makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Monday, August 11, 2014

My daughter's doing a project on "work" this term and she has to do a little 5 minute presentation in a few weeks on the title: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She's pretty adamant about what she wants to do and has been for a year or so. There have been a few others: super fairy, doctor, ballerina. Anyway, I imagine it will probably change again and possibly even come back to the one she wants to do at present. It made me think about all the jobs I've wanted to do over the years and what connects them. These are the ones I can remember:

artist (over and over, again and again)
children's book illustrator
chef (but I had a difficult teenage relationship to food, enough said)
fashion designer (for a looooong time)
actress (way too shy)
editor of British Vogue (way too scruffy)
film director
travel writer
script writer
set designer (even applied to central st martins but they told me to direct instead)
documentary director (worked in docs for a few years, made lots of tea)
florist (I love flowers)
cookery writer
novelist (this one has never gone away)
children's book editor (I kind of did do this for a little while; then I had a baby)
PhD student (yay!)

I guess what links most of these different jobs or types of work is people and their stories because that's really what makes me tick. I want to be creative and make something, and also to explore why people do what they do. I'm a really visual person and I love beautiful things, but I like ideas too. I enjoy being lost in my dreams and stories, and working where and when I want too. I think I have always wanted to be a writer or an artist but I've been too scared at times to admit it. I remember my mama saying to me once that her career made sense in retrospect but not when she was in the thick of it and trying to make decisions about what to do next. She did lots of exciting stuff and found a niche in her field that was satisfying and meaningful. I hope that my daughter enjoys the journey and finds the kind of work that best suits her temperament and talents; that gives her a sense of meaning and, above all, happiness.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A little tale of prejudice...

Today, I caught the bus to school with my three kids, just as we do most days. We hopped off at the train station, so that I could buy a new Smartrider card (mine had a crack in it and wouldn't work). When I reached the kiosk, the woman serving was chatting to a bus driver, presumably on his break. I asked her for a new Smartrider and she immediately pulled out a form. My heart sank - surely I didn't need to fill in a form just to get a replacement card. "Do you have your Centrelink card?" she said. "Uh no, I have a Medicare card..." "No, a Centrelink card for your concession." "I don't qualify for a concession," I replied. At which point, she turned to the bus driver and said: "Oh she's got so many kids, I thought she'd get a concession." Once I had my card, the bus driver asked me if I needed any help using it. I told him, "No thanks, we take the bus to school everyday". To which she said: "Oh you go to school," and looked right at me, still I guess trying to give me a concession. "No, I don't go to school - these two [kids] go to school," I responded. And that was that.

It took me a while to process this bizarre little encounter. That the woman assumed I would qualify for a concession because I have "so many" kids and we use public transport; that she spoke to the bus driver about me, rather than directly to me; that she thought that I went to school (I'm 34 and looked every year of it and some today) rather than my children. It was so odd that I didn't really get pissed off at the time, but the more I thought about, the angrier it made me feel.

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