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Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Writerly concerns

The longer I spend as a writer, the more I become like an accountant.

When I was young I thought artists led exciting, colourful lives, and that like the grasshopper who fiddled all summer, they didn’t worry about paying bills but simply lived to create beauty. Accountants were dull folk who spent their lives adding and subtracting figures and ate a meal roster – the same dinner every night for years.

The more involved I become in creating alternative universes, the more dependent I become on a daily routine. Morbidly obsessed with finances and health, I exercise daily and practise frugality. I am far more dull than an accountant, and I think it would have maybe served me well to be one, because then I wouldn’t worry about money so much!

PS. On my jog this morning, I saw several men going through dustbins – it’s rubbish day in Troyeville. When I greeted the one guy, he replied: I’m living well, well! I thought… you can respond to a middle aged woman with dogs in a friendly, open way, when you’re looking in a dustbin. These exchanges put financial worries into perspective. Here I am worrying about how to survive as an artist, but this man is just concerned with survival as a human.

I am not a social scientist but Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s proposal to have a special tourist-friendly fight against crime in anticipation of 2010 doesn’t make sense to me. In fact, it angers me. What about South Africans who are vulnerable to crime, and by the way it’s not only the wealthy who are targets. It’s all about enforcement – more police, special procedures for reporting, etc, and nothing about going to the root causes of crime, which I think are poverty, hopelessness, fear and lack of accountability.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 26th, 2007 @08:52 #

    And most accountants are blissfully unaware that they are leading mundane lives. Lucky bastards.


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