Having a vocation

old typewriter

I recently read this post by Sara over at Mum turned Mom. She discusses her difficulties with pronouncing to the world that she is a ‘writer’. I understand. I haven’t thought much about how I label myself in recent years, preferring to just live out each day and fulfil each role necessary (you know the score: care-giver, cook, cleaner, employee, nurse, driver, decision maker, party planner, and on, and on…) but nowadays I manage to squeeze in ‘blogger’ and ‘reader’ and ‘commentator’ too.

The problem Sara has is that she loves to write, she lives to write, but she isn’t a paid and published author. I’m the same and it got me thinking about vocation. I believe this word, this concept, has been commandeered by the careers police – those who would seek to define each person by what they do to earn their money.

I knew from an early age that I was in love with words, reading voraciously and writing for pleasure. I was steered through otherwise murky career waters by my Mum who could see what I had in me, even while I was floundering and being seduced by the idea of a Media Studies degree (pah ha ha!). I studied journalism ‘vocationally’ (at HND level) and then, disillusioned with mass market periodicals, I turned back to education and stuck my head firmly back into a *lot* more books in the shape of a four year literature degree which I loved and which I will never regret despite it doing absolutely sod all to show me which way to face as the subject of career choice once again loomed large. For me, delving into literature was like lifting a dark curtain on the rich cultural fabric of life.

At this point, I’ll throw my hands up and admit it – I’ve been a bit lazy OK? I could have done more with my life career-wise. I happen to believe that I’m as good a writer as plenty of people out there who get paid handsomely for the privilege of wearing ‘writer’ as their no.1 hat. The difference is in the drive but I still see ‘writer’ as my true vocation in life as defined in the dictionary thusly:
“an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which he or she is suited, trained, or qualified”. If you want (or are able or inclined) to earn money from this occupation then great, but if you don’t, why should that make it any less a part of who you are and for that matter, who you claim to be?

Because I was timid, crippled by self-doubt and woefully lacking in useful contacts as a very young woman, then lost in the detritus of everyday life, I never thought too long and hard about ‘making it happen’. Since that time I have been overtaken by munchkins intent on gathering up my rolling marbles, lost through a combination of childbirth and enforced custody in the padded cells of soft play, and they’ve been demanding a ransom of Peppa Pig ice lollies and Actimels in order to return them.

But finally some kind of fog is clearing. Reading and engaging with others who are pushing themselves forwards into a brave new world in which they embody their true vocation – well its opening my eyes to the possibilities.

And despite everything I have said about being a bit lazy and lacking a bit of drive, I know I can achieve great things – after all I completed a 20,000 word post-graduate dissertation on the subject of Information Overload (!) so just imagine what I could do with a subject I was truly engaged in…

 

Mama and Mored

The Theme Game: Paper

Cootie Catcher

This week’s theme of paper has not fit in easily with the drafting of a cohesive story. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people who do clever paper crafts with their children but I’m not one of them! When I think of paper, these are the things that occur to me:

  • I once trained to be a periodical journalist. Yes, I was destined for a career monopolised by the written word on the pages of a magazine. I had it in my head that a job as a ‘Features Editor’ would have rocked my world, but it wasn’t to be.
  • Confetti. Yes I once got married (twice actually). There was confetti.
  • Cootie Catchers (see above), remember them? Just about the only piece of pseudo-origami I’ve ever mastered and only because it was a great way of getting through a boring maths lesson at school! I’m just sad that I don’t have a daughter to pass this gem of a childhood time-waster down to (along with cat’s cradle and French skipping)
  • The much vaunted ‘paperless office’. Yup, I work in one of those (so how come there is so much shredding I have to ask myself?) and then I try to imagine an office with no computers (and probably a lot of cigarette smoke) – how times have changed…
  • And finally, the advent of the e-book – yes I have a Kindle (two actually) and yes, the technology exists to make the experience of reading off a screen more like reading from a paper page, but where is the artefact? Where is the art? Where is the joy of flicking through the pages, the smell of fresh print, the vibrancy of a well-designed cover? No screen will ever replicate those experiences and if it does? We’re all doomed!

Linking up to The Theme Game from The Reading Residence and Red Peffer. And also the All About You link and pin party!

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