I’m sure that last term at Malory Towers wasn’t as much fun as my last residential study block at West Dean. There was lashing of fizzy drinks, but it owed more to the wine fields of Italy than the local lemonade factory.
The past two years at West Dean have been the best thing I have ever done (apologies to my daughter, but there were less nappies and not so much crying). When I first picked up my scissors and comb at hairdressing college in 1979, and cut the first of millions of haircuts, I never imagined I might one day be writing books. Whilst I don’t yet have my elderly arthritic grip on my Master’s degree, I am assured by my tutors that conversations would have been had by now if there was any doubt. I am a self-employed mobile hairdresser, at least until I throw away my scissors and hairdryer, following the launch of my best seller, and fend off the hordes of film producers bidding for the film rights. I’m on my second book now and can’t imagine a world where I don’t use my geriatric insomnia to write. No time wasted!
Well, a girl can dream. In fact, I heartily recommend it.
It took a worldwide pandemic and a few lockdowns to make mine come true. I think the universe may have gone a bit over the top, but I got the message. I stumbled across West Dean on Facebook, of all places. It described a practical hands-on course run by experienced writers, who are still writing and publishing as I type. If I had read the small print and realised it was an MA, I might have scrolled past. After all, the last time I was in a classroom flunking my CSEs, phones were still attached to walls, and a McDonalds burger was an exotic foreign delicacy. I’m glad I didn’t keep scrolling.