A Mediation On True Wealth, Writing & Books – And A Housing Update!

fog

Well, it seems my family might be on the move again, which is a trillion times better than being homeless, but very tiring and jolting nonetheless. The rent is at the place we are staying at, even though it is one of the cheapest available in Sydney, is just too high. So far we might be moving to a small unit above an old store owned by a friend of my mother’s – incidentally, also next to a highway. This friend will be renting it to us as at a greatly lowered amount in comparison to the market prices. It will be very cramped with all four of us, and I am unsure how well generosity and friendship can last over the long term – what if she begins to see us as a liability preventing her from earning more from her property? – but it will be a home, a roof over our heads, something millions all over the world would give their right hand to have, so I am grateful that we won’t have to sleep on the streets or in the car or at a homeless shelter.  

In the meantime, as we can’t move in right away, mother will be borrowing the money to help cover the existing rent and other living expenses. We’ll be going into some debt, but it must be done.

As for the noise of living in a space with three other people, I am still trying to figure out ways to cope. The place doesn’t exactly have two clearly delineated rooms: it’s more of a kitchen with an extremely large arched doorway and no door that segues into a room doubling as a bedroom and living room. We’ll be sharing beds. No privacy and alone time will take a toll on my mental health, so I’ll have to find some way around it. If worst comes to worst, I’ll simply have grit it out and sit on the toilet in the bathroom stall with the door locked and earplugs in my ears until my family goes to sleep, then slip out, in the dead of the night, to read and write in the communal rooms. Like a little literary mouse. The only problem is the awful lighting in the bathroom stall. I’ll have to use a torch, perhaps.

As an INFP – and perhaps some of you dreamers might be able to corroborate this – I place very little important on money, at least until something terrible happens, like the threat of homelessness, or when my father left us, in a metaphorical whirling wake of banknotes. Money, to me, has never been a point of pride, prestige, or status – in fact, it’s never been much of anything in regards to my self-worth, or how I view others. A woman who lives from paycheck to paycheck yet hands a couple of dollars each week to the homeless man she passes on the street, if only to help him buy lunch that day, is worth a million times more than the handsome billionaire with the white smile who sits on his mound of cash like a grinning Cheshire Cat.

Money, for me, is a necessary evil that keeps you off the street and somewhere warm and fed, with light to see by and water to clean and cook with, and the other extraneous things people seem to seek for money to bring them – vacations, good food, expensive clothes, large houses, cars – hold not the slightest allure. After all, the loves of my life are writing and reading, the twin goddesses to which I have long-ago chosen to devote my life to, and both hobbies cost very little to maintain. There are the pencils and paper, of course, and the electricity used to power the old computer I type on, but that costs, per week, under $10, I should think, less than $5 on good weeks. It’s a drop in the ocean compared to money-suckers like rent and car breakdowns. As for books, well, I am lucky enough to live in a city with well-stocked libraries, allowing me access to free books whenever I want. I simply write up a list of the books I want collated through browsing the online catalogue, along with all the reference numbers, and ask my brother or sister to help me borrow them when they have the time. Now that is true wealth, wouldn’t you say? Not to mention the internet as well, full of interesting articles, accessible at the touch of a fingertip. Simply by virtue of being a person of the modern age, I am rich with knowledge.

Of course, sometimes there are books I can’t find in the library that I want to read very badly, which always leads me to morosely eyeing the book on Amazon, or all the lovely reviews it has garnered on Goodreads. Do you know, if I were truly homeless and living in a place without public libraries, I might go around begging for books rather than money. One day, when I am published (though it’s a fairy dream, forever melting when I try to reach for it), my greatest joy will be able to set aside a little money each week to buy the books I want to read and support other authors (after buying that little isolated cottage next to a stream, of course, far from the grime and clamor of the cities). Basically, I will be writing books and using the money I get from that to buy more books – because what better thing could you spend your money on! Think of all the thousands of dollars spent on holidays by other people. If I had so much as half as much as they had, think of all the thousands of books I would have been able to buy; I would have put together my own wonderful little library by now.

