It has been a considerable time since I posted my last blog entry and there has been a great deal happening in my personal and professional life since then. I have relocated, completed my second year at university, submitted a manuscript to two of Australia’s largest publishing houses, and continued to write through all of this. I have been meaning to post a blog update for quite a while now, having written numerous pieces that were destined for the public forum but never quite made the final cut. But now after a few months lost in translation, my misguided, misinformed weblog is back.
In all the blog entries that I have written (both published and otherwise) I have attempted to remain positive, as for someone who has come through a spate of depression it is integral to keep your chin up and your mind focused on the positive aspects of everyday. Yet today I am going to digress away from my usually uplifting and playful banter to have a stab at something that has really rubbed me up the wrong way as of late. It’s nothing major, and if I was to be truly honest it is something that I have been aware of for a long time. In a blog that is dedicated to my writing, and the advancement towards my goal of seeing my work in print, it seems only fair to pay homage to the roadblocks that stand in my way. So, here it is: my rant will be predicated around one simple fact: the writing industry is full of fucking wankers.
The previous statement can be misconstrued as my frustration towards my continual failure to crack the ‘big time’ and receive a publishing deal, so let me explain myself before you judge me as a spiteful arsehole. I recently contacted one of my university lecturers to ask if it were possible to submit an assessment via post as I was unable to attend the University and deliver the item in person. During this incredibly brief interaction I referred to the lecturer as ‘mate’; a colloquialism that has come to be known as a term of endearment in Australian pop culture. I call everyone mate. I mean no harm by it, I actually use the term as a way to subconsciously inform my peers that I consider us to operate on a level playing field of equal importance and mutual respect. However, this particular lecturer took offence to the term and made an effort to berate me for referring to him in what he deemed to be an inappropriate manner. His exact words were “when you address a senior lecturer at university I’d advise you to avoid mate“. Seriously, where does this fuck-head get off? I’m a twenty four year old man who works full time and studies; I’m not a fucking twelve year old school boy who just called the teacher ‘mate’ by accident.
Herein this little tale lays my problem with the world of academia. Every cock-head with a degree, doctorate, masters, or otherwise suddenly becomes caught up in the hype of their own self-worth and status. To me, a senior lecturer at a university is nothing; nor is a doctor, lawyer, or any other profession. It’s the man or woman behind the title that earns the respect of those around them, not the pretty certificate that cost them four years of study and tens of thousands of dollars. This is especially true in the creative writing industry. Yes, I study creative writing, but I do so knowing that my entire degree is bullshit, and that the chances of me gaining employment from this are slim at best. So for someone who teaches students what is essentially a ‘nothing degree’ to be riding their high horse in such a way is nothing short of pathetic.
Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe I should go back and read my course summaries for university, and see if there is a correct way to address a senior lecturer written somewhere in there. Maybe ‘Sir’ would be more suited for a man who so highly values their own self-worth. Whether there is or not is irrelevant; for you see the point I am trying to make here is that the title does not make the man. The man makes the title. There are leaders. And there are those who lead. A leader has a title, a fancy degree, and a spine a crooked as a paperclip. They lead from their pedestal and earn the respect of no one. Those who lead place no value in their title, they have a spine steeled from hard work, and they lead from the front lines, redefining just what it means to lead.
The infinite number of hopeful writers that I have come across in the past two years at university can only be described as a bag of liquorish allsorts. There are the quiet achievers, the loud-mouths, the silent assassins, the sci-fi nuts, and a myriad of other types filling the same classrooms as myself. But now at the halfway point of my degree there is a clear division between two types of people in my course. The fuckwits – those who consider think themselves to be leaders, to be the better writers, the supposed (and self-appointed) illuminati of our course. And there are those who lead; the men and women who believe in their craft and work tirelessly to succeed for no other reason than their own self-fulfilment. This second category is the men and women who will go on to find success as published authors. And every single one of them deserves it.
As for the first group. The fuckwits. Their own ignorance and misguided perceptions of self-worth will stop them from ever achieving their goals. And when they do finally realise that they haven’t achieved success they will almost certainly move into a career as a cock-head senior lecturer at a university, where they can get their rocks off over berating students for referring to them as ‘mate’.