More than just studying

How studying at the OU helped me to develop my writing skills and publish my own book.

Despite having taken on many different representative roles during my 9 years or so involvement with the OU Students Association, I have actually found time to study!

I successfully graduated with honours in Modern Language Studies in 2016 and then went on, (in July 2019), to complete a second degree, BA (Hons) Open, based on a combination of Music Composition and Analysis and Creative Writing.

My poetry has proved to be particularly successful.  This encouraged me to begin a project which has culminated in my publishing a book, ‘BR**IT BALLOONS’.  The discreet title may be a slight giveaway as to the subject—but the book is a bit more than just more of the same old….wotsit!

In August 2018 I came across a quote from someone who had voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 Referendum.  To my astonishment it read, “…because the EU changed the name of Marathon Bars to Snickers…”.  Having satisfied myself that the quote was genuine I explored a bit further.  Eventually I came up with 99 reasons, mainly for voting ‘leave’, many of which beggar belief.  I have created different character narratives, some naively comic and some tragically sad, each of which is based on one of the 99 reasons.

Although I have aspired to writing in the past, poetry and plays in particular, it wasn’t until I acquired the skills and the confidence through my OU studies that I’ve been able make real progress.

BR**IT BALLOONS includes poetry which has already achieved an acknowledged literary standard of quality, as well as some which is intentionally comically naive.    The collection is primarily a satirical poke at the whole Brexit process but is not without its more reflective and often quite tragic elements.

I hope to continue writing and publishing suitable work where possible and have already agreed to produce another collection of poetry on behalf of a heritage organisation.  I am also currently working on several scripts for stage, radio and television productions.  I have gained considerable experience in drama, amateur and semi-professional, in acting, directing and writing, over a period of several decades.

My main industry/career for almost 30 years was computer programmer/systems analyst/systems designer and computer manager.

Successful study with the Open University means more than simply academic qualifications and specific skills.  The disciplines of study, particularly in remote and often difficult circumstances, lead to benefits in all aspects of life.  Some are often so intangible as to be impossible to be put into words.  But they are always there.

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Ian Cheyne


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