Wanted: Solar-powered clothes dryer

For as long as we humans have walked the Earth, many of us have been honest.

Many of us have wanted to work hard, help others and then reap the rewards for our labour.

However, there are also those of us who look to to scam and deceive everyone around us!

These scam artists often tend to be very creative…I guess not all of us creatives can be good, can we?

Let me take you back the sixties and seventies. The war was well over, the baby boomers were here and people had a quality of life that would have seemed alien to them some years before.

Gadgets were all the rage (as they are now).

Solar-power was one of the buzzwords of the time and everyone wanted to use it whenever they could.

Why not help out the planet as and when you can?

A man called Steve Comisar was out to make some money.

Print advertising was big back then.

So he put an advert in the magazines and papers selling this amazing new gadget:

“Solar-powered clothes dryer – just $39. The planet friendly way to dry your clothes – never use your tumble-dryer again. Send the money and I’ll have one sent out to you within a week, free delivery – life-time guarantee!”

Believe me when I say that people bought into the idea. Families rushed to send over their hard-earned dollars.

And then they waited. Curiously. Sitting there, in their homes, imagining how this new, wacky invention might look.

You can imagine their surprise when it arrived. It looked just like this:

MEN-JJ09-clothesline1

Yep, just your average, run-of-the-mill clothesline. One that you can find in nearly every garden in the country.

As you can imagine people were pissed, and Steve Comisar is still doing time now for that and a combination of other scams.
(I believe that the only U.S. con artist bigger than him was Frank Abingale – he was the guy the film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was based on.)

Of course I’m not saying that we should go around scamming people, and I’m not advocating a crook.

But – there’s creativity here.

Comisar looked at the current market, saw a theme that everyone was interested in (solar power) and then found a new way to market something around it.

Why don’t we embrace creativity like this and use it to market and sell genuine products?

Or perhaps, if we’re writing fiction – we can take a standard plot, and re-imagine it in such a way that it gets a new lease of life?

Nobody knows what they’re doing.

So Ashley didn’t write today because he’s off on a wine tasting tour. As I type this he’s pouring wine, and if he’s anything like me while on tour he’ll be befriending the people at the cheese stand and swapping Syrah for Cornish stilton.

But I’m not like Ashley, and it doesn’t take quite as much wine or whimsy for me not to write.

She wants to write, really write someday. But she is not fully formed. So she does not write. Not really. Unless attempting to live is a form of attempting to write.”

That’s a quote by author Kate Zambreno, from her novel Green Girl.

It’s also a pretty accurate description of my own approach to writing. I didn’t write today because I didn’t feel confident enough to do proper job.

Impostor syndrome was coined by clinical psychologists Dr Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It almost exclusively affects women (although non-binary people and men who are marginalised experience it too, thanks patriarchy) and can be defined as one’s inability to internalise their accomplishments, paired with a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. It’s the crippling belief that our successes are the product of luck rather than talent.

I didn’t write today because the voice in my head told me I’m too amateur to even try (a voice echoed by decades of internalised inferiority courtesy of our mainstream media and, you guessed it, the bloody patriarchy). But I realise this is a blog about empowering creatives, recognising the hypocrisies that undermine us, and overcoming the things that squelch us.

The reasons we feel like impostors doomed to mediocrity are deeply embedded in society and probably won’t change overnight (but if they did I’m sure it wouldn’t be me who did it and would be somebody much cleverer and more successful…). Sod it! Write anyway. Write because you need to.

Even the undeniably talented Maya Angelou once said “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

You’re clearly not alone, so get on with it. Just imagine if Maya Angelou had waited until she felt adequate – we’d all be worse off because she’s fab and a gift to the world.

Which brings me to my final point really – support one another in our endeavours to live creative lives. If you read something wonderful, don’t let your first thoughts be “I could never be as talented/insightful/witty/successful”. Appreciate the art, let it move you, be inspired, and that inner voice will quieten. Do your very best not to let self doubt be the reason you don’t write today.

Nobody really knows what they’re doing anyway.

A King in a dress

I was listening to a podcast today and amongst all the great content included, there was one snippet of a story that stuck with me.

It was about a pre-teen boy who was, for whatever reason, wearing a dress. Someone else in his class stopped him and said:

“You can’t wear that. You’re not a princess”.

His reply?

“I can. I’m a King in a dress”.

If that’s not a perfect example of using creativity to change someone’s perspective, I don’t know what else is.

And, as writers, many of us have messages to deliver, as well as stories. Whether they be social, ethical or everything in-between.

Your creativity is a great tool, and it empowers you – giving you the ability to present things in a way that others can understand and empathise with. Use it wisely.

If you’re interested the podcast was ‘Guilty Feminist’ – which I highly recommend.

Centre Circles & Corner Kicks

I didn’t write this evening because I watched the football.

Creatives aren’t just the artists and the writers of this fair lonely planet. They can be in all walks of life from engineers to footballers.

Ever since the days of gladiators and colloseums sport has always united and divided us.

Long may it continue. 

I’ll write tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day where I’ll begin walking down the path to becoming the greatest writer who ever lived..