I had the fortune of being interviewed on La Vie Creative with Krystal Kenney recently. We talked about creativity, about Paris, about self-actualisation through meditation and creative work and much more. I love love love talking about these things. In the whole big scheme of things, in the West, being an ‘artist’ is often a privileged choice. There are those for whom creating is their livelihood of course. From mega-famous writers like Stephen King to small business owners in remote villages who create handicrafts for sale to tourists. We’ve seen a new wave of creators with the advent of the internet and social media, those who can now bypass the old gatekeepers of culture and sell directly to their customers.
I like be really transparent about my writing. Creativity and self-work are two of those super important things we can aim for once we’ve got the roof over our heads and the food on the table.
I have the Day Job that pays me and puts the roof over my head. At this stage, as I told Krystal on the podcast, if I had to support myself with my writing, I would be living in a box. It wouldn’t even be a nice box. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the need for Esteem or Self-Actualisation are quite high up on the pyramid. But when we decide we want to make ‘art’ for a living, those lower level needs of hunger and shelter, for security and safety come into focus in a different way.
Would I be able to make a comfortable living from writing? If I upped the ante and set myself that goal? Probably. I’ve done it before with my art so I’d have to back myself in. Do I want to? Yes. Am I prepared to do what it takes to make that happen? I hope so.
Trying my hand at a fantasy Flash Fiction for a competition. The winner was FANTASTIC. You can read it here…
Here is my effort.
Ferne knows it is time to leave but she lounges on the sofa watching her little brother and sisters play. Mother will remind her again. It’s the game they play every morning. Mother gets angry and Ferne pretends to be sorry. Mother says she will tell Father but they both know she won’t.
Ferne savours these final minutes before once again facing another day. High school can be hell for anyone different.
‘FERNE! Get your bag and get walking! NOW!’
Ferne leaps up, hitting her head on the beam. The little children yelp and fret at Mother’s tone.
‘Ferne,’ Mother says, from the other room, frustration obvious in her voice. ‘Why can’t you be a good girl for once? Must I beg you every day to go to school?’
She bustles in, the woman Father married after Ferne’s real mother died in childbirth. Ferne resists the urge to block her tender ears when her little brother and sisters clutch her legs and cry for her to stay home. She knows better than to give in or to soothe their cries. The little ones love their big sister. Mother loves the help, but she also gets terribly jealous.
‘Do you want me to tell your father I had to beg you to go to school? Don’t you want to fit in and be like all the other teenagers?’
Ferne stands silent. She doesn’t care one bit about fitting in or going to school.
‘It’s hard enough, raising a child that ain’t my own.’ She gestures at Ferne’s long limbs, her glorious hair, her differentness.
Mother looks at the clock. Always fretting about the time. ‘Get walking.’ Mother says. ‘Give me the day off from looking at you.’
Ferne nods and drops into a curtsey, bobbing down and back up again before she realises. Mother’s eyes blaze.
‘Don’t you dare curtsy at me! You’re not some princess. You’re just a thing no-one wanted. The product of your father’s bizarre past!’
The little children, their chubby faces, gawp up at their extraordinary, luminous sister, their shouting, spitting mother. Ferne settles the children with the touch of her hand. She looks up at Mother, her turquoise eyes now a pool of darkness. She has had enough of the staring and finger pointing. Even in her own home. Anger bubbles up in her chest.
‘Look at me! I just may be a princess. You don’t know! You’re not my real mother,’ Ferne shouts.
She grabs her school bag from its peg and wrenches open the front door of the neat, normal suburban home. Glaring back at Mother, she raises her arm and hurls the wretched school bag as far as she can from the front porch, unfurls her wings, and flinging herself from the porch, swoops and snatches it up before it hits the ground.
Ferne looks back. Her shimmering wings catch the light. ‘Oh, why would I walk when I can fly, Mother?’