You’d be surprised at how few people in the world hold this same view of money. I was. In fact, there have been times when other people have been downright mean to me, and made me feel ashamed for being poor, and I, in my naivety, could only look back at them in bemusement. In the past, I’ve made friends with people who placed a premium on vacations, money, and status, who endlessly badgered me until I told them my mother’s occupation, whereupon they looked down their nose at me for the rest of the school year; and once, after my father left, one young woman kept wondering why my family didn’t own a car (that was before my mother bought her puttering second-hand creature) or a house. It made me feel inadequate as a person. I didn’t understand why they seemed to delight in my poverty. Why on Earth would anyone do that? For a while their jibes made me very depressed, especially when a mother of one of my friends ignored me when she visited the school, and I felt a resentful towards my mother for staying a housewife for so long, and marrying such unreliable, selfish man.

But I know better, now. For there are things under this sun that money can never buy, all of them utterly, utterly free, which I intend on enjoying to fullest over the course of my life while barely spending a penny. This lack of desire for luxuries – I can barely leave the house, after all, due to psychological issues, which obviously narrows down one’s spending – means that when I do eventually have some money to spare, I can spend it on what truly matters to me, and donate the rest to other people who might need it more. Those stupid billionaires with all their cash, with all their power to change the lives of others, who don’t give a cent of it to others, desiring to “keep the money in the family” – I can’t understand them, I really can’t. How could you have so much when others have nothing and not feel guilty, not feel a need to share your wealth? Us idealists should really try a hand at accumulating a great deal of wealth ourselves, for we’d make better of use of it.

Writing is still very difficult. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night with a black cloud of despair swirling in my chest, so unable to imagine myself succeeding at it that I feel the urge to end my life, right there and there, for a world in which I cannot write, and will never get published, is not a place I would want to stay in. But something keeps me going, even when money problems are making me stressed or slimy dreck is filling the page – and that something, I have come to realise, is not anything so shiny as confidence, or hope, or self-belief, but the pure doggedness of a man lost in a fog with his arms stretched out before him who is certain that if he just never stops walking, sooner or later, he is bound to bump into something. Of course, the fog may be in a desert, and lead him nowhere but further undulating wastelands for his efforts – but it could also be in a jungle, or, better yet, a city, and if just keeps walking, he might, after days of seemingly aimless wandering, bump into a sign, or the tip of his shoe scrape against a doorstep peeking out of the mist.

So I’ll keep walking, even if I don’t know if I’ll ever get there.

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14 thoughts on “A Mediation On True Wealth, Writing & Books – And A Housing Update!

  1. Hello, this is completely unrelated to your post, but I remembered that you mentioned in one of your posts that you adored Miyazaki’s films. I’m curious, what’s your favourite film of his?

    And good luck with your writing dreams :). I really do feel guilty, lying on my lovely bed in my cozy home, while unable to donate money. I really wish I could help you more. But you mentioned as well that words were more precious than money, so I will continue to support you with my words, and continue to read your posts diligently. It would be my utmost pleasure to see you flourish into a brilliant, accomplished writer <3.

    • Thank you, you sweet, lovely, lovely person for your encouragement. 🙂 It means a great deal to me.

      My favourite film of his is Naussica Valley of The Wind. It is simply gorgeous. What’s yours?

  2. Oh… You didn’t receive any donations? But I’ve sent mine yesterday…
    ——> ” You sent a payment of ______ to Anne ____ .
    It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account. ”
    I don’t know what happened, maybe it takes a bit for you to receive it :c

    • Oh, gosh, you did, indeed. I just checked my account and your donation is pending (Leonor: $14.16 – is that the one?). It wasn’t there the last time I logged in so I just assumed I hadn’t received any, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to. Thank you, so much. It’s really, really kind of you. I’m sorry I can’t give you anything very much in return except my words (though do let me know if you need anything that I might be able to provide, because I’d like to give back), but I’m keeping your email so that, in the future, when my book is published, I can send you a message, ask for your address and mail the novel to you. I can’t say for certain how long it will take for me to write and publish a book, and I’m not sure if you’ll like the odd fantasy I like to write – but I guarantee to you the day will come, whether it’s two years or five years or ten years or twenty. I will not forget. Hopefully you won’t change your email. Your donation not only shows kindness, it also makes me feel as though you believe in me, and my writing – and it’ll help my family with the bills around the house. Thank you, Leonor.

      *Edit: It’s odd. Because I used a “Buy Now” button, it says that “the payment will be held in your pending balance until 22 October 2015. It may be available sooner, once we know the transaction went smoothly.” I’m not too sure what that means, especially since there was no transaction in the first place, but hopefully it will turn out well. It’s just that the donation button is used for non-profit organisations only, so I had to make do with this one. If I am unable to access it (it’s a little confusing, this Paypal business), I’ll immediately refund the money back to you (and please let me know, if that ends up being in the case, that you received it back in your account). It is your kindness and generosity that makes me more happy than the money itself; my mother is able to borrow money at the moment to cover our expenses before we move to a place with lower rent.

