This week is the last week of my first semester at TAFE. I’m rounding out the semester with a short story which is a fun way to finish.
Of course the finality of the end of specific units, brings with it the anticipated ‘what did you learn?’ question. A good part of me would like to reply ‘that an internet forum is a great way to study human behaviour,’ but I’m not sure that’s the answer they are looking for. 😉
In truth, I’ve actually learnt a lot, much to my dad’s surprise. It’s not all ‘the difference between affect and effect’ like someone suggested to me, but rather reading like a writer, thinking like a writer, and, above all, writing like a whole bunch of different writers. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed the challenges and the deadlines and the pursuit of an A grade. I’ve also gotten frustrated by certain topics, been overwhelmed by the work load, and grumbled rather loudly on the reasoning that made one – in my opinion, excellent – assignment only get a B+.
But I’m ready for the semester to be over, just as I was ready for the Easter break, and it’s that readiness that has perhaps shown me what I’ve learnt the most.
I write best with purpose.
I can write assignments about websites, and fishing brochures, and compose speeches and one very “interesting” poem about a hairbrush, with ease and joy. I can write with gladness and understand what it is that I’m doing it for; but I’m my happiest when I find real meaning in what I’m doing. I miss working on my manuscript. I love my novel and not just because I wrote it, but because I can see that it has significance. It means something – if only something to me.
I think I’ve always been this way; a deep thinker who needs purpose in everything. I wasn’t very old (perhaps 10-12), when I declared quite passionately to my mother that unless there was a reason for life, there was no reason to live it. She looked at me oddly when I said that, which I guess is fair enough. In hindsight that’s a reasonably deep thought for a relatively young child to be processing with such fervour.
I read an interesting article on the weekend about a Jewish psychiatrist who survived a Nazi concentration camp during world war 2. As a teenager at school he had been the one to question the meaning of life, and finding an answer is what he believes got him through the worst of things. The article is worth a read for sure, but the take away is simply that the pursuit of happiness is pretty pointless, while the pursuit of meaningfulness is what gets us through even the hardest times.
A semester of studying writing has brought me happiness in bucket loads, and I’m more convinced than ever that writing is what I want to do.
But the flip side of that, is that a semester of studying writing has shown me that I am not the person who can be content with just writing anything all of the time; I have to write the thing that needs to be written. (Which is why I wrote this today instead of the other two posts in my head that involved an embarrassing pap smear experience, and the curl with cat eared beanie.*)
*Not to be confused with a Steig Larsson novel.
So in the answer to the question posted on the forum: I have learnt that forums are full of interesting people, I can write descriptively (if not well) about inanimate household objects, and that writing what must be written is so much more fulfilling than writing what needs to be.
And now to round off what’s been a very deep post, here’s my hair brush poem. You’re welcome 😉
Are you a ‘purposeful’ person?
What is the thing that drives you?