Category Archives: career

On the Radio?

One of my articles was in the paper the other day. It was received pretty well. So much so that a couple of things have happened as a result.

First of all, it looks like I’m going to be on the radio. A producer got in touch with me and wants to have me as a guest on a relatively popular radio show to debate the contents of my article. I was shocked when I got the email. It definitely came as a surprise. I guess part of me wasn’t convinced that people actually read my stuff.

There are so many interesting articles on any given day in a good newspaper that I always assumed that my stuff got lost in the bigger news. It’s really flattering to think that not only did someone influential read what I wrote, they have decided to act on it and have a debate around my ideas. It’s a very gratifying thing to have happen.

The other thing is that an executive of a pretty big organisation emailed to congratulate me on the same piece. I got chatting to his assistant, and I might even get to meet him. I wonder if I should mention that I’m not formally employed and that if he offers me a decent job I will probably take it. Nah…I’ll play it cool, dress up for the occassion, and pretend that I’m in my element and that things are going very well for me, thank you very much! Just meeting someone of that caliber will be an fantastic.

All that out of an article that I wrote in the library. Maybe I should go to the library more often. Who knows, next time I write something there, someone might offer to buy me a car! If that’s you, my contact details are available on this website. Everybody is allowed to dream, right?

Thank God for the big and small things that make life so worth living.

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Breakthrough

I’ve been struggling these last few days. I got my first cheque from my writing not too long ago and it felt great! It was only a few hundred Euros, but it felt good to be earning again. The only thing is that I now felt quite a bit of pressure to at least maintain that income. Coincidentally, that was the time I seemed to hit a brick wall in terms of creative inspiration. It never rains…

So I was getting pretty worked up. I’ve even neglected this blog a bit. I was too preoccupied to keep this going at full pace. It was all a little much and I was wondering whether I really had a future as a writer. Reading about Mbeki’s writing prowess and general brilliance didn’t help either. It left me feeling more than a little jealous and a bit pathetic. I know, a little over the top.

Anyway, I was in the library today to do a little reading. Being the great procrastinator that I am, I decided to start by going through the newspaper. I found an article there I disagreed with so strongly that I whipped out my laptop and in about three quarters of an hour had my first draft done. I’ll polish it up over the weekend and email it to the boss on Sunday evening.

I literally feel like there’s a weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I can deal with all the things I’ve let slide. And in a couple of days, I can start to worry about the next article. My life certainly isn’t boring!

Naked

I’ve now had an article in the paper with my headshot there with it. I opened this national daily and in it saw my photograph there and my name in bold. You’d think that I would be happy wouldn’t you?

 

I’m not happy at all. In fact, I’m terrified. I feel naked. It’s as though I’ve been exposed to the country and my thoughts can be scrutinised by anyone. It’s not a comfortable place for me to be in. It’s strange. I’m a bit of an attention seeker ordinarily.

 

According to my DiSC profile, one of my weaknesses is my need for others’ approval. Although I try to look at both sides of an argument, I tend to take one side and hold onto it strongly. Maybe my weird reaction to having my thoughts out there is that I know I’m bound to offend people.

 

Maybe it gets easier. I guess I’ll find out when the next one gets published. I just need to come up with something to write about. Writer’s block is real.

Wanted: rebels with a cause (as well as web designers, developers, writers, artists and more)

Reading an article about Michael D. Eisner in the New York Times got me thinking. He left Disney in 2005 and started up a business in new media. I want to do something similar.

One of my greatest passions is that for social justice. Call me naïve, but I just don’t get why things aren’t more equitable in the world. Take Ireland for example. If I’m not mistaken, there are more millionaires here per capita than in the rest of the world. But there are so many really poor people. There are lots of places, especially in rural areas where people don’t yet have indoor toilets. There are also huge social issues in inner city areas like North Dublin and Limerick.

Closer to my heart is the plight of a lot of the African continent. Contrary to public opinion, your typical African dictator is probably no more corrupt than your average Western leader. He just lacks finesse in his dealings and his country doesn’t have the infrastructure or money to support the same levels of self-centred greed that are displayed by a good number of Western leaders.

