Thursday, December 15, 2011

End of Year

This has been one of the best years of my life.
It's been difficult. I should say, more emotionally than anything else. I haven't really felt the press of time in the same way that others have described.
I haven't pulled all nighters, or typed 'til my hands burned (although they did ache now and then) or yanked out chunks of scalp over a particular combination of words (has anyone actually done this? If so I should buy you a beer.)
I have worked much harder this year than I ever have before on a single project. I'm the kind of person who procrastinates until the night before and then relies on luck and, let's face it, undeserved intelligence to get the job done.

But I somehow managed to finish my baby, my portfolio for this course, a whole three days early. And, rather than scraping through on a B as I so often do, somehow I seem to have got away with an A.  I lay this completely on the doorstep of my classmates and my teacher, Bernadette Hall. Without your support, I would still be floundering under a pile of confusing metaphors.

Emotionally, it's been hard. Being surrounded by supremely talented people, I don't think anyone could help but be intimidated. After getting to know those people (I speak of course, of my lovely classmates and teachers) I became even more intimidated, since not only were they talented, they were also nice, intelligent and generous. Terribly so.
There was no chink for my ego to break through. No place where I could say, well, yes, but I'm better at this (unless it's wiggling my ears. I'm pretty much the NZ champion at that).
Eventually it dawned on me that... well, I enjoyed my work. Other people said they liked it as well.  I was getting published here and there, so it couldn't just be kind words.
And I enjoyed my classmates work, very much. And oh boy, did they do well this year. Publishing credits and well deserved wins all around. You should definitely check it out. Try Turbine, or the Dominion Post's Your Weekend Summer Edition, or the next (March) edition of Sport magazine.

Basically, what I'm saying is this year I learned to stop being dumb and stop comparing myself to others (and despairing at the result). Yes, a lesson I should have picked up from Sesame Street when I was six. But, it's the most valuable thing I've learned this year. All the writers in my class deserve to be published, because people everywhere deserve to be exposed to them.
Which is why, although I was awarded the Biggs Poetry Prize this year, I think it could have just as easily been given to any one else in my class and it would not have surprised me one bit (well, you know, except the fiction writers. But if they had happened to write poetry...).
Everything I've accomplished this year has been because of the incredible gift of being able to interact with the people in my class, and my teacher.
There should be no comparison because once you get past a certain point of skill and dedication, we're all just swimming around in a sea of awesome, calling out encouragement and critiquing each others' stroke and I've enjoyed it very much (too bad I'm still so attached to those confusing metaphors. Oh well).
I want to thank them all, very sincerely. I'm gonna miss you guys.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Mr Peter Biggs and Mrs Mary Biggs for their generous sponsorship of the Biggs Poetry Prize. I am astonished at the fact that people will take the time to set up and contribute to awards like this, which mean so much to the recipients. I was thrilled and humbled to be chosen. Thank you very much.

Finally, thanks to my family for putting up with me this year. Particularly my mother, who had to endure me sulking at various times and my melodramatic conviction that I would utterly fail and somehow also wind up friendless, despised, destitute, etc etc. Yes, you can gloat now if you like.
I won't mind a bit.

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