Out of all the subjects I do at the moment, there is no question that English is my favourite. I love physics and chemistry, and I need maths, but I adore English with a passion. There is just something so gloriously freeing about discussing books with people. My parents haven’t read most of the books I love, and they certainly don’t read Shakespeare. And I don’t really want to talk poetry with them. I need English, much as my friends need dance, or music, or physics. It is such a huge part of my being that I think it would physically hurt to just stop doing it.
Unfortunately I don’t have a choice. Four A-Levels won’t help me to get into uni. They don’t care that I can write a mean analytical paragraph which delves far too deeply into the implications of one word and its links to Ancient Greek theatre traditions. You can talk about poetry which is quite frankly inappropriate without blushing? Good for you. An EPQ, on the other hand (basically a really long essay on any topic) will help. It will teach me to research, to work independently, to gain the skills I’ll need at university. It won’t help me to be happy.
My parents say I can’t write a book.
What then, can I do?
I know that I’m going to drop English. Drop! Even the word just sounds so dismissive and hateful. I can’t cope with four subject and an EPQ. I’m stubborn, not stupid. But it’s going to hurt. I can’t argue in physics, in chemistry, in maths. They are about facts, about what is and isn’t. English is different. It’s about the what-might-bes, the could-have-beens, the maybes. It’s about what isn’t just as much as it’s about what is. It’s about what the gaps say. It’s about more than cold hard facts.
And I won’t just miss the arguments (debates if I’m in polite company!). I want to go to see Othello next Easter. I want to write essays. I want to have to enter Poetry by Heart, and to do silly presentations for homework. Or at least, I will when I don’t have the option any more. It sounds so pathetic, but I’ll cry when I can’t do it any more. I’ll cry when it is lost to me. It’s not something I’ll get back, not if I stop now. Not ever.