Blimey, it's been a while. Three months since I posted anything on here, and almost as long since I posted anything on the internet at all. Thing is, I've been pretty busy. All mundane sort of stuff, but I thought it deserved some sort of explanation, in the way of an apology, for all those messages I haven't responded to, or commitments I've failed to keep.
It's like this . . .
For the last five years now, alongside my writing of novels and short stories, etc. I have been studying for an English Literature Degree, And this year, beginning a couple of months ago, I embarked upon my final year. The way it's worked out, after getting Distinctions in both the Creative Writing module and the Advanced Creative Writing module, I need a Grade 2 in this final year to obtain a First Class Degree. This is something I never even imagined might be possible.
My ambition at the end of all this studying is to train to be a teacher. The way things work, the final class for my degree has a huge impact on what sort of funding I can get. A First Class Degree makes the whole thing possible. Hence, I'm throwing all my efforts into this last module - 19th Century Literature - having to forgo, at the present, my novel and short story writing, and most of my online obligations - until I get settled into some sort of routine with the studying, that is.
There is a huge amount of work for the course. Since April I have read:
Austen, Jane Northanger Abbey (x4)
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre (x2)
Chopin, Kate The Awakening
Collins, Wilkie The Woman in White
Dickens, Charles Dombey and Son
Flaubert, Gustave Madam Bovary
Hardy, Thomas Far from the Madding Crowd
Zola, Emile Germinal
I still have Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James to read, but that's not required till later in the course. Plus there are two huge text books to get through. The reading is constant. I'm now on my third reading of Jane Eyre, and after that will begin to re-read Middlemarch.
Suffice to say, there is points where I've been drowning in the stuff. But, you know, I absolutely love it. All the books have something. By far my favourite, however, has to be Germinal. A book I'd never heard of, but now consider a lifelong friend.
As for my own writing, reading and studying all these books is, I know, making me a better writer. I never had any formal education in writing. I was in the bottom set at English at school, and wrote both ABIDE WITH ME and ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JASON DEAN completely off the cuff - making both up as I went along. Learning the rules, so to speak, through the studying of this degree will allow me to disregard those rules in the future with the confidence I am doing so with good reason. I'll always just make the stuff up as I go, but I will be doing it with the surer knowledge I know what I'm doing, and for one like me, I sort of need that, you know.
So, that's it. I'll pop into the blog, FB, Twitter, etc. when I can, and wish all of you the very best.
I can't go without mentioning the latest goings on at my publisher - Caffeine Nights. They've developed a new App (is that the right word?) to enable you to download all your favourite CN titles - including ABIDE WITH ME - straight to your phone/tablet, etc. It's basically a bookstore with over thirty thousand titles.
Take a look here for details. And I'm told today there is a special AWM offer on the App. More details on Twitter later. For those of you not aware, my Twitter wotsit -
@ianayris Imaginative, I know.
Right then, back to the books . . .
Take care everyone.
All the best,