Art by Oswaldo Guayasamin, who was an Ecuadorian painter

This is a hard discussion to have. A lot of people who don’t agree with me will first point out that a friend shouldn’t be paid for showing up and giving hugs when needed, or I shouldn’t be paid for messing around with a guitar. And of course, I would agree.

So when we’re talking about what sort of creativity and care work should be paid, the starting point has to be a better definition of work. With a few exceptions, we’ve all grown up within capitalism, so we understand work as something that is paid. …

Foto: Tamara Pearson

No puedo mencionar su nombre porque es una niña. Tenía doce años en ese momento, era demasiado joven para trabajar legalmente, pero no demasiado joven para ser obligada a ser madre. Era mi alumna, y recuerdo que, hace unos años, jugaba al puente con ella. Se reía con deleite infinito mientras yo sostenía sus pies y otra maestra tomaba sus manos y la hacíamos girar.

Después de que la violaron — un hombre la atacó a plena luz del día, mientras caminaba por la calle de su barrio — , Vannesa Rosales-Gautier, una colega, maestra y defensora de los derechos…

Photo: Tamara Pearson

We typically associate creativity with art, writing, and music. And while that is spot on, creativity is also a life skill. In essence, it is the ability to think beyond the obvious, outside the box, and to use one’s imagination to create new, good, ideas and things. So, practising creativity through the expressive arts can in fact develop our skills to problem solve in our everyday life and help with our personal growth, and vice versa.

Here are just some of the ways we benefit from a creative mind in our lives and in social struggle:

1) Appreciating people: A…

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When I was living in Venezuela, I struggled to write creatively about it. Instead, my first novel was set in my home country of Australia. The novel I’m working on now is set in nearby Mexico City rather than Puebla, where I live. It’s a great set up, because I visit Mexico City enough to know it intimately, but writing from Puebla gives me distance.

Psychological distance includes anything that we aren’t experiencing now. So, we can get distance by being, or imagining ourselves to be far away from the subject in time, physical distance, or we can look at…

Jorge Madrid. Photo: Nadia Orellanac

Jorge Madrid is a Honduran activist whose opposition to current right-wing president Juan Orlando Hernández saw him receiving death threats and having to flee the country. He was also a student leader when then President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a coup in 2009.

He says the stealing of the elections in 2017 and direct links between the current Honduran government and narcos has made life in the country even more difficult.

Now, he’s staying in a migrant refuge in Mexico City. “For me, writing is a ritual, a dialogue with myself. It’s introspective and has helped me become aware…

Sculpture by Malena Valcarcel. Image source.

When I can settle down into a book, I feel like someone who has been running frantically for days and is finally home. Reading is one of the most fulfilling things I do, and it is easy — no transport or planning necessary. Yet after a long, exhausting day of work, I often find that I am unable to do much more than watch Youtube videos.

Globally, people spend an average of 6.5 hours per week reading, though only about half of that is for leisure, and that compares to 16.6 hours watching television, in addition to 8.9 hours on…

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The existence of objective or neutral journalists is a myth, and those who claim to revere such journalism are only attempting to justify an absence of context and depth in coverage and are elevating pro-status-quo journalism.

Male sports journalists tend to know the sport they cover well and feel passionate about it, but when it comes to covering movements and other countries and cultures, the journalist who is not an activist or who flies into the country for two weeks with no understanding of the local dynamics, is preferred.

That is, there’s an idea that the less a journalist knows…

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Sometimes you have to click through to the forth of fifth page of Google results to get past the content-farmed sites and unhelpful Quora pages, and it’s starting to get really annoying. What’s particularly concerning is that the average web user won’t go past the first five search results — meaning that corporate sponsored content is getting more of an ear than quality research and writing, and that people are often making decisions based on low-quality and unreliable information.

Content marketing — corporate advertising disguised as articles, blog posts, company “news”, videos, and more — is being created on an…

Photo credit: National Geographic

Sky — The planet’s blanket

Borders — Humanity’s wounds

Loneliness — An unacknowledged life

Hopelessness — A predetermined, unjust future

Ageing — Ongoing individual revolution

Nightmares — The brain’s theatre

Chameleon — Unrecognised, tiny magic show

Tamara Pearson is the author of literary novel The Butterfly Prison, children’s book The Beauty Rules of Flowertown, and blogs at Resistance Words. Follower her on Twitter @pajaritaroja

How many mind-blowing, thought-provoking and beautiful books or films can you think of that were created while trying to please others? Doesn’t the most impactful, memorable writing boldly challenge the status quo, play with aesthetics, and startle us instead?

Here are some reasons why writers should steer clear of pleasing others:

1) When a writer is primarily guided by what will sell well or by what will please the most people, they limit themselves and abandon good and interesting ideas that may not be popular, in a form of self-censorship.

2) Creativity involves going beyond the obvious, beyond the cliches…

Tamara Pearson

Author of The Butterfly Prison and The Beauty Rules of Flowertown. Journalist and activist.

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