28 August 2018 – Don’t lead with the cannibalism

My MA is no more! Well, hopefully. I submitted the thesis a week ago, then had a mild panic attack when it was rejected on the university systems. It transpired that I needed a different form with my supervisor’s signature. The admin person who contacted me was very sweet and helpful, and I re-uploaded the manuscript without further difficulties.

Somehow, I knew something would go wrong though. I’m very happy to detangle myself from UCT bureaucracy, because I never felt fully confident I understood what was expected of me. I mean, there is still the matter of being graded and graduating, so I’m not out of the woods yet. But at least I’ve fulfilled the requirements for my degree.

The ‘thesis’, as I have referred to it, is a novel. I just feel people respond better to the fancy academic terminology. I’ve also experimented with calling it a ‘dissertation’, but that seems like more of a stretch.

The thing is, explaining to strangers that you study Creative Writing is never fun. There are two camps people fall into. The ‘oh, that seems… sensible’ team, and team ‘a nOvEL? OH HOW WONDERFUL! LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE MEMOIR I’M WRITING! HOW DO I GET PUBLISHED?’

So my goal in these interactions is to give people the impression that ‘the thesis’ is boring and/or esoteric, in the hopes that they stop asking questions about it. This tends to fail.

My dentist, for example, is now under the impression that I have a Masters in Cannibalism, after I mentioned research in that area. He was surprisingly accepting of this, and supposed (correctly) that there was more to the Cannibalism MA than ‘how to cook people nicely’.

My extended relatives faced a similar explanation, and proceeded to recommend an extensive list of cannibal movies for research purposes.

I have learned not to lead with the cannibalism.

The novel exists in a complete form. This is good because I’ve handed it in, and, you know, someone’s going to have to grade the thing. However, it’s not finished to my satisfaction at this stage, so I’m holding off on sending it to agents. That task is Future Kerstin’s problem.

At the moment, I’m waiting for line edits on my novella and working on a secret project which I’m really hoping will pan out. The situation looks promising, but more on that when there’s greater certainty.

So, secret projects and *intense side-eye* further editing of the thesis. I’d like to wrap up both of those developments by the end of the year.

Time to work.

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