Back in primary school, many years ago, we had a very prestigious club called ‘Fiction Fanatics’. This was a book club run every other Monday lunchtime. Every year it was oversubscribed and every year I did not make the cut. What can I say, I just didn’t read my Jacqueline Wilson quick enough. But this was were the cool kids were at and every other Monday lunchtime I would sit and wait for my friends to be fanatical about fiction.
Well look at me now.
Ten years later and I’ve just completed a degree in Literature, or, English Literature and Creative Writing to give it its full title. It seems surreal saying it but yes, I can now read and write officially. At least, in theory. I’ve moved on from my days of Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo and onto a love of Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Gaskell. I have carried on my childhood love of writing stories right through and even got to the end of some.
Among finding a love for Victorian literature, I have also read so many other things and things I never thought I would read. This year alone I’ve read sixteen Shakespeare plays. In my first year, I got the chance to study linguistics where I got to learn about animal communication, forensic linguistics, child development and brain trauma. And all things I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to do. Initially I studied linguistics for a year because I ended up in the wrong introductory talk back in freshers week and I studied Shakespeare on the premise that I had never been to the Globe theatre, before signing up and realising I still wouldn’t go. But I’ve loved them both. I’ve learnt things I didn’t think I would, before university, I had hardly read Victorian novels, now it’s all I read for fun. I’ve entered new worlds, fallen in love with characters, seen new things and had a great time doing it. It seems if I’ve learnt anything, it’s that after all this time, I am a fiction fanatic.
It’s gone quickly but it’s been a lot of fun living the life of literature. 90% of my degree was done from my bed, reading with cups of tea. When I took time out of other people’s worlds, I just created fictional worlds of my own or even told stories of real people that I had met and places I had been. Even towards the end when I sat trying to format page numbers until three in the morning the night before my final deadline, I had a surprise delivery of brownies to my door to get me through in the middle of the night. It’s been great and I’ve loved it all the way through. After my last exam, I told and eleven-year-old I had finished my whole degree who then immediately replied with ‘what’s a degree?’ A very good question. I explained that it was all my university work, three years, done. A week later and it still hasn’t sunk in. I’ve submitted approximately 71,500 words of coursework, give or take, sat eight exams and given three presentations and I like to think I celebrated well at the end. Coming out I had a Wispa and for once, it wasn’t even a multi pack deal, I’m talking full size, I then went all out and had a whole pint rather than my usual half, a feat for someone my size but special occasions and all and had a meeting all about next year, onwards and upwards and straight on to new and exciting things it seems. As someone recently said, I’ve graduated to a real human now. I’m not quite ready to let it all go just yet and next year I’ll still be studying, just not as an official student and I will definitely keep on reading.
In summary, Fiction Fanatics, eat your heart out 🙂