What you’re doing makes no difference to anyone at all.
What is a life well lived? There is of course no answer to that. But I think the world of the Arts is at least one thing that makes us human. But what exactly is the point of a poem? Is there any ‘need’ for a painting? Particularly when it’s not very accurate! And as for music. Imagine your perfect son or daughter growing up to be a musician – heaven forbid.
The question for me is ‘what is it that we consider to be important?’ And I have an answer to that, an answer which justifies the arts above all else. It’s important to live with your heart and your mind and your soul. Which you can’t do in an office filling out accounts on a spreadsheet. It’s important to have experiences, to try new things, to use every one of your senses to gather data, and live.
With this in mind I have enrolled on a Masters course at Birkbeck in London. After two years of immersion in this institution I should be the proud owner of a certificate branding me ever more a Master of the Arts specialising in Creative Writing.
Pointless, you say?
I don’t think so. Because writing is the greatest of all activities. It allows us to experience, to react, and to analyse. It allows us to re-experience. It allows us to see through another’s eyes. It allows us to keep coming back and wondering whether there is anything important to be found. Here’s a quote I rather like:
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. – Anaïs Nin
So, for a couple of years at least, I’m going to taste all that life has to offer, at least twice. And I’m going to write it all down.
Another quote I like goes something like this; it’s from one of Jeremy Hardy’s rants on Radio 4’s News Quiz:
Unless you’re a bin-man or a neurosurgeon, what you do in your job on a day-to-day basis is utterly unimportant. You must realise this, and stop taking yourself so seriously.
It’s not an exact quote, and probably not original, but you get the idea.
And I’m totally with him, particularly when the majority of us sit in offices and go to meetings and fill out spreadsheets on computers. Not to mention spending time calling IT to come and fix that computer. Then there’s the time spent on appraisals, recruitment, and the incredible number of hours spent coming up with new passwords (at least one capital letter, one number, a hieroglyph and a number which is a factor of pi).
It’s all rather meaningless.
And I’m looking for some meaning.
I’ll let you know if I find any.