Been a while.
I don’t normally talk about my day job on this blog. I like to keep my writing world and my employment world separate, for the very good reason that I don’t want the one to affect the other— working in the arts field leaves me too open to accusations of using my employment position to advance my writing career, and it’s a lot easier to simply keep the two things disassociated and avoid the possibility altogether. However, this is one of those rare occasions where I’m going to break that self-imposed taboo, because my day job is the reason I’ve not been around here lately, and I think that deserves an explanation.
I work as the Arts Officer for a local government. Every year we produce a beachside sculpture exhibition called the Castaways Sculpture Awards—50 or so sculptures along our officially-the-second-best-beach-in-the-country foreshore, each one made from recycled materials. It is, without patting myself on the back too hard, pretty bloody specky. You can check it out here, here, and here if you don’t believe me.
See? Good, innit?
The event has been steadily growing over the past 5 years: apart from the central exhibition we run a week of schools workshops, a separate two-day schools exhibition, a flash opening night and a free public forum featuring a series of guest speakers. We co-ordinate a team of community volunteers to staff our information tent, and many of the artworks are for sale, and we co-ordinate those sales as well. This year, the event expanded to incorporate a poetry competition that received over 150 entries and a photography competition which, at the time of writing, had attracted 140 entries with a few days to go until closing. All this, organised by two people—myself, and the Co-ordinator, my immediate superior.
Six weeks before this year’s event, she resigned and left.
Since then I’ve been co-ordinating this event as well as taking on the duties of both the Co-ordinator and Officer positions, essentially working two jobs as well as applying for the vacant Co-ordinator job and going through the application & interview process for that, culminating in working a 19-day week during the exhibition and aftermath. The event went off like a bomb. I got the job. It’s all ended pretty darn well. But in the meantime, it damn well ate my fucking life. Things are back to normal now: the beach is back to its pristine self, I’ve had a normal-person weekend, and I’ve got a week off coming up where I’ve been able to tie my fingers to the keyboard and undertake mass wordage.
But in the interests of catching the hell up, and there are a few things that’ll sound a bit out of date along the way, let’s settle in for a bit of updatery, shall we?