I am not a rare bird, as Valerie Parv is. Or so she described herself as she accepted the honour of an Australian Society of Authors medal last week. The bird she was referring to was the kind that has lived and worked and, very importantly, made a living from writing since she first began to work. I am not that bird. I’ve never tried to make a living from writing, although I did swear to myself that I would like to be making a substantial percentage from writing or related activity by the time I was 40. Be careful what you wish for. I worked at TAFE then teaching writing and the amount of time it took to go through other people’s work meant I had precious little time to develop my own.
Instead, years later, I keep on with my unwriting day job. It was what I was trained for, after all, and I could do it with time left over to write. It’s the sort of thing that I feel guilty about, and then cross, because I’m kidding myself if I think that I have the energy after doing my day job to then write in the best way I can. But in a way it’s easier because at least I can eat and I don’t have to worry about the bills. (Or is this a disincentive?)
Life colludes, eventually. There is a place for writing and books and literature in science-based courses. There is, of course, a place for the arts in science. My main interest in my day job is combining both in what is phrased ‘Humanities in Healthcare’, or teaching with the arts. I even have a blog Humanities in Healthcare. Let’s hope the fusion builds.