December 30, 2021

Remember the First Time

Don't sell your soul - Jacques de Villiers inspirational speaker

A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise for exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.

The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My first time came in 1996 when the now defunct Living Magazine commissioned me to write 1000 words called Battered Women – South Africa’s shame. This was an age when text was still written on real paper.

I can’t believe I still have it around. I can’t believe that it was this mediocre piece of work that fired my addiction to ego and coin … the one where I sold my soul out. I think I kept it as a reminder how one can get it so wrong.

Here I am 25 years later still trying to write something that matters. Do I have the courage, the grit and the depth to write something that matters? I fucking hope so, otherwise I’m going to go quite mad.

Don’t sell out. Do work that matters.

I love you,


One Comment on “Remember the First Time

Rob Jackson
January 9, 2022 at 10:13 am

perhaps the purpose of writing is in question. I am not sure that I would write for coin but probably a little for ego. my prime purpose would be to share what I have learnt in my 75 years for the benefit of others.


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