It's okay for most golfers to remain amateur and still enjoy the game. The same may apply to writers
Updated: Aug 18
The Indian Summer
From the open sliding door of Jo Jackson’s study, I could see out across the water from Abbotsford to Exile Bay. Stretched out on her chaise couch, Joey was asleep in the sun. The easy rays of the golden afternoon made her brown skin glow.
She rolled over and blinked. Looking at me sitting at her desk, using her laptop, tapping the keys.
She yawned and stretched. ‘Mr Benn, what are you working on?’
‘I’m trying to finish the last chapter of my book. I’m struggling to make it believable and suspenseful at the same time.’
She slid her hands behind her head and closed her eyes. ‘Do you think it will be published?’
‘I hope so. But I don’t know.’
‘Has anyone ever paid you to write.’
I stopped tapping and thought of an answer. ‘People pay me for my jewellery.’
She smiled but kept her eyes closed. ‘Your equestrian jewellery. And who pays you for your equestrian jewellery, Mr Benn?’ Her soft South African lilt was playful and mildly teasing.
I turned around to face her. ‘Women who have a love of equestrian pursuits.’
Jo opened her eyes and smiled. ‘Rich women who own horses?’
I smiled back. ‘They don’t have to own horses, Ms Jackson.’
‘So, what are you writing about, Mr Benn?’
‘The usual … mangroves, paedophiles and foul-mouthed children.’
‘Dear Mr Benn, given the fact we are experiencing a Sunday afternoon of twenty-five degrees in the middle of winter, perhaps one might choose to write about global warming at some point? Or something else that matters?’
‘Yes Ms Jackson, one might. But tell me, what do you write about?’
She rolled onto her side and laughed. ‘I write about online privacy and security. And I know where you’re going with this, Mr Benn.’
‘And who pays you to write about online privacy, Ms Jackson?’
‘Woodside Petroleum does, Mr Benn. But you still sell equestrian jewellery to rich women.’
I took a breath and stifled a laugh. ‘Selling equestrian jewellery to rich women pays for the volleyball uniform I had to buy Harry and the laptop I had to buy Jacques. That makes me Robin Hood not Blackbeard. Does it not Ms Jackson?’
Her eyes widened and she pursed her lips, trying not to smile. I narrowed my eyes and tilted my head to one side. ‘What does working for Woodside Petroleum make you Ms Jackson?’
Jo burst out laughing and pointed through the sliding doors to the sparkling waters of Exile Bay. ‘Well, Mr Benn, not only does Woodside Petroleum pay for that beautiful view but it also helped contribute to this gorgeous warm winter afternoon.’
She stopped and stared at me for a moment. ‘And I find your lack of gratitude for that most ungracious.’
This postmodern world has filled our lives with professionals. Top-flight footballers, pro-golfers, concert pianists, rock stars, actors, celebrity chefs and those who can dance with the stars, are available to us around the clock at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen.
And yet, it wasn’t always so.
Since the dawn of civilisation, amateurs have ruled the earth. Across the ages, household cooks have prepared satisfying meals, and families have sung songs accompanied by those who could play a musical instrument, no matter how badly. Villages challenged each other on the playing field, and painters indulged in self-portraits, proving that the ‘selfie’ is as old as humanity itself. And we always told each other stories.
It may seem like technology has changed everything, and yet, is anything really different?
The media have now made it possible to publish a song or a story and make it available to every human on the planet. At first glance, this may seem like a liberation, but in effect it has created an ocean of content so vast that the chances of an unvalidated work becoming well-known are about the same as a grain of sand becoming popular on Bondi Beach.
But we can still all have an audience. If we are good cooks, our families and friends will enjoy our meals. If we can sing or play an instrument, we can join a band and perform at the local pub. If we are good golfers, we may even win a trophy at the local golf club, and footballers can score a winning goal in the local footy comp.
And writers can tell their stories to those who they know will appreciate them.
So to those who feel that they don't measure up compared to professionals, relax. It’s still amateur hour, and you should enjoy every moment.
Copyright: texts from the authors cited above; photos: Wix.
Posts on this SSOA blog are published to showcase the work of emerging writers who meet weekly to workshop stories. The posts comprise just some of the responses written in just 10 minutes as a warm up to the meetings.
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