I failed my English ‘A’ level when I was 18 and I was very disappointed because I love to read and I love to write.
It’s a while ago now but it seemed to me in those days that there were right answers when it came to interpreting poetry and Shakespeare and John Osborne – and obviously my interpretations weren’t the right ones! Or maybe I just couldn’t remember enough passages to quote in the exam, who knows.
Anyway it knocked my confidence and I doubted my own interpretations, my own creative written work for many years. But now I see so clearly that there cannot be a right answer or a wrong answer because we will never be able to enter the mind of the author as they were writing, we will never experience life through their eyes – because every piece of writing is a unique expression in a unique moment in time.
Even if we had been standing by their side as they wrote, would they really have been able to convey to us the entirety of what they were attempting to capture in words at that moment?
So maybe, if there were a right answer, it would be the answer to this question:
What meaning are you, from your own unique perspective in this moment, making of this and how does that feel?
I love this poem by T.S. Eliot. For me it speaks to the discovering and living of Life – it feels like peace to me. What’s your take on it?
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
by T.S. Eliot ~ Four Quartets