female writing

It’s My Job – Flash Fiction

Job title. My pen hovers over the form as I wrestle with what to put down. 

I’d like to say ‘Writer’. Being a writer is my dream job and I do write … when I can. 

I take a deep breath ignoring the searing pain in my jaw and scrawl ‘Writer’. Then my inner voice takes grip. 

Fraud! You’re no writer. 

I squeeze in the word ‘Aspiring’ before ‘Writer’. 

My inner voice chortles. As a job! You’ve missed the boat on that one. 

I did have a job once – before children. I was a Logistics Manager. It wasn’t writing but I was bloody good at it. I’d managed twenty employees and multi-million dollar accounts. I’d moved goods from factory to port to store, from country to country, successfully negotiating everything from customs and union strikes to bushfires and floods. 

I cross out ‘Aspiring Writer’ and squish ‘Logistics Manager’ above the scribble. 

Who are you kidding? You can’t even manage three tiny people, let alone yourself. 

I wince as pain shoots up the side of my face where the soccer ball hit me and dislodged a crown. My seven-year-old daughter had thrown the ball at her twin brother’s head – I’d only just managed to block it. I’d heard them arguing from inside but I’d been caught up making school lunches and chasing my three-year-old around the house after he’d stepped in dog poo. He’d cut laps in fits of laughter like we were playing some sort of game. 

I’ve been in agony for days but my husband is interstate and Master Three didn’t have daycare until today. Clearly I was failing at logistics as well as motherhood.  

I request a new form and a heaviness fills my chest as I write, ‘Stay at Home Mum’. 

‘Are you all right, dear?’ an older woman pipes up beside me.

‘I’m fine, I just made a mistake on the form.’

‘Did you, dear?’ The woman tilts her head. ‘I saw you put ‘Writer’ as your job title but you crossed it out.’

Tell her to mind her own business.

‘Do you write?’

‘When I can.’ My clipped tones don’t invite further conversation.

‘Have you done any training?’

‘Well, I’ve done creative writing courses – quite a few of them. And I’ve written articles for a parenting magazine.’ 

‘Sounds to me like you’re a writer.’

‘No, it’s not like I’m making a living from it. I didn’t get paid for the articles.’

The woman smiles. ‘So you get paid to be a Stay at Home Mum then?’

‘Of course not.’

‘You know I might be getting senile in my old age,’ the woman laughs, ‘but it sounds to me like you’re a writer.’

‘Just letting you know,’ the receptionist calls out, ‘the dentist is running thirty minutes late.’   

Any other time this would send me into a spin but today I see the opportunity.

‘No problem.’ I reach for a notebook in my handbag. ‘I’ll do some writing. It is, after all, my job.’

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Kylie Fennell
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