Foot steps Jay MantriToday I made my first tangible step towards returning to study writing at university. It was just an emailed query, nothing set in stone, but there it is, the act of putting one foot forward and seeing what might happen.

In the past I have started writing and literature courses twice. I dropped out in first year for both. I was 20 the first time,  the year after my father and brother died. I wrote about that bittersweet year here. Always an under achiever doomed to failure unless pushed by dedicated teachers, I longed to be “free” and so I left. The following year, back with my erstwhile boyfriend, I moved to Lennox Head to be with him. We lived in a house where the surf beach crashed directly across the road, with four other Uni student guys, one of them was and remains one of my closest friends, and another was to become one of my closest friends, but we were far from it then. They were variously singing, writing, surfing, and all pot heads. I stayed at the house and wrote poems while they went to uni. One of our flat mates derided me for my book of poems, so very insignificant, he said, but now that the years have doubled upon themselves,  the words in that book equal more than his whole years study, his own degree culminating in a longer than it should have been career of drug dealing to future under-grads.  I should never have doubted myself.

We moved out to Ballina abruptly when the singer invited his heavy metal band for a week long jam session, amps plugged in.

The following year I embarked upon my second Bachelor of Arts at Southern Cross, in Lismore. I loved the reading, though I longed to get my teeth into things and write. Still not at my best with pace and deadlines, I was never good with self discipline and would drop a day of last minute essay writing for the cause of not letting a perfect day in the sun go to waste, as though those were in short supply. That year my mother and I took the Rural Water Corporation to court over the deaths of Dad and Grant and I flew back and forth from Ballina to Melbourne for mediations, psychiatric assessments and other law related appointments. During the process I lost my way again.

Now I am certainly middle aged, with two small children. Funnily enough, it is only since they came along that I have begun to write often, and in earnest, it is only now that I dare to call myself a writer.

My best friend is studying the course that I want to begin, and my sister is a senior lecturer in the course at a different campus. I know exactly what I want now, to write and be mentored, to have direction and to immerse myself in words and academia. They are beginning to release the subjects online, and next year is my time, if I am successful in my application of course, and first I have to actually apply! It has been a twisty road to find myself here, staring at this new path, and I am terrified and elated at the same time. It will be a circus act of tight rope walking delicately around every other necessity. Wish me luck x


linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT