As Satyulemas approaches…

…I start looking back at what has happened to me in a personal sense over the year. 

This year has been one of the most stressful in my life. We started the year losing several of my favourite celebrities. Losing people familiar to me (even in a distant fashion) upsets and unbalances me.
Then we had our Landlords of 13 years decide that they want the house back and give us an eviction notice. Losing familiar places does the same thing as losing familiar people, only ten times worse.

I finally came to terms with the fact that I am as Autistic as my children and partner.  And I am embracing that. No more excusing what I do because Allistic or Neurotypical people think it is weird.

I was trying to figure out what my stim is the other day. Most autistics have them and they provide comfort when we are anxious or stressed as well as signify our joy and happiness. My happy stim is jumping and clapping – that hasn’t changed since I was little, but I couldn’t seem to find my comfort stim…
Then I realised today that I am always doing something with my hands. If I have something with a game or a keyboard on it, I’ll be playing or writing. If I’m too anxious or angry to do that, I knit or craft. If I don’t want to do that, I bake or wash up or draw,

In fact, if I need comfort and have a pen / paper in my hands, I’ll doodle. If I don’t, I tap or fiddle with whatever I can pick up. Most of the time it’s subconscious, but it’s infinitely preferable to getting so upset and anxious that I meltdown.

Now, here we are in a new house with new people to get used to and I’m anxious again… there are too many people in the area, not enough clear space around me and way too much light and noise. But it is something I have to put up with, so I’ll probably be doing a lot of writing, drawing and knitting….

Satyulemas begins on 17th December (handily the weekend after the kids break up) so we’ll put up the decorations, play loud music, have good things to eat and watch some seasonal movies (assuming I can find them in the boxes) before the preparations really get started…

 

The words aren’t there…

I have no words,
No words at all.
No words to share,
No words for all.
For I am White,
And while I long,
For the words to come,
To right my country’s wrongs,
The Words won’t come,
Won’t come at all.
My country oppressed,
It traded in slaves,
It took bonded workers,
To appropriate lands,
To push out autochthons,
And steal their homes.
My country is racist,
It believes it is better,
It believes that those of colour,
Are beneath it,
And it is wrong.
I don’t want to be a part of this,
I don’t want to be any of this.
I want people to be equal,
No matter their Colour,
Sexuality,
Gender,
Religion or Beliefs,
I want the world to realise,
There’s more to life than this.
There’s Love and Fun and Song ,
There’s Peace and Games and Food,
I want my country to apologise,
To admit that it was wrong.
To remove from those it enslaved,
The life and love and song.
But apologies aren’t accepted,
Even when the words aren’t wrong.
So,
I have no more words,
No more words at all.
No more words to share,
No more words for all.

Mandy Ward, South Wales, UK, 2016

The Starving Creative Problem

There’s more than one meme going round the Social Media world on this theme at the moment… the latest one that I’ve received is this:

13221496_10153781581572561_7257934672859283873_n

(Just for clarity, this meme should also be followed by this link – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36286624)

There’s also this one that pops up quite frequently (or at least a version of it) –

Terri Nixon's meme

Both of them cover more or less the same topic; the fact that creatives have to eat. No matter whether you’re a writer, an artist, a sculptor, a crafter… you need money to eat and to produce whatever it is that you produce.

I suspect the reason that people (who aren’t a creative of some sort) don’t understand why things such as e-books, paintings, hand knitted jumpers etc have to cost so much is because they are disconnected from the process that leads from idea to product. So they resist paying more for something creatively made than they would spend on something that has been mass produced.

Now I’m going to drop from general  to personal – so that I can explain something that often bothers me when I see these memes.
I’m not annoyed by them; they aren’t aimed at me. They’re aimed at the people I mentioned before… but they don’t seem to get out beyond the social media circles that I run in. For example, I have 900-ish “friends” on my personal facebook profile and 300-ish likes on my FB author page (200-ish of those are from my “friends” list).

My friends list contains a large number of Writers from various genres (everything from Erotica to SF, Fantasy and beyond to extreme horror), more than a smattering of Artists (writers need book covers, many Artists do cover art as a way of supporting their own individual work) and rather a few Crafters – some of which are also Artists or Writers. I also have quite a few friends who are either Teachers or Librarians… because well, Librarians like books and authors, as do Teachers who also like Artists and Crafters, and some of those Teachers and Librarians are actually Writers / Artists / Crafters themselves.

Confused yet? Maybe this will help you visualise it –

13198574_10154254913550337_7785931713770272765_o

I should imagine that this is how most people’s social media contacts would look – just with different job titles.

Anyway… most of the people on my list are creative or supporting of creatives. (I didn’t include Readers on there because all of these people can be readers as well.) So when one of the “Starving Artist / Writer” memes go round and I share it, it gets spread out around these people, so I see the same thing over and over again…

…but as far as I can tell, they don’t go any further. For example,  If I go peep at the walls of those people who share public contact with my “parents” sector,  I never see any of the “Starving Artist / Writer” memes. So if they don’t get out beyond the Creative Community, what good do they do?

The world appears to have a problem – it wants the products that Writers / Artists / Crafters etc produce, but it doesn’t want to pay any more that it would cost to buy the product from a company that mass produces them.
A Crafter that spends 100 hours+ on a hand knitted jumper can’t just sell it for £30 like a supermarket can, they HAVE to sell it for at least twice that – not in the least because their time is worth that much.

Starving Creatives are going to continue to be starving creatives unless the general public realise that they have to be paid appropriately for their products.

I’ll leave you with this question:

What would happen if EVERY Creative in the West went on strike?

(If you fancy discussing it, please do use the comments)