People are sometimes accused of painting a rose tinted picture of their lives online. I myself have been know to post a positively skewed status or ten in my time, but we live in a world where the President of the United States claims to have invented the word “fake”, and that’s more than enough real life for this writer to deal with.
It’s not that my life is idyllic. I’m about to lose three teeth (at least), and my bank balance resembles James Bond’s code name at the moment. The car became a nest for some sort of rodent recently, probably rendering it a total right off. I’m supporting my girlfriend through a double bereavement, and I’m constantly concerned that somebody is going to pull the rug out from under my feet, burst my bubble, and insist that I get “a real job”.
But why would I want to share all that troublesome shit with the world; or at the very least with the handful of people who are generous enough with their time to read my stuff (thank you, dear reader. After all, I’m sure you have plenty of other things you could be doing).
I try to look for the positives in most things. It’s not always easy, but it is possible. The teeth currently hurt but they won’t once they’ve fallen out, there’s a few hundred pound going into my account shortly; a grant to take part in a Professional Development writing programme, and the car was already close to becoming a wreck; requiring a new suspension after just about surviving Festival No6. There’s nothing anyone can do about the bereavement. The best I can offer is a shoulder to cry on, some empathy, and as many hugs as required.
As for the last fly in my ointment, it’s a worry I live with every day. You see, people like me don’t become writers. We’re fodder for the cannon and the factory floor, nothing more. We’re hothouse flowers, forced through a mincer to make up a willing workforce. À hundred years ago I’d be lucky if I got the chance to read, let alone write.
I suffer from imposter syndrome. I was raised to put in a hard day’s graft for an honest wage, and to be grateful for my good fortune. Where my reckless desire to stick two fingers up to the hive came from, I have no idea. When we were at school, we were taken on a careers trip to the dole office, as it was known at the time, where we were shown how to look for work, and how to sign on.
I once made the mistake of putting “Writer” down as a career I was interested in pursuing, whilst filling in my “Job Seeker’s Profile” during a brief period “between jobs”. This did not go down well with my “advisor”.
“I think we can get rid of this, don’t you Mr Stone?” she queried, as she went through my preferences. I suspected the question might have been rhetorical, as I sat and watched her delete my dream from the screen. I didn’t say anything of course. You don’t mess with a job advisor, not if you want to eat while you’re off work.
Then there’s the fact that I strongly suspect I write drivel, and not the kind of stuff a “real writer” composes.
“Of course you like it” I say to my girlfriend when she compliments me on something I’ve been working on. “You love me, so you’re bound to say you like it”. This does not go down well.
“So you need total strangers to tell you you can write, before you’ll believe it” my girlfriend accuses. Ermm, yes.
And so I babble on for another post, and I pray that I won’t get caught out for being a fraud. No, I don’t view my life through rose tinted glasses, because it is tainted by the fear that I’m not a real writer, that I’m just putting off getting “a real job”. At the same time, I’ll be damned if I’m going to pretend life is shit. I’ve been up that particular creek before, and not only did I not have a paddle, I didn’t even have a canoe. I was also up to my neck in the stuff, with people rushing by me, in speedboats.
When was this? Why, it was back when I had “a real job” of course.