The world is my teeny-tiny mollusc

I have just this week been radically re-evaluating what I am capable of. [But see NaNoWriMo counter - Ed]

I told you all that I had passed my MA, making me a BaMaMa, which is just stupid. Well, last week the University finally got around to sending back the dissertation, all 15000 miserable last-minute-scribbly panic-welded words of it. But for insane, possibly-involving-vast-clerical-error reasons of their own, they marked it A+, 75%, jolly well done and thank you.

What? What on earth? [And, I repeat, see NaNoWriMo counter, for the full brain-wrenching paradox]

I assure you people, the dissertation was shit. I knew in my bones it was shit and I would just about scrape a pass, mostly out of the pity and embarrassment of my tutor’s hearts, and I’d have to bury it in the Council compost heap when it came back, after two goes through the shredder, naturally. And I had good reasons for knowing it was shit. I was grieving for my lost baby, I had been very ill and I can see now I panicked and went back to work [full-time work! Reed, you ARSE] far too soon, I hated the subject I was writing on, I procrastinated by reading and reading and reading and S was beginning to panic for me as bloody hell, I was leaving the writing part late, I typed the whole thing out in a last-minute frenzy [there's a king-sized typo in the Introduction that swallowed a whole sentence. How unsurprised I was to see it there].

The only people I have told about the A-freakin’-+ so far are my bestest friends, some colleagues, and the internets. No, not any family. Why have I not told family? Well, frankly, for their own safety, for they will say ‘I knew you’d be fine, I really don’t know what you were making such a fuss about’ and a red mist will descend and then eight police-men will be holding me down and prying the shattered remains of the twelve-foot solid oak dining table from my bare hands.

[Which somehow makes the NaNoWriMo belly-flop A-OK, does it?]

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3 Responses to The world is my teeny-tiny mollusc

  1. Fugitive Pieces says:

    Dearest Reed
    Oh, bloody hell.
    There is one thing worse than being praised for a piece of work that you know was a travesty of its original potential – and that is the indifference of other people (OK, family) to the distress that caused its buggering up. Bad enough that strangers are lauding work that you consider to be a sling-shot of dung. You really don’t need to have abject grief and weariness described as a ‘fuss’, even hypothetically. Don’t tell your family. Tell people who will be pleased for you, but understanding if you feel entirely, blankly bewildered about it.
    To be brutal, I think that losing one baby was enough. Having your work come out wrong, and desperately, and too soon – well, it’s another loss, a lesser one but in the same dolorous key. The NaNoWriMo thing was just too big an ask after that.
    Please, show yourself a bit of tenderness, and compassion, and all those words that make your toes curl in horrified anticipation of encroaching warm fuzziness – no, I can’t do it to you. But, honestly, dear heart: enough with the deadlines for a bit. Make some tea. Stare into the middle distance. Kick a pigeon. Stop hurling yourself at precipices, especially from the bottom.
    God, with a post this long, I should have done NaNoWriMo. Take care of yourself. I mean it.

  2. Dear Reed, relax, unwind, stare at the moon, take long pointless walks, listen to some Joan Baez (or Julie London or Suzi Quatro if either is more to your liking). Reconnect with the earth and its seasons. We cannot affect those things which have already happened. We can only ready ourselves for what is to come. Just know that your friends care, wish you the best and are pretty well non-judgmental while being proud to know someone with your ability, humanity and accomplishments.

    Oh, one small judgmental bit (hey, where does it say I have to be consistent?) – while you may not think the dissertation was up to scratch, those who judged it have had a lot of experience. Trust and accept their judgment.

    In the meantime, fantasies involving eight men in uniform, while not my cup of tea, could well be just the thing for you ;)

  3. Helen says:

    Yes, please be kind to yourself, Reed. You’ve gone through such a horrible time, and really, the dissertation is finished and done, it is almost as though you have jumped through a burning hoop. Going back to it will only hurt ten times more. I am thinking, do you have to tell your family your mark? Sometimes I just sketch around the details of these things if I know they will provoke an annoying response, I might say something like: “Oh yeah, I passed…” change subject, no further information.

    I am so familiar with this intense putting-pressure-on-myself, and in retrospect I think: “Why did I treat myself that way? Would I have had such exacting standards for a friend or even a stranger? No way!” Please let yourself off the hook. NaNoWriMo SchnaSchnoSchwriSchmo!

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