East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Spare change and writing classes

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Talking about my generation, like Roger Daltrey used to do, we never really got used to the copper spare change that came when we transitioned to the Euro system. It’s psychological, and cultural – the 1, 2 and 5 eurocent coins feel like ballast, feel like a waste of time counting.
Back in the days, soon after the advent of Euro, older people used to refuse to take the change, when shopping… “ah, seven cents, keep them!” and anyone paying a 1 euro candy bar with 20 five cent coins was looked at by everyone in the shop like he was some kind of beggar with a sweet tooth.

So what happens now is, when you take an old jacket out of the closet and brush it up, you find a selection of ones and twos and fives. Ditto when cleaning drawers, or when you happen to look in old china vases and other odd containers.

With my brother, we started dropping these “floatsam coins” into a bowl, where we drop all the one, two and five cent coins we get when we go shopping. And the bowl is slowly filling up, and we usually laugh saying we’ll have one day to count them and bring them to the bank and change them, and it will take one afternoon. It’s a big bowl.

But they are still money, and today I found a use for them.

A friend asked me my opinion about a writing course that’s been offered online, and that costs “a three zeros figure”.
And my obvious reaction was – why waste a thousand bucks on an online course by a nobody when for one tenth of that figure you can get Neil Gaiman teach you storytelling?

There’s this thing called Masterclass, that provides online education by very popular and respected professionals, one hundred bucks per course, two hundred a year and you can access all the catalog.

And I said to myself… wouldn’t it be good?
In any profession – and like it or not, right now writing IS my profession – one has to keep up to date, and keep learning from the best.
But, in fact, what course should I select?

  • Storytelling with Neil Gaiman?
  • Short story writing with Joyce Carol Oates?
  • Creativity and film-making with David Lynch?
  • Creative writing with Margaret Atwood?

I am still trying to decide, and I’m open to pinions, but I know I will pay for the course with the contents of the “floatsam coins” bowl – if it takes one year (more time to decide, right?). Now the small change in my pockets finally have a purpose.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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