I spent nearly twenty years writing drama for a living. My own greatest dramatic conflict during this period kept emerging. I struggled with the dramatic? irony that I don’t believe creativity should be commodified, which was constantly in play with the ‘reality’ that I found it difficult if not impossible to write for money without losing something vital in my creative being. Realising that the pay cheque is actually the means of your own dissatisfaction rather than the open door to your creativity can be quite a difficult lesson to learn but when finally accepted, it is quite freeing. Reflecting now, I can be grateful that I didn't earn more money or become more 'successful' as the conflict might have been even greater and walking away while retaining integrity might have been more difficult.
Instead, virtually meeting Brendan and engaging with McStorytellers was (for me) like beginning the road to recovery – giving me a sense of hope and deeper understanding about the nature of creativity. I had to think long and hard about the very meaning of the lexicon of creative privileging – words like ‘quality’ and ‘professional’ really need to be unpacked and considered outside of a box which seeks to commodify.
McStorytellers is about the free sharing of stories. And about giving confidence to those who want to take the next step and publish. It offers a level playing field to all and is non-judgemental because it is not primarily profit driven. It offers more than hope. It offers a platform. It offers choice. In its quiet way it sets up an alternative – one which would be quite threatening and challenging to the dominant ideology of creativity! It’s a perfect example of what Kirsty Eccles calls ‘our world too.’
McRenegades takes things a step further. Where McStorytellers offers hope and an alternative, McRenegades offers the opportunity for writers to let their actions match their words – to commit to the notion that competition within ‘the’ system isn’t for everyone. As I see it McRenegades are not trying to compete with or fight against anything or anyone. We are not demanding people listen to us, read our work, or take us seriously. We do not need (or crave) either approval or disapproval. We are simply stating our heart-felt belief that we have a right to our voice and using this otherwise toothless ‘digital’ revolution as a platform to air that voice.
McRenegades will not be silent. We will not play the roles allotted to us. We will make our own revolution. We will be the change we want to see. In my case that change is best summed up in a short story. Rather than me go on at length here (which believe me, I can do) if you really want to ‘meet’ me, then I suggest my fiction is the place you’ll find me and (I hope) ‘A Fishing Line’ is a great place to start. You can read it here.