  3. Hi Anne 🙂

    Sorry for the late reply, I couldn’t relpy earlier.
    I’m so happy to hear that it gave you confidence! I do believe in you with all my heart, and I would love to read your book when it’s published.
    🙂
    Oh, and don’t worry about giving something in return. The only
    thing I want is for you to never give up. But if you want to, it would mean the universe to me if you could share the magic with me and tell me some good book suggestions!
    As to the * part, english is not my first language (sorry for any mistakes) so i have no idea what that means, and I know absolutely nothing about paypal, but let’s wait to see what happens, and tell me if there is any problem. (maybe you need to actually “sell” something to receive the money, even if its just a leaf?) Hope this ends well.

    And I know writing a book is no easy job, but the only reason we have all this literature and art and inventions is because the people who thought them were determined enough to create them and never gave up.

    You have a story to tell, don’t give up on it while it is untold

    — Leonor

    • Oh, I figured it out. Apparently you should get an email confirming it. No need to ship any leaves. 😀 Gosh, thank you for your immense encouragement. Money can be repaid, but I’m not sure if I can ever repay your kindness and belief in me. You have renewed my hope in myself. I feel the urge to plug away harder at my writing than ever now. As for story ideas, well, do you have any particular stories you would like to tell at the moment, even if it’s just a faint image in your head, or a single character? Or a faint concept (you know, like, a castle in the sky, that sort of thing). I could help you expand on it. Ideas are the fun part. Execution is the hard and not-so-easy part. And I still want to give you my as-yet-unwritten book. I want to give everyone who has encouraged me on this writing journey a copy when I am published. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that you need money to keep a roof over your head and food in the fridge in this world, I would give away all my future books for free. People reading my words is more important than people paying for them. That’s why a lot of established authors have their content available for free on the internet. I sent you an email, just to check that yours is working, and so that, a couple of years down the line, when I need your address to mail the novel to you, I know I’ll be able to communicate with you. Thank you.

      • Hi again 🙂

        I just came here because I’m not very sure if I got how this paypal thing works… I’ve gone through paypal’s emails and waited and Followed the instructions, but haven’t found any obvious way of “confirming it”, like buttons or links… (but maybe it’s already confirmed, i don’t know how this works, sorry (maybe we should consider the leaves? 😉 )). Let me know if you received it.

        PS: Thanks for the writing suggestions, but unfortunately I’m not so good at writing
        (i know, i know, how dare I call myself an infp?) but I’m far much better at telling stories through drawings and Art (my passion and hopefully my future career). Oh and sorry if I didn’t explained myself right, I meant books recommendations for reading. Could you tell me some good books to read so I don’t have to go around borrowing my little cousin’s books to find good books?
        Thanks

      • Hello 🙂 And sorry for the late reply, I was going through a move recently. I’m not too sure how it works either, but I guess we’ll wait until the 22nd of Oct to see if anything happens. Oh, and I wrote your email down in the back of my notebook where I coalesce all of my ideas. In addition, I sent a message to your email, just to check if it is functioning. I know you said that you don’t mind if I don’t give you my future book, but I really do want to. I just think it’s a romantic idea. Can’t you just imagine it? Receiving a book, several years down the line, from a stranger, and then recalling your kindness from all those years ago? And I could tuck a Thank You note into it, and everything. Sorry if this sounds excessive; I just really like the idea of it.

        Actually, you absolutely don’t have to be a writer if you’re an INFP, any creative outlet tends to be sufficient to engage our core functions as long as you enjoy it. As for book recommendations, is there any particular genre you like reading? Say, science fiction, dark fantasy, horror, apocalyptic fiction, etc.?

  4. Hi 🙂

    I have to admit that it would be nice, to receive the book and remember, but for the looks of it we won’t have much luck with this donation 😦
    I’ve sent Paypal a mail asking bout the problem but the only response I received was a pre-written mail that didn’t quite anwered the question. But let’s wait until the 22nd. Maybe it’s just a delay.
    As to my book genre preferences, well, I like imaginative books with things I’ve never seen before, so I can be somewhere else, being somebody else. I also like dark and creepy scenarios, as long as they’re not pure horror or violence. As i mentioned before, I love reading children’s books, they remind me of what it’s like to be one. But the genre isn’t the most important for me, as I know there are good books of all kinds. Sorry if this is vague. Just keep in mind that english is not my mother tongue and it can be a bit hard to read the heavier stuff (like older writing styles and vocabulary). But from your blogs we seem to have very similar tastes.
    Oh, and I’ve already replied to your mail, a long time ago, you must have missed it. It’s okay.

