By Nimue Brown
Yesterday I read a speech Neil Gaiman made to students, about going out into the world to live and work as a creative person. It’s well worth reading. . . . He described his vision of his own work as being like a mountain that needed to be reached before it could be climbed. And the importance of balancing the creativity against the need to eat and having some kind of life. But he said that when anything came in, he would consider whether it took him towards, or away from the mountain.
There are so many things in this world that waltz into our lives announcing their own importance. You must do this, or that, you simply have to do the other. Some of these pertain to paid work. Some are about the demands our families, partners and friends may make upon us. Many things are piped into our homes via the media. But of course you want a car, and a shiny kitchen, and a bigger house, and more things, and of course you should spend more time cleaning your many things, and you need, need, need the latest fashions in this, that, and also the other or people will think you’re an idiot. Because you’re worth it. Priceless. Every little helps. Things that waltz in pretending to be helpful, and waltz out again with the contents of your bank account, having deprived you of hours of your life.