So if I ruled Australia….

Like most creatives, every so often I get overwhelmed with black thoughts. After so many years of this, I know what I need to do to turn the tide – and most of the time, it works. I don’t sink for very long. I might have a week of not being particularly sunny, but for the most part, I’m okay.

And then I find it really helpful to then sit and reflect on what was the trigger for the slide down to see the black dog. Not instantly, but a week or so later, when I feel stronger.

The reason I’m writing this is it’s one of those times. I’ve had a few black days. They are over now – but there was a while where I wasn’t very strong at all. I am hugely lucky. I have a rock of a husband, who will prop me up. I have some hugely supportive friends – including one who’ll drop in with a coffee and a hug whenever I need it (how good is that??!!). I have work that inspires me. But every so often I slip.

I am hearing about all the stimulus packages in Australia post-COVID. There’s building stimulus packages, and help for sports codes. There’s a lot of talk about getting crowds back to sports games and into shopping malls. There’s nothing (yet??) to help artists.

Now, I am lucky. I’ve been able to run on-line concerts. I’ve had overwhelming support from audience members. I’ve been able to employ others. This post is not about me, and how I am hard done-by. Oh no sirree. This is about my fellow artists. Who have been brought to their knees. Who will continue to struggle for months. For years. And seem to be overlooked by the powers-that-be. We are working, doing what we can, even through we are doing it very much on our own.

And every so often, not very often, but every so, I reflect on it for a little too long. And I drop my head in my hands. It’s all too much.

If I was ruling the country for a while, I’d change a few things. (This is a fun game to play. I recommend it.) I’d stop NAPLAN. (Children are not all the same, so don’t test them like that. It’s not useful, or helpful.) I’d pay teachers more. I’d pay politicians less (at least until they behave better). I’d make tampons free. I’d make arts education compulsory in every school. And I’d change the way the arts are viewed in this country. I’d help all the artists who needed for a long while post-‘rona. Actors, painters, poets, musicians – anyone who was struggling. I’d give money to theatres and small venues. I’d make music licenses easier to get. Because who relied on the arts to get you through lockdown? Who read more, watched more, listened more?

Thought so.

Today I’m fine. And I’ll continue to be so. And I am very lucky. Thank you to everyone who has helped me be so. And to my fellow creatives? Hang in there, my friends.