In any case, I don’t just want to be a person who complains and criticises the way things are. I want to change them. And in my opinion, the best way to effect real change is by mobilising everyday, ordinary people. Again, in my opinion, the best way to do that is through the media. When I was young, I decided what clothes were cool to wear based on what I saw on TV. I would like to claim that now that I’m an adult, I make my own mind. The reality though is that most of us still take our cues from the media – be it mainstream or alternative.

With all that in mind, I want to start a web based business at whose core is the desire to see social justice. I think that initially it should take the form of magazine – or something similar to bring about awareness, and then grow out of that.

Where I come from, if you wait on the government to change or fix things, you typically wait a very long time; more often than not in vain. That and I want to see things change.

If you would like to get involved, get in touch. I’m especially looking for:

·         Artist and photographers

·         Writes

·         Web designers and developers

·         Software guys

·         People who are genuinely excited and passionate about doing the things I’ve just written about

The cost of ‘Happyness’

I need to watch The Pursuit of Happyness again soon.

Every so often, something happens that shakes me. It messes with my equilibrium and I start to doubt, wonder and panic. More often than not, the ‘something’ is reality. Take today for example. I checked my bank statement and could no longer run from something I’ve suspected for a while now. I’m nearly out of money.

The thing with dreams is that they are expensive; much more so than conformity. I used to like asking people why they don’t quit their jobs and go after their dreams. The most common answer is money, at which point I’d say something like, ‘if you step out, and go for it, the money will come right.’ Maybe there’s more wisdom in the masses than I realised. Maybe it’s not just fortune that favours the brave. Could it be that when the brave crash and burn we prefer to call them stupid?

I don’t know. I can’t believe that being sensible is the best way for me to live my life. That’s why I need to watch The Pursuit of Happyness. I’ll shed tears of gratitude during the scene where he sleeps in a toilet with his son. I’ll be inspired to keep going when things come right for him at the end. I’ll tell myself that if I just keep going, if I roll with the punches, if I just hang in there, somehow things will come right.

Believe it or not, Sylvester Stallone said something really profound about this issue. A long time ago I watched a documentary charting his rise to fame. For a long time he struggled and couldn’t get a part in a movie. Eventually, if I remember correctly, he wrote the script for Rocky himself, cast himself in the lead role, and the rest we all know.

During that documentary, he said words to the effect of: everyone gets their shot. It’s just that not everyone hangs around long enough to take it.

Waiting

I submitted my third article to an editor on Sunday. My wife, Becky, read it and thought it was just okay. So when Monday came and went without a response, I worried that the editor agreed with her.

I hate waiting. I spent a lot of yesterday checking my email every 20 minutes or so. I get so unproductive – it’s silly. To use Becky’s phrase, when I get a bee in my bonnet, there’s no getting rid of it. I know the smart thing is to just get on with life and write something else, but for some reason, I find that really hard. Oh well…

I recently came across this poem, A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes: 

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

 I’m not really into poetry, mainly because I often just don’t get it. I really like this one though. Apparently, it’s (South Africa’s president) Thabo Mbeki’s favourite. I know I’m blowing things a little out of proportion, but waiting to find out the fate of that article, the poem grew in meaning for me.

Derrick N. Ashong

I came across this video on Jack and Jill Politics and imagined being in Derrick’s shoes.I wonder how I would have done. The reporter was pretty aggressive initially but by the time Derrick was through, they were on good terms. He wasn’t won over by charm, but by his interviewee’s knowledge. That depth and substance really impressed me.

I have found lately that I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things, but they are often not based on concrete substantial knowledge. There are quite a few issues I’ve been unable to write confidently about because I don’t think my grasp of the subject will stand up to close scrutiny. It has inspired me to do a lot more reading, and try to have as many conversations with people in the know as possible.

Yep, Derrick’s intelligence and knowledge have inspired me.