It’s official. I have made it through the first year of the diploma course. I passed the exam and all the assignments and enjoyed it, mostly. I feel I have learnt a huge amount which at the same time amounts to a speck of dust on one book in the infinite, dusty library of things that I could know about writing. I have to start somewhere though and I have started which is something.
The one thing the course probably can’t teach me is possibly the biggest problem. It has already been mentioned on this blog, by Tanya. In a comment she wrote:
I am going to quote from Utopia, by Thomas More (1478-1535), because I was touched by his letter to his publisher apologising for taking so long writing his book but he has been very busy with the day job and then “You see, when I come home, I’ve got to talk to my wife, have a chat with the children & discuss things with my servants. I count this as one of my commitments as it is absolutely necessary if I’m not to be a stranger in my own home, besides one should always try to be nice to the people one lives with… the days, the months, the years slip by… the only time I ever get to myself is what I steal from sleep and meals… so my progress has been slow – but there has at least been some, I’ve finally finished Utopia, and I’m sending it to you, my dear Peter… Best wishes etc… and please go on liking me as much as ever – because I like you even more than ever. ”
I am haunted by this quote and comforted. If a genius like Thomas More finds family life distracting, then it’s not surprising that I, a nongenius, struggle too. I have spent the months since April battling my resentment about my family obligations and their interference in my desire to write. I have realised that I have to accept doing both quite badly, or less well than I think I could if I only did one.
Slowly, I’m learning how to balance a bit. ( And how to be nice. That’s also new for me.)
I do often feel quite overwhelmed and sometimes bitter. But I try to keep in mind that these are lovely problems to have; better, surely, too much in my life than too little.