When I have children I’ll tell them to be plumbers.
I’ll hide their notebooks and give them plastic tools to play with.
I’ll tell them to get their hands dirty, do something practical.
‘But Mummy, I want to write stories like you!’
‘Don’t be silly, look how poor Mummy is!’
And I’ll thrust a spanner into my son's hand.
‘You can be anything you want my darling. Be a mechanic! Be a pilot! Be a lawyer if you must.’
But there’ll be no writing and certainly no poetry.
Oh don’t worry about me.
I’m not going to stop scribbling. I’m just a little disheartened by the work to money relationship there is in the creative world.
Writing at home this week has been a luxury, interrupted by moments of panic which led me to Google temping agencies.
I registered with one and up popped the dreaded SKILLS form.
I simply had to tick the box beside each skill I had.
I ran down the list and felt a growing sense of unease.
For instance: Audio Typing.
Yes I’ve done it once before.
It’s just typing what someone says, right?
But how skillful am I supposed to be at it?
For instance, what if the person speaking has a strong Jamaican accent?
Or a thick Irish accent for that matter.
We have lovely clients in Ireland but after they’ve said, ‘top of the morning to you’ the rest is guess work.
In a pub on Wednesday I stared at this man for five minutes, trying to work out what language he was speaking.
He was talking non-stop and it was strange because his friends seemed to understand him perfectly but were replying to him in English.
And then I caught him say ‘wee’ a few times and it hit me. He was Scottish!
Well, if I’d been asked to type what he was saying I would’ve ended up with nothing more than a blank page covered with wee...wee...wee....
So no, I decided not to tick beside audio-typing.
Next Skill...Touch typing
Well, here we go again.
It depends, how skillful? How fast do you need me to be?
I don’t look at my keyboard when I write but that’s because my trusty laptop knows me and I know her.
On other people’s computer however, like Macs, my fingers become clumsy and it takes three goes to spell my own name.
To cut the story short, my skills form didn’t fill up too well.
Come on, I thought. I have other skills. I could probably describe a tomato pretty well.
No, son, put the pen down. Writing will turn you into an emotionally unstable nutcase.
‘Like you Mummy?’
‘So why are you doing it?’
It’s like a crazy love affair. All passion and not much sense.
I couldn’t stop if I tried.
If only I’d wanted to be a plumber!