I feel like the title for this post should be ‘A Fresh Start’, but it feels odd to say that considering I’m turning 25, have two degrees, and no job. Just over a week ago, I quit my comfortable, well-paid position at Fox International Channels. Most people would consider that crazy; it’s a good job to have as a young man, a good start on the way to a good life.
This is how people live, and for them, it’s enough. A stable job with good money, a lover or more, then a home to call your own (if you’re lucky). Why the hell would anyone look at that and say, ‘No thanks, I’d rather live in constant uncertainty – in a crumbling, shifting marketplace of words as likely to cut you as pay you.’ I don’t have an answer.
I don’t have an answer except to say that words are responsible for my life, are what spared me from a life of mediocrity totally unaware of the brilliance of literature suffusing the world. Totally unaware of poetry. I don’t have an answer because it’s not even a choice. It’s a necessity.
So, I’m free of my 9-5 job, awaiting the results of my visa application to Canada, and generally trying to figure out the next step. It’s not all indolence and daydreaming, either, this decision to quit and focus on my writing. I get up at 9 every day; often earlier, as my body refuses to adjust to a better schedule. I’ve enrolled in an online poetry course being run by the University of Iowa, just to keep myself thinking about poetry in different ways, to expand my reading list.
I’ve also enrolled in a 5-week Picture Book course with the Australian Writers’ Centre, as I’m currently working on a children’s book. Funnily enough, 4.5 years of tertiary level writing studies never covered picture books. It was more than I wanted to pay, but I love this little story, this world I’ve created for kids, and I want to do it justice, so I bit the bullet and signed up. Hopefully I get to tell this inventive, multi-ethnic story, and help increase diversity in our children’s literature.
I also write / edit for two websites, as I’ve mentioned previously, so even before I get to work on my projects, I still have a whole lot on my slate. And no money coming in. Just my savings, and my own dedication to getting something finished before I run out of money, and have to start again.
Happily, my ‘fresh start’ began on a good note. While the very first day did start out with a rejection for poems submitted three months ago, the next day I found out my poem ‘Mad Like A 12 Year Old Boy’ had been accepted into Carve Magazine’s Premium Edition. Carve publishes both online, and in print. In about a week or so, you’ll also see a non-fiction piece of mine appear on Sajjeling, an independently run online magazine dedicated to recording and unravelling Arab-Australian stories.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be writing more freely, updating the blog regularly – including the debut of my Awesome People guest blogs – and hopefully finishing up my picture book. As I carry on with this poetry course, I may also start sharing the experience and knowledge gained there, so stay tuned, y’all.