Friday, 20 July 2007

Local News

Just to let you know, this blog will be sad and empty with tumbleweed blowing across it for a little while: I'm off to Latin Summer School for ten days on Monday. Maybe I'll squeeze in one or two more posts before then. As a joint honours Classics student, I'm only doing half the course, so I couldn't do Latin and Greek last year, unless I did nothing but languages. So I chose Greek; and now I'm going to brush up on my Latin. Not that I need it for anything - I just miss it. I'm not doing any languages next year, so I've taken up teaching myself Old English, using this and this. The English department at uni has an Old English Reading Group, so I'm hoping they'll have me.

Mslexia didn't publish those poems after all, so I've sent them to Iota. Fingers crossed. I've also started a novel, based on my diaries from when I was thirteen. It focuses on my thirteen-year-old Christianity, bereavement and - the main issue - self-harm. I'm hoping that, if I ever get it finished and decent enough for the possibility of publication, it'll be of use to youth workers in the Church and to people who work with teenagers generally. I'm also aiming for a Jacqueline Wilson sort of vibe, for it to be readable by teens, particularly those who struggle with the same issues.

I've also had a radical change in life direction. For some years now I had been intent on going into academia, but recently I've been questioning whether the reality of that is really what I want, whether I'm able enough to do it and whether it is, in fact, possible at all. A friend's been talking to me at length about the practical and financial difficulties. Even if I get my PhD or DPhil or whatever, there's no guarantee of a university teaching post afterwards. It's a lot of money to spend, as well, when I'm not even sure that it's what I want anymore.

I've been feeling lately that maybe God was calling me to the Church. I stumbled, pretty much by coincidence, onto a website for a Bible college and also onto a description of a job I hadn't heard of before, that of Deaconess. You can also read an article about her ministry by a Deaconess here. It sounds like something I'd love to do and I've been getting really fired up about it. I've even narrowed it down to five Bible colleges: London School of Theology, Cliff College, King's, Moorlands and St. John's. I'm really excited about those as well. They sound like really lovely communities. The only thing is, how does one know when one is being called by God and when one is just being fanciful and getting carried away? That's the difficult thing. Of course, I can always pursue academia in Theology with my qualification if I decide not to be a Deaconess.


Rob said...

Personally, I feel that if you want to do something, you should try to do it, irrespective of lack of guarantees of jobs etc. Otherwise, you will settle for something more secure but not as fulfilling. If you're not sure you want to do an academic job or a Phd, that's one thing, but if it's primarily because doing so might not be easy, then that's no reason not to do it.

Have you thought of doing short-term Christian work abroad for 6-12 months? That can give you a chance to think things through as well as being a transforming experience. Organisations like World Exchange are sound and might be worth approaching. They have some posts that require specialised skills, but they also have posts that simply require the right person and attitude. I worked with them many years ago and it was a terrific experience.

Good luck with Iota. I hope you get an acceptance. If you get a rejection and want to send me 2 or 3 of the poems, I'd be willing to advise on why magazines might have rejected them and give a few pointers as to what you could do with them - if that would be useful to you.

Decidedly Bookish said...

Thanks for the advice, Rob. I'll definitely look into World Exchange. And thank you for the offer of looking over the poems - I shall take you up on it if they come back.