At school I was taught to work hard, and our wider society also tells us that if we work hard enough, we can be successful and wealthy and have the good stuff. It took me a long time to realise this is bullshit. The biggest indicator of your likely financial success is still the wealth of your parents. This ‘work hard’ thing is mostly a myth that keeps a lot of poorer people running on the treadmills to the benefit of others, and provides a justification for denigrating the poor. If it’s your fault for not working hard enough, no one else has to step up to the issue of what you don’t have.
This year I’ve made a huge decision to change how I work. I’m spending more time not working, in the sense that I no longer aim to churn out a certain amount each day, I shun deadlines, I read a lot, I look at the sky more. My productivity has actually improved for doing this, and the quality has too. I’m also a happier, more balanced, healthier person because I’m resting more.
I’ve also found myself shifting in terms of what I want to create. I have tended towards the dark and serious. Life is too important to take seriously all the time. I’ve been learning to hold things lightly, to laugh at the absurdities, and I think the most serious topics are easier to handle when there’s some light relief. Last year I wrote a novel with a lot of silly elements in it (due out this spring) and I’ve been working to bring more light touches to my work generally. So I’m going to hit you with some verses today. The first one is a consequence of time off and being able to see and respond…
The view from here
Today the crows are fruiting
In naked branches, black on black
Upon an inconsiderate sky.
Some other today, twig bearing
The make new nests, repair old.
Some other today they die and are eggs.
There are always crows.
Indistinguishable to me, as days
Each the feathered centre of a universe.
To me they look like fruit
To them I do not look like a crow.
More, I cannot say.
And this trio, which are total play. This is fan fiction, for Jonathan Green’s Clemency Slaughter project, so I’m just jamming with ideas, because there’s no taking it anywhere, and that’s a good thing. Writing for the sake of it, playing, relearning how to enjoy the words, and the process of writing and having ideas. If writing is a grind and a torment to me, it’s not going to be a whole heap of fun to read, so, I’m not doing that thing, I’m doing this…
Good children are seen and not heard
Thinking naughtiness excessive noise
But the wickedest children are not seen at all
And make sinister use of their toys.
There was a young maid in the past
Who was meant to inherit at last
Wanting the goods quicker
She made plots ever thicker
With relatives dropping down fast.
It isn’t her fault, you must see
That black suits her down to a tee
While good manners make plain
You can’t mourn without pain
So she’ll kill off a granny or three.
(Clemency is here, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1412864360/clemency-slaughter-and-the-legacy-of-death if you would like to become more fully acquainted with her)