other text. Complex ideas are not easy to develop and weave together all the while being the master of the medium; in this case language and self-expression.
Mastering self-expression and language is a taller order than I really understood or appreciated. During the last two weeks I have taken careful stock of my approach to the course and methods of study. I read Rachel’s blog several times because she is so absolutely correct and very inspiring. And although my marks were reasonable this year I do not feel I did my best work. This contemplative time over the last few weeks helped me to put a few things in perspective.
Perspective provides different views and can be quite illuminating. My perspective about my exams results is a little disturbing. I am disturbed that my marks did not improve in comparison to last term. It is disturbing to realize my work did not yield better results. Asking why produced a very interesting perspective. During the year I worked hard but did I work on things necessary to grasp the skills and concepts the program presents or just things I wanted to? This was a very stressful year. Now I see that I approached study time as a busy pleasure but not in the way that applies the attention and perspective required to attain my goals. While the relief from other stress is welcome it is particularly disturbing to realize this is the reason I have not made progress on writing goals or exam results.
For me progress on the writing goals will be reflected in the exam results. My new perspective means that I will not approach this year’s work like the results I want will come accidentally; the results I am looking for can not be larked onto by some happy coincidence of genius and a smooth, stress free exam day. Does this sound like I am whining? Since this is all about me, yes, it is definitely a bit of a whine.
As Stanley Tucci said to Ann Hathaway in ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ “you aren’t trying you’re whining.’ This is a hugely helpful perspective. The results I want represent a challenge and a personal victory. Borrowing Michelangelo’s memorable phrase, my exam results kiss, whip, lick, bite and sting this year because of the jarring personal perspective they represent. I refuse to accept I cannot achieve the results I want; especially when I am so close to the goal and the reasons for under achieving are self-inflicted. It is time for me to stop whining and start trying. That is an excellent perspective.