For a while now I have been toying with doing a course in creative writing at Oxford and I have been looking into the MSt. Now, it isn’t that I think I need it, nor is it that I think it will help me sell more books, but I would like to know more. My thirst for knowledge has always been great but as I have grown older I have revelled in learning new things – they may not stay long enough in my head to have any major impact but the path to it has been wonderful.
So why then, you may be asking, would I not choose a subject that would give me a greater insight in something of which I know very little, for example theoretical physics which I have blogged about before or even mechanical engineering or a language. Why pursue a subject in which I already dabble? Well, I believe there is no such thing as knowing too much. If I decide to dip my toe into the academic pool it may as well be into a pool with which I have some familiarity before I expose myself to other realms.
There is a saying about it being better to be a king of fools than a fool to kings. I tell the children at school that knowledge is the key that will open the door to opportunity for, if nothing else, it will give them the words to make themselves heard and it is the one thing they will never lose.
In the world of literature there are two factions. The ‘serious’ literati and the ‘others’. Who defines them? Who says whether or not, in this world of evolving language, an author is good enough to be shortlisted for the Booker or doomed forever to be slated as a popcorn writer. Not I. Stephenie Meyer has written books that have not only captivated her readers but she has done what very few writers have been able to do in my years as a librarian – she has made reluctant readers prolific readers. She has engaged children. Her works have been ripped apart by those that seem to forget that fiction is supposed to entertain, like a movie. I take my hat off to Ms Meyer and her ilke that have entranced and brought together people from all walks of life, male or female, young or old. If her books are considered foolish in literary circles then I would be more than honoured to be considered King (uh, Queen), but that position is already filled.
So, if I am accepted onto the course will I move myself out of that sphere into the other one? I doubt it. I don’t do heavy literature. I do emotion and I do it in a way that appeals to me which I am sure would definitely not be Booker material.
Having said that, once the dons at Oxford read this article, with its mixed metaphors and thumb-nosing I may well find myself gazing at a closed door. Albeit a very beautiful, old, wooden one.