Am I evil?
I asked myself that question this morning while I was working in the public library. I wasn’t thinking about heavy metal legends Diamond Head who wrote the song of that name (also the name of one of my son’s fave Ben10 characters). I asked myself that question because I realised I was beginning to feel resentful towards all the happy people in the library running Facebook.
There are about 30 PCs in the library and at any time about 20 are running FB, and most of the rest are running Skype, email, or games. I see the same people at the computers every day (and, to be fair, they see me most days too, though I bring my own netbook).
I don’t know the personal circumstance of these individuals. I am generalising. I have no right to criticise. They’re happy! I only feel a slight twinge of resentment, so what’s the big deal?
You see, even for this very mild angst, I can find so many reasons why that makes me a bad person.
And yet I can’t help thinking…
These people are adults but they’re here every day. While they’re here, they aren’t looking for work and they aren’t acquiring skills. Now that I’m not earning myself, I’m doubly precious about all that tax I’ve paid in over the years — am still paying in — and where it goes.
Am I evil to feel that twinge of resentment?
Or am I just stupid because I don’t get Jobseekers Allowance as muggins here declares a tax status of self-employed?
Funnily enough, as I’m writing this post I’ve answered my own question AND cured myself of any resentment. Read on and I’ll explain…
I’d better give a little back story. I’m not employed by the library; I go there to finish my time-travel novel and do editing and formatting jobs for my e-publishing business. You see, after 18 years producing software for a company called Capita, I was made redundant 5 months ago. My colleagues gave me a Kindle as a leaving present.
I’ve been around computers and tech-gadgets for 30 years and can say that the Kindle is a brilliant bit of kit. A realisation that led to unexpected consequences…
At first I had intended to spend a little time between jobs finishing my book and enjoying the novelty of having flexibility in my working day. For example, I’ve recently been a parent-helper on several trips at my son’s school. I would never have done that when I had my old software job.
A few weeks in, though, and I kept thinking about how good Kindle e-books were and the excitement at finding some self-published authors putting out great e-books. Then I thought of all the great unpublished stories I had read in my years in writers’ critique groups.
So I decided to create my own publishing house: Greyhart Press.
It’s exhausting and exhilarating. It’s won me friends I would never have come across otherwise, and lost me money. It might never make a useful contribution to my family’s bills, but I wake up every day and am grateful that Fate kicked me up the backside and pushed me into doing this.
Am I evil?
I don’t know about that. But what I’ve realised writing this post is that:
What I am is lucky.