Wednesday, 4 June 2008


You all know that for a while in April I went off the radar because I had a biting assignment. This required me to produce polished, accomplished poems and prose and had me working round the clock, and in a bit of a lather. I was terrified of doing badly and being thrown off the course because then what would I do!

Anyway, yesterday morning I opened my emails and there was one from the course convenor entitled 'Portfolio comments and grade.' I nearly spilled my tea! I really didn't know if I wanted to open it but took a deep breath and did so. Attached were two documents: the two sets of comments from the two lecturers. One, the email informed me, had my grade on it. I opened the other one first, braced myself, and then began to read: 'Eryl's portfolio was a joy to read'.

Ooh! I read on. I could pick out all the marvellous things that this lecturer said about my work, but I won't because it will give a false impression. I have to say though that I have underlined my favourites in orange for my own satisfaction. Once I'd read these two pages a couple of times I had to open the document with the comments from the other lecturer and the dreaded grade. Just because one liked my work it didn't mean the other one would.

I clicked on it and up it came. Managing not to look at the nasty number at the top of the page I read: 'This is an excellent portfolio...' I actually read the whole thing, contrasting the good remarks with the not so good - 'strange syntax' - before finally managing to convince myself that I wasn't going to be dismissed so I could look at my grade.

It's odd when you work and work and work on something, you lose sight of it. By the time I handed in those pieces I didn't even know if they conformed to the rules of English any more, and I didn't care, I just wanted it to stop. Since, I haven't written a thing or read any of my work. But now I am back to being utterly motivated to go on. I want to get on with my book and I want to practise more poetry, and write a play, maybe a film script too, and a novel and collection of short stories and even, perhaps, a cook-book, and I want to read everything that has ever been written...

I'm tempted to share a poem that they both seemed to particularly like, but then you might feel obliged to say 'it's wonderful' or something and I don't want to do that to you. Do you want to know what grade I got?


debra said...

Do you want to share the grade ? :-)
Congrats on the positive comments AND on completing it.

Eryl Shields said...

Thanks Debra, only three more like it to go over the course of the next fifteen months.

Kim Ayres said...

Is this the grade you mentioned on Facebook? I hope so!

How about treating us to the poem on The Storytellers Blog?

Conan Drumm said...

Poem and grade, please, and less of the retiring author bit! :)

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ Yes. And, what a good idea, I think I already have it recorded thanks to Conan's advice.

Conan ~ the poem will be on the Storytellers Blog shortly. As for the grade...

The problem is that I was brought up being told, daily, that pride is a sin and although my reason has got over that my feelings haven't. Though I do want to shout it from the rooftops, so I probably won't be able to keep myself from proclaiming it for long. There's also a slight fear that I'll be tempting fate for the next one, or that this was a fluke. And so I could go on. I'm not really retiring I'm just a chicken.

Mary Witzl said...

I know how you feel. One of the worst things anyone could do in my family was brag. No one was loathed more than anyone who bragged about a good grade or award. So what do you do when you've been given one and want to share it (as one does)? This drives me WILD! Fortunately, I don't have that many to share. I tell myself that if I got a lot of them, my life would be so much harder.

I can afford to write this, though. I'm pretty sure I can worm this out of you later!

Kim Ayres said...

Well I think it's fantastic you got an A. However, if you really don't want the world to know, you'd better delete this comment

(I'll be accepting emails under the heading of "you bastard" later today)

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ That's a brilliant bit of Nietzschean reinterpretation you're trying for.

I wonder if we got awards all the time we'd feel the need to tell people, would it just become banal? I can't imagine that.

Kim ~ I could pretend that I don't know how to delete the comment - and actually I'm not sure that I do - but of course I want the world to know that I did something right for a change, if only in the eyes of two very nice lecturers and a handful of friends. Who else is there anyway?