Horace Engdahl, Nobel judge, has caused some controversy with his recent quote that creative writing courses and grants are killing western literature.
"Grants cut off writers from society, whereas past greats worked as ‘taxi drivers and waiters’ to feed their imaginations." He refers to Samuel Beckett in this instance.
I'd love to run a poll with taxi drivers and waitresses to find out how much their jobs are fuelling their imaginations. Working as a secretary in the finance industry certainly fed my ambition to get out of there. But how much did it nourish my imagination - a born daydreamer, my imagination was already in overdrive - what else did my office job allow, if not, an opportunity to daydream? And perhaps the odd character.
In no order, working as a temp, bit-actress, TV production coordinator, film development executive, barmaid, cocktail waitress, nanny and possibly a host of other labels I have forgotten, has given me an insight into human behaviour that spurs me to write (Yes, Mr Engdahl, you are right.) Partaking in a creative writing course (whilst working) only served to shape and encourage my writing. I might not be winning the Nobel prize but life fuels the imagination in many surprising ways - not just working as a waitress and a taxi driver. Just look and listen.