“Me a financial journalist?”, an Austrian lady with lively eyes exclaimed, tearing into her steak. “I thought; never!”
She was over here two years ago to report on the economic crisis and had stopped by at my house for dinner. It was the first time my parents and I had met her but she had come highly recommended by her Viennese aunt, a friend of my father’s. I was in my third year of college and still under the impression that the world was my oyster.
“How has the recession had an impact on you?” she asked between bites.
I thought. “Wealthy parents no longer want me to teach their children Irish”, I mused “and as a result I’m more conscious of the price of coffee. Coffee is my main source of expenditure”. She scribbled this down in her notebook.
I was about to explain to her that Insomnia’s €3 coffee and mufffin deal (do you remember?) was topping my list of recession busters but that were the food not so disgusting, the “Weekly Madness” deal in Londis would have come out tops, when she asked “What would you like to be?”
“I would like to write feature articles for newspapers” I said.
She poured herself some juice and sat back. “You need to be open”, she said, “and you need to stand out. I never saw myself writing about economics.. I mean, me and finance come on”..
“You need to send good photographs to editors”, she continued. “Not boring ones. Ideally you should be out in nature. The photograph I used to get this job was of me with a tree. It’s important that you be different from the crowd”.
In the days, weeks and months that followed that conversation, I considered setting the self-timer of my camera and wrapping myself originally around one of the sycamore trees in my garden, but weather and the proximity of my neighbour’s back window to my creative space did not permit.
I did however take on board her advice, and the photograph that I use in the “Who Am I” section of this blog features me with a Slovenian tree which I accosted on the shores of Lake Bled during an interrail adventure with my LSB two summers ago. Though I have been a hard-working teacher for a week now, I’m keeping the old literary passion alive and my big toe in the door by accepting the position of editor of a new literary website: www.writing.ie, which launched last night after months of hard work by a small group of driven and creative people from whom I am learning to multitask. For the “about us” section of the site, I have chosen to feature a photograph of myself beside a large sunflower, as my sycamore tree wouldn’t fit on the photograph. Who would have thought that a financial journalist could inspire such a circuitous plug. I guess her editor would agree with me that she is one hundred percent natural…