So I started writing this to contribute to someone else’s magazine.
“The magazine is about up and coming art or uncelebrated art that is put into a context which makes it look professional.”
Unfortunately, through my own tardiness or foggy deadlines, this piece was never published. However, you can now read it here.
Please, if you decide to comment, keep it respectful. I don’t need abuse hurled at me again for expressing a personal view or opinion.
This is a piece of creative non-fiction.
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‘Fake it ‘til you make it, baby’, she said. Of course, she wasn’t calling me baby, my mother never would – she was just quoting some colloquialism of an era not belonging to us.
Of course, however, she was right.
The way we’ve all be seduced and coerced these days, people – someone – will believe anything, including you.
It’s a hot March day, the kind often experienced during an Australian summer – sitting in a classroom with no working air conditioner, sweat pooling between your legs and skin interlacing with the fabrics of your clothes.
In this case, the March day is outside under a corrugated iron roof, on metal stools which surround a metal table, next to a metal bin. There’s a unique heat to bare skin on metal – the seat belt buckle slapping across your breast.
Someone’s lit the bin on fire.
‘You should all create blogs’, he dictated. His voice was warm and friendly, deep and resonating. ‘I can’t express how important it is to start establishing yourself on the web’.
The web. I love how the older generation refer to it as ‘the web’.
It’s an extension of your existence.
I can’t remember the shimmering days of drawing chalk on asphalt and the sweet chemical smell of playing in the trees.
I can remember spending hours of my existence stalking people on Facebook, or looking at porn gifs on Tumblr. Using Tinder and driving myself further into the world of first impressions – and shallowness.
Your mind becomes a drop of water on glass.
So as I arrived home on that March evening, instead of going through pages of ‘writer memes’ and ‘art owl memes’ I hit the backlit fluorescence of my keyboard and created a blog.
That’s a good start.
So what am I?
A screw bores in between my eyes and into the mantle of my skull.
Well, I’m studying to be a professional writer and editor, it’s the name of the course. If someone does a carpentry apprenticeship, they’re a carpenter. Electrician, mechanic, florist. Hell, even artists can claim to be artists without ever going to art school.
So I can claim to be professional writer.
I am entitled to it.
Professional Writer and Editor.
This is the first time labelling myself has sat comfortably in my arms.
Of course, I’m barely professional. 99% of people who are studying are not professionals.
But you can pretend to be.
‘Fake it ‘til you make it, baby’.
Within minutes my laptop screen was flashing like a strobe at a bad house party, command+C, command+V, command+C, command+V, command+C, command+V, command+C, command+V.
Soon my shiny little blog, of Melissa Madigan the Professional Writer is filled with poetic words and motivation.
Networking, 30 minutes of every day. Networking, 30 minutes of every day. Networking, 30 minutes of every day.
I became a master at the blog. The will to complete my novel assignments for my course soon took a seat in the back, where I rested my hand upon the thigh of my blog.
Everyday I would reach the limit of people I could follow.
My glimmering follower count of 1000 within weeks was not the result of my gripping poetry and descriptive, yet incomprehensibly vague prose.
It was the result of making people think that some hot stuff had followed their pathetic little poetry blog, and that they should feel privileged.
Soon people started asking me questions.
Anonymous said: How do you have Microsoft Word set up?
I use Pages, I reply.
Anonymous said: What is your favourite font?
Why do you care, I think.
Times New Roman, I say.
Anonymous said: I just want to take this opportunity to say I am in love with your poetry. I have this idea that just because people can write poetry, doesn’t mean they should. You however are amazing, so don’t stop writing. I beg of you!
One day you’re going to glance out your window as the rose shrubs batter the fly screen and white cockatoo’s cavort in the wind.
And start believing your own lies.
Maybe people are liking your poetry because you’re actually talented.
Maybe people like your painting because you’re actually talented.
Maybe they like the way it looks, it’s their favourite colour, the jasmine’s you referenced is their favourite smell.
Your heartache tastes a lot like their heartache.
Anonymous said: The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them. -Anton Chekhov
Maybe you’re not supposed to ever know.
And maybe it doesn’t matter. It probably doesn’t.
One day you’re going to end up in a tight blazer and heels you thought would be comfortable and survive the two minute walk from the tram stop.
You’ll be clutching a portfolio of your artworks or poems.
You’ll be clutching a portfolio of your life and your $50,000 HECS debt too.
And all they’re ever going to care about is:
a) How easy is it for me to do this cheaply?
So your 1000, 10000, 100000 followers. Maybe they will all be worth it for you.
Because while you were pretending to be the captain, but actually scrubbing the deck. They were convinced.
Anonymous said: My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish. -Joyce Carol Oates
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‘Fake it, Baby’ is a work of creative non-fiction that doesn’t necessarily reflect real life events or thought patterns of Melissa Madigan. On the other hand, it could.