The Week #30 8th November, 2015

Hello campers – it’s been a while since I did one of these, sorry about that, it’s been difficult with how busy I’ve been, any way I’ve got a good topic today so let’s get into it. As many of you will have seen, I have had a few weeks of success culminating in winning the Shropshire award. So that was great, but I continue to seek that major publisher, and that has taken a step back with the news that the one I have been in talks with has decided to not go forward with my next book,The Games, a bitter blow for the amount of time and energy I, and others, have put in to it. However, this piece isn’t about that in itself  – who wants to read about someone moaning!  But it has made me think about how folk find the ability to carry on going, and contrasting how we live our lives now to the way we lived in the past.

As I see it, we get disappointments, and that is an emotional challenge but there is no physical reaction, no illness, whereas our ancestors of centuries ago would not have to go through the same mental rigmarole as we do. Today we live longer, we eat any time we want, we can do pretty much what we like, within reason, as most of us live in a secure and civilised society – so we don’t have to fight to survive – and because of this there is no reward for hard graft, toiling the land or defending our home – no reward for just surviving. Instead all of our aims, in some way, are associated with money and that is how we judge ourselves and others.  “How much you earning from your books?” I hear, instead of’ are you enjoying your writing?’  I’ve heard that a few times, so in the back of all our minds our existence is completely monetary – our thoughts and decisions are based around; can I pay my bills, can I afford that car or bike, can I take that girl out on a date, things like that, whereas a thousand years ago the simple pleasure of existing and surviving was enough and if you were able then you could be truly free. No rules and regulations, if you wanted to get away and disappear you just could, even a hundred years ago a young lad could just opt to join the navy, for example, and off he would go.  Look at it today, any young man (or girl) wanting to just go and sail the seas and join the navy will find its going to take you a few months of exams and physicals, there is no opportunity to just do it!  I am in amazement that humanity has actually chosen to  imprison ourselves to be slaves to the monetary world – so many doing jobs we hate, which might pay some well but don’t give us enough time off to go and do anything exciting.    So many of us under thirty are paying the price now of this stagnant existence – which has come home sharply to me because that deal I was working towards has gone south – it does make me really wonder if I should carry on with this gig? Why? I hear some of you asking. Well, chasing the dream to do what you love to do rather than what you have to do is all well and good but most of us have to succumb because of how the world is. I’m earning via the books but nowhere near enough to buy my own place and the only way I can buy my own place is out right as no mortgage lender will go near me, given the uncertain income flow inevitable in a creative field – so you get to thinking – just give it up – but at the same time a little voice is reminding me that lots of writers, and others in the creative world, get loads of knock backs.  Even J K Rowling did the rounds and it took submitting to five or more different publishers before she got the big gig and I’ve only had one, so I shouldn’t moan.  But, as the song goes, should I stay or should I go now???

Trapped in our materialistic consumer empire is tougher on us mentally than anything our ancestors faced.   Sticking with your dream means you have to face not knowing if you can achieve your goal or not – and it has to be easier in times gone by when you could just give things a go and then move on – now in this consumer world our worth is judged by what we have, not who we are or what we have done – that can’t be good for our mental health.

So that’s my ramblings for this week. I shall keep at it, and if all goes to plan I am off over the next few weeks doing some tours of local schools with The Horse Lord and Rose’s Story.  Publication of The Games is all up in the air at the moment  – it might not ever get released but we shall see.   I might see you at your local library as I am doing some signings so do pop in and say hello if you see me there.  Have a good week.

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