It’s 5pm on a Tuesday afternoon; early springtime in the South West countryside. I’m chopping vegetables for a casserole whilst typing replies to one of my many bosses (as a freelance writer). There are two seven month old babies bouncing away manically in their rockers; strategically placed on the kitchen floor so I can keep an eye on them whilst cutting vegetables and answering the bosses…..
As the phone also starts ringing with urgent business requiring attention, it occurs to me that somehow or other I’ve managed to tie myself up into a typically disparate form of modern living for a female in the 21st century. I have four children; ages ranging from top end at ten, to 6, to twins of seven months respectively….all boys. I work seven days a week and haven’t had a holiday in three years. I work as a writer, journalist and publisher but still don’t have the funds which would bring me the life of a lottery winner. My partner works equally as hard and also feels like it would be more productive to knit fog blindfolded. To the objective onlooker, we have everything…. four beautiful, healthy children, a lovely home, great love for each other and at least we are working. However, the input is vastly disproportionate to the returns.
This is all fine. It’s a way of life and a life I love. I live for my family and my writing. Anything outside of that is an intrigue and valuable information on the periphery. But as I chop away at my onions, worrying about the next field report, I do wonder where the actual value of creativity has gone in Western Society. Any form of career in the Arts or Philosophy are generally looked upon favourably but are very hard pushed to command any substantial wage. Yet mind-numbingly simple property management, development, estate agency and land sales can command enormous salaries (along with the comparatively more convoluted computer programming, accountancy and law). I won’t include the obvious fame seeking as an easy buck-rider here as it’s painfully vacuous and has a desperately short shelf-life, but we all know it’s an insidious ubiquity in our society as a fast track to acclamation and many pennies.
So, the fact still remains; aside from young CBBC presenters showing us how to emulate ‘the running man’, lucky soft porn authors hitting the imaginations of bored housewives during recession and Tom Fletcher’s endlessly prosaic video diaries, there is not much room for people with hugely creative minds (unless they shout very loudly for a very long time and preferably with a few grand behind them for good measure).
During the last four years, I have written well over four hundred stories, articles, reports, reviews, blogs and features. Most have been salaried pieces, some have just been for fun or for the sake of a safety valve when life has seemed too sublimely nonsensical for words. But the message throughout the transmission and reception of all these words has been pretty consistent; there has to be a very lucky niche… a fortunate viewer, one very influential member of the audience to spread the word about ‘ the word’ otherwise all efforts are pretty much in vain. This, to me, is an enormous travesty as communication of all forms, in all languages, dialects, permutations and deviations is what has helped the human race to survive and evolve. I am passionate about my work- not whimsical (as I’m sure so many other writers are passionate). If those who are attempting to perpetuate that form of journalism, creativity and evolution are quashed in favour of transient pulp….. it would surely exacerbate an already pejoratively weighted runaway train for humanity in the future.
Of course… should anyone of any vague relevance ever pick up on my particular style of writing and take it on with notable gusto, I shall be compelled to reiterate Salvador Dali’s favourite words from a rare interview in the 1980’s where he wryly stated….. ” Is not that I am so good……. Is that the others are so bad!”.
ˆ©Tess Egerton 2014