Saturday, 10 October 2009
OK? N M Browne
Yesterday I enrolled on a Phd course. It was OK. I have a student ID – a photo that makes me look like my ninety five year old grandmother and my date of birth prominently displayed. ‘It’ll be useful when you go to clubs,’ the administrator smirked. I tried to keep the razor blades out of my returning smile.
There was an introductory session. The woman next to me made swift notes on her phone while I scrabbled around in my handbag for a pencil and notebook. I looked around surreptitiously to discover that though almost everyone in the room was youngish there were a few others there who looked like they’d lived harder or at least longer than the others. I was reassured. One by one the older people revealed themselves to have got their Phds decades before; they were all staff. That was OK too.
Then, in mid lecture, my phone went off revealing simultaneously my dodgy taste in ringtones, my absentmindedness and finally my utter technical incompetence; I couldn’t turn the damn thing off. As all eyes turned to me I reassured myself ‘It will be all right, you can do this’ fortunately remembering just in time not to say it out loud. Attention shifted. I slunk into my chair; it was OK.
It was then that they started talking about the work. I love the idea of work, the fantasy of research, of being knowledgeable, and, if I am honest, of reading all day but the actual business of work? I am not sure if that is OK. What the hell do I think I am I doing? Why do I want to put myself through this?
There is an upside I get 10% off at Topshop, which has convinced my daughter my new project is a good thing, I have an excuse for drinking too much and vomiting, ( I don’t think I’ll do it but I know that I could now that I’m a student again) and I really, really want to write fiction. This might be a radical solution to writer’s block but if it works don’t knock it. It will be OK.