    Let’s hope everything ends up well.

    • I’m just asking you this book recommendations because I’ve never read a book that resonated with me at a very deep level and i just thought maybe you knew what I needed. It’s not just a question of good stories. I don’know if it’s just my delusional idealism, but books never seem to be enough. For me this is like that feeling we have when the world and existence as it is is just not enough. Like this deep ache for a home and closeness that we know will never go away. Like that longing for something but not knowing what. I can’t find words to describe this feeling. It’s like a mixture of weltschmerz, fernweh and toska. Books and art are the only way I can feel less alone and they make me feel more alive. Sorry for my inability to express myself. I wish I knew how to put my heart into words, but I don’t so I need somebody else to do it for me :/

    • Yes, I guess I’ll just wait. And I didn’t receive your email, for some reason. In my Sent box it shows the email I sent you, but there was no reply in my Inbox. Ah well: as long as I can contact you, it’s all good. As for books, after I read your other comment, I could not help smiling. Your tastes mirror mine exactly: wildly, crazily imaginative stories, without it veering into the gory, crude, or horrific. There is one author that comes to mind, and his name is Clive Barker. His work is a little wordy, very poetic, but worth the effort. I have only read bits of his work (my local library doesn’t have his books, which makes me want to curl up and die) on the Internet, but, from what I’ve read, his work is imaginative, surreal, lovely and gives you that feeling of being transported to another world. Other writers that do this include Emily Rodda and a couple of Roald Dahl’s books, like James and the Giant Peach. In regards to Clive Barker’s books, based on the bits I’ve read, the blurbs and the reviews, it sounds like Weaveworld and Imajica are two of his best. You know, sometimes, I wish I could use money I should spend on food on books instead, even though I won’t be very happy reading if I’m hungry. And, oh, oh, oh, I must tell you this: you know that mad, crazy feeling you want to get, when you read a book, of being transported to another dimension entirely? Fully immersive fiction, wildly, crazily imaginative, are EXACTLY the kind of books I plan on writing, because these days, so many books bore me, so many books are too firmly rooted in reality, and not truly “out there”, so I decided to employ my imagination and write my own. Fingers crossed. I think it’ll be good. I’m excited. My writing still needs years of work, and improvement, but just you wait–I’ll keep you in mind as I write them, and then one day you’ll get it in the mail and it will be tremendous and lovely and we’ll both be delighted. Can you just imagine it? Oh, I can’t wait. Of course, the hard bit is putting down the words, one after the other, but your existence is extra motivation, frankly. Everyone who has encouraged me in regards to my writing is. I can’t wait for you to read it. They will be gorgeously tragic, otherworldly, and utterly transport you from this realm entirely, exactly the kind of books that seem to be missing from the shelves of the world these days. I want to burrow deeper and deeper into imagination, until I’m buried in the blood and guts of it. I want it to be so fantastical and immersive that you forget reality even existed, carried away as you are on a euphoria of creation. Thank you, once again, for your support–and for asking me all these questions, and buzzing up my motivation! I feel…like…through this blog, I have met so many people who are just like me, who think the things I do, feel the things I do, feel as lonely and strange, and full of yearning, as I do, and it’s so wonderful. Thank you.

  5. Thank you. That’s EXACTLY it. 😀 That exactly wat I need and what the world needs. Thank you. This means more to me than you can imagine. Thank you so much. For the book recommendations, for your blog, and for writing your books and trying to make the world a better place and not giving up. Strangely, your comment also gave me strenght and hope in the future, and now I too have the motivation to follow my heart, as scary as it might seem. I’m actually crying right now. Life can be weird and confusing and painfully lonely and scary, but believe it will be worth it.

    Keep Dreaming and Living and Loving ❤

    • No, thank you. For your encouragement, and for existing. I don’t feel so alone anymore, and I’m so glad that you now have renewed strength to face the world. You can do it; I can do it. Together, in our own little corners of the world, we will live and love and dream as hard as we can, until the day we die. I can’t wait for you to read it. Please don’t change your email in the next five years or so, or even more, depending on how it goes.

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