I’ve just handed in notice at my part-time office job of three years. It was low-income, quiet and demanded very little of me. I’ll miss the safeness of it, but I’m done with stagnating. I have a plan, held together with safety pins, an old copy of Plan B, and a bright-eyed, cynic’s hope, to make music journalism a full time career, instead of the part time one I’ve been eking out alongside the office job, lovingly, for the past three years.
The unemployment climate in the UK and the dire state of print journalism as whole means I’m up against cruel odds. As Powers says, “The elegy for writing has become a literary sub genre in and of itself”. Being female, queer and working class in an industry that favours the heterosexual, white, middle class male definitely doesn’t help, but I think these obstacles make it even more important for me to push forward. Leaving the comfort zone for unpaid internships and no guarantees makes me feel a little like those wandering blues musicians – no big machine to back you up, no trust fund, no sure thing – just a heartfelt desire to add your own humble song to the world and pay the rent at the same time.
I came across the music critic Jessica Hopper a few years back and continue to enjoy her work. I admire her style, her intellect and the sense of uncompromising self-belief I get from her writings. As a young wordsmith feeling outwards for the legacy of older, accomplished writer/journo types, I needed a reflection of my own vulnerabilities, an example of another women writer who had felt what I am feeling and still managed to manifest a place of security and abundance within this beatnik community. I dig Hopper's work, and I’m claiming Powers’s intro as a timely, golden omen. She taps in to almost everything I’ve been fretting about, biting my nails over, and hoping for. Sometimes affirmations arrive exactly when you need them, and I think acknowledging these little, unexpected sign posts are the best way to navigate the chaos.