June 27th, 2007



In the last couple of months I've built up a little private tutoring business, in part because I don't want to be reliant on making money from writing, and because the doctorate dumped me out with some teaching skills, and I like teaching. It's strictly a part time gig, but the cash I make from it is a little less than what some of my friends who work full time get. Having the business has nothing to do with my ability to make money from writing, however; there's a lot of ways to make money from writing out there, and I've done my fair share over the years. Most of them, however, just plain out suck and, worse, they tend to stop you from writing the things that you actually do want to write. See, when I started writing, I did it out of interest and joy and because I had things I wanted to write and, for the most part, I've managed to keep that over the years, and I'd like to keep it for as long as I write. Say whatever you want about me and my work, but the cash I can make out of it has always been secondary, and I prefer it that way.

However, the conflict between cash and interest is a common thing. A friend of mine who works as a journalist used to write fiction, but has given it up, mostly due to the fact that she spends a whole week writing for newspapers, and the last thing she wants to do when she gets home is write more. She had a whole lot more ability than me, too, and it's a shame, but that's how it is at times, and every now and then she talks about books she'd like to write.

It may not sound like it, but the choice not to work like that is a business one, since as an author, I tend to believe that you're running your own little business. It's the business of self, of the work you produce, and like with every other business, you have to decide where and how you want your work to appear, who you want to work with, and how you want to conduct yourself, and so on and so forth. Someone once told me it was branding. Sometimes, it doesn't all work out, and you have your fuck ups, and there are up and down periods. I'm not trying to convince you that it's the way to be successful, and that it always works--take a look at last week--but it's how I work through the day to day stuff, and make the decisions I do. However, what's interesting to me is that, since starting up the tutoring business, for which I've discovered a surprising amount of demand, I've applied the same kind of outlook to how I run that. For example, I won't tutor anyone who doesn't want to do the work. They don't have to love the work--that I can live with, and for the most part, I figure most don't love the work. But if you're actively not doing it, or you hate every moment, I'm just not going to bother.

I had one of those kids last night. He was likable enough, but didn't want to be there. He had canceled his first week, and I figure that'll be the trend.

"I heard him turn down someone tonight," D said a couple of weeks back, when he was up from Melbourne, and to which J said, "I heard the same thing a month ago!"

The joke around my friends is all they hear me do is turn down work, you see. It's a nice position to be in, especially since at the end of the year, I think it's going to dry right the fuck up, and I'll be reliant on the workshop cash I can make through the Xmas break.

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From Mutitjulu Community Leaders:

We welcome any real support for indigenous health and welfare and even two police will assist, but the Howard Government declared an emergency at our community over two years ago -- when they appointed an administrator to our health clinic -- and since then we have been without a doctor, we have fewer health workers, our council has been sacked, and all our youth and health programmes have been cut.

We have no CEO and limited social and health services. The Government has known about our overcrowding problem for at least 10 years and they’ve done nothing about it. How do they propose keeping alcohol out of our community when we are 20 minutes away from a five-star hotel? Will they ban blacks from Yulara? We have been begging for an alcohol counsellor and a rehabilitation worker so that we can help alcoholics and substance abusers but those pleas have been ignored. What will happen to alcoholics when this ban is introduced? How will the Government keep the grog runners out of our community without a permit system?

We have tried to put forward projects to make our community economically sustainable -- like a simple coffee cart at the sunrise locations -- but the Government refuses to even consider them.

There is money set aside from the Jimmy Little foundation for a kidney dialysis machine at Mutitjulu, but National Parks won’t let us have it. That would create jobs and improve indigenous health but they just keep stonewalling us. If there is an emergency, why won’t Mal Brough fast-track our kidney dialysis machine?

Some commentators have made much of the cluster of s-xually transmitted diseases identified at our health clinic. People need to understand that the Mutitjulu health clinic (now effectively closed) is a regional clinic and patients come from as far away as WA and SA; so, to identify a cluster here is meaningless without seeing the confidential patient data.

The fact that we hold this community together with no money, no help, no doctor and no government support is a miracle. Any community, black or white would struggle if they were denied the most basic resources. Police and the military are fine for logistics and coordination, but health care, youth services, education and basic housing are more essential.


(From Grant Watson (angriest))
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