There's been much debate today about the fact that more women have become unemployed or are struggling to find jobs.
Even though some well-meaning people are suggesting that it might be due to the fact that more women are employed in the public sector which is suffering badly because of the cuts, nobody has dared to say anything about what is most certainly a big factor in those precarious economical times: the fact that women are still too obsessed about being or becoming mothers.
Work-life balance is extremely important for me, but it is not because I have children - I am blissfully childfree - but because I have a lot of interests and don't really like corporate and office life. The ideal for me is to work for myself in my own environment. But it is not always possible all the time.
I have been working freelance for the past two years, but recently, I have been thinking about taking a part-time or full-time job again for a while in order to save a little bit of money for future projects. I have become worried about the fact that I am female and that if any of the competition is male, it is them who will be chosen for the position even if I am slightly more qualified/appropriate. And to be perfectly honest, I can't say that I wouldn't understand the employer's point of view. Do I have to put on my CV the sentence "I haven't got any children and it is not my intention to become pregnant." or "No, I haven't got any biological clock, and nothing's ticking, thank you very much!"
Or should I raise the subject at the interview stage?
(I am only teasing!)
I have worked in two industries where the majority of employees are women: teaching and publishing. I have seen a lot of women abuse the system. Yes, it is good that those who want to carry on working can do so, but some women should understand that as well as rights, they have obligations.
I have lost count of instances of women taking maternity leave and coming back to work pregnant again, only to ask for yet another maternity leave; I've known several women who worked barely 6 months in two years because they had two children in those two years; women who take their full maternity leave knowing perfectly well that they won't come back but don't tell anyone, even their husbands/partners. Then the ones who do come back to work and then suddenly ask to go part-time immediately without having discussed it with the employer, or those who are not reliable at all and turn up at midday or leave at 2pm, or take days off at the last minute because their kid(s) has/have had a bad night, doesn't/don't feel well, has/have a parents' evening/show/dance lesson/etc. or take their screaming toddlers to work with them and interrupt everyone's work.
Of course, the ones who don't have children/don't take the piss have to cover for them, schedules are changed, workloads are swapped to accommodate the "mums". And what about their co-workers? Don't they have rights?
That kind of attitude has a negative effect on other female workers/job applicants too. But hey, what do they care? Being a mum makes them untouchable, doesn't it?
Mind you, there's paternity leave, now, isn't there? (something very fews guys want to take anyway!).
Therefore, to light up the mood, here's the Modern Toss' take on this issue: Their "Work" series are simply splendid... And yes, it is very rude and silly and un-PC!
So "The Book of Thoth" is slowly taking shape, ever so slowly... My writing pace has been a little stop and start of late, with family visiting, a few necessary changes in the flat, oh and I forget the riots which have been distracting me a little.
I have been doing an average of 1,200 words a day, not too bad I suppose. I can predict quite a lot of work at second draft though.
I have submitted "I am a Muse" to a further three literary agents this week. I am working my way through my list, without too much hope, however.
I need to start researching self-publishing and make a decision later in the year...
I guess that some people who got involved in the looting last weekend might have more chances of getting an agent than I...
I predict a steady stream of "expert" books and yet more novels about estates and poor immigrants and disillusioned teens (already a few have appeared on the long list of the Man Booker prize... It's so predictable!). Yawn. Sign of the times...
You know what?
It's bloody difficult to sit down and attempt to write a Gothic story set in 1925 rural England when your head is full of the urban warfare of the past few days.
Concentration is required, but how easy is it really to abstract from your head facts that genuinely preoccupy you? Or maybe I could introduce a gang of hooded ghosts who raid the kitchen of the manor house in search of some choice morsels?
I am incredibly relieved that London was spared last night. Let's hope it remains this way.
The events of the weekend have depressed me no end and I spent yesterday in a kind of a daze.
It is now time to stop wasting time and go back to the book.
I am really pleased with the progress I've made on "The Book of Thoth" in the past week. A minimum of 1,000 words a day is quite satisfying and a good pace, I think.
I am enjoying watching my characters come to life in front of my eyes, with all their foibles, habits or genius. I've come to visualise them as well as their surroundings. It is quite fun following them around Whitemoor Hall, the estate in which the action takes place. I draw little maps and sketches and keep making lists of names and attributes...
I love reading Christopher Fowler's posts about London, I always learn something new.
I was especially pleased to see this post here this morning: VAUXHALL
In my first novel, "I Am a Muse", one of the main character has a club night called "The Pleasure Gardens", inspired by the 18th and 19th Century pleasure gardens and their extravagant setting. Here's a short extract taken from the chapter in which Constance Blackwell walks around the club.
"It was almost midnight and the place was buzzing. The second band of the night had finished their set and the light had gone down a notch in the main room in order to show off the large illuminated fountain at the centre of the ‘square’.
Like a beautiful deluxe beehive coerced into action by an overflow of honey, The Gardens were inhabited by a thriving crowd constantly on the move.
The punters were throwing deconstructed shadows onto the walls as they walked past each other, circled around each other, studied and greeted each other. All of them had made a real effort to fit the non-dress code in one way or the other and this made for a striking ensemble of people who all somehow looked like they had escaped from some film set or stepped out of a time machine. Everybody looked bold and interesting in their own way.
In the ‘Banquet and Tea’ area, people were sitting on benches, chatting, flirting and drinking cocktails or tea. The music in there was muted, ethereal and light so as not to prevent people from hearing each other. Some had already succumbed to the cakes and were tucking in, some others were picking at the fruits laid out on the enormous fruit bowls by the long banquet tables while carrying on their conversations. Later, there would be some poetry readings.
The clubbers among the crowd were dancing the night away to sexy electro in the ‘ballroom’, seemingly oblivious to the extravagantly coiffed metal characters sculpted by the guest artist of the night. Rebecca Duval’s pieces were silent and immobile yet elegant creatures dressed in Marie-Antoinette inspired costumes.
Her creations were scattered within the venue like indulgent sentinels looking on as the crowd grew bigger, more colourful, more daring while time was suspended in an undefined era."
"I Am a Muse"
It's official: I must have a big brain. It would explain quite a few things about my strange behaviour and preferences, if we are to believe this new research results that have been published.
There was an article in The Independent last Saturday about it, written by Howard Jacobson.
"We in the north have bigger brains, they say, only because, like primitive cameras, we need larger apertures through which to process our native darkness into light [...] If light does play a part in the difference then the way to understand it is that people with large brains seek out places where there's less light, or stay in places where there's less light, because they know that light distracts from the gritty business of living sceptically, mistrustfully, and intelligently."
I quite like this definition, really, as it would then explain why I've never liked southern Europe and exotic destinations, can't stand the beach and the forced sunny happiness of the Summer season, adore scandinavia, winter, dark venues and museums... As for living sceptically and mistrustfully... :-)
See my previous blogs!
Matt ArtPix has now done a blog and posted pictures of the South Bank seaside installation:
I think therefore I write.
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