I’ve honestly lost count of the number of people I’ve pissed off over the last (almost) decade of writing for the mainstream media. I like to blame Jack Rivlin, founder and Big Boss in Charge of The Tab for giving me the platform to move the masses to a sense of rage. However, it all started a few years before that when me and my best friend in college, Lucy Von Goetz (she’s also famous now, so that should say something about the company I keep), took over editing our campus magazine.
It took one issue to get the college campus magazine canceled forever. It was also the first time I had to stand up to someone for my work. I wrote a cover and centerfold piece on the medical uses for MDMA and marijuana. Ironically, the college dean hadn’t read the piece when it came to disciplining us, so I still claim that debate as a win. I also threw in a few McCarthyism comments, as well as some freedom of speech throw-downs. Eventually, we ended up handing out the hundred of copies of the magazine for free at the college gates – a concept I stole from the TV show, Malcolm in The Middle.
When my managing editor asked me to write this piece, it finally got me thinking about why I chose this career path, and why I write about the things that I do.
As many of you may have noticed, I am an inherently angry and stubborn woman. I have a great life, but I am consistently let down by the other members of our species. This goes doubly for employment. It wasn’t until after a particularly ill-timed breakup that I actually felt like my written abilities would make it easier for me to express the devastation I was feeling.
Following this, I noticed that unless I was talking about a scientific phenomena, or my personal likes and dislikes, I found it difficult to say things out loud. Let’s take, for example, an interview I had with the BBC about an article I wrote several years ago. In front of millions of listeners across the UK and the rest of the world, I had to basically apologize to my hometown, and then call out the politicians, and weak-minded individuals that had failed to remedy the sociological disaster that was taking over the streets.
When the producer of the show called me to ask if I’d like to be interviewed, I was still half asleep. I said yes, asked them to send me the questions, and had less than an hour to prepare. I’ve never listened to the show, because I hate the sound of my own voice, but I’ve been told that I came across really well.
This morning I was asked for a recipe for a meal I make nearly every month. I wish someone had filmed me, I think I said garlic about fifteen times, and didn’t even explain what sort of meat I used.
Writing, for me, is free therapy. It allows me to move on from my inability to explain things verbally, and put things on paper. I am constantly told that one should never put anything in print unless they’d be comfortable saying it out loud. Unfortunately for me, I don’t have the luxury of choice in this matter.
When I attended Plymouth University, I lived with two of my best friends. I also wrote all day, every day during my time at Plymouth, just like I continue to today. I usually write my articles in my apartment, where I live alone, and I very rarely wear anything when I do so.
Okay, so that’s not always true, but for the most part it’s the norm.
I write this column because it awards me freedom in all areas of my life.
I’m not a fiction writer. I’ve ghost written a few scripts, treatments, and other creative literature – and I’m actually a weirdly well-published poet under my pen name, and my real name – but for the most part, I am a nonfiction creative. The human planet, and the physical world we inhabit, has always fascinated me. We work in this terribly complicated, and inherently tumultuous relationship with the ground we live on. Yet, most of what the human species has invested in is ourselves. Being employed is a huge part of that. I actually don’t like the way that we live, and the fact that we have to work. If it were up to me, we’d all still be hunter-gatherers living in the wilderness. However, we’re not. I live an atypical lifestyle in that my creativity is only unleashed when involved in beneficial working relationships. It’s not quite going back to the cave, but sometimes my apartment might resemble it.
As an angry, petulant, childish woman, there are lots of things I let bother me. I want to be clear in that I might let things bother me, but they don’t control my mentality. For example, I frequent Gjelina Take Away in Venice almost every day. I love all of the staff there, except for this one skinny, miserable boy who has never, not once, bothered to strike up the same rapport with customers as the other members of the staff. I think that’s really rude. He even talks down to, and sometimes even ignores the people who made Gjelina what it is today, and I think that’s really, really stupid and downright ignorant of him. He’s in the service industry, and a big part of that is being a polite human being. Wanker.
It Makes Me Happy
It may sound a little cliché, but the things I write about for this column make me really happy. I can take out all of my stress, or creativity, or some of the silly ideas I come up with at random points of my week, and put them into words for the world to read.
Plus, you all know me; I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t make me happy…
Kay Smythe, The British Bitch in America.
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