The Bright Spark In My Day

Lisbon has been a big old moody sook ever since I got back a few weeks ago. Grey drizzly skies, 90% humidity and a persistent sense of malaise have made for some very slow-moving work days.

But today’s work was illuminated by a big bright spark, and that bright spark was Athena Dixon.

Athena was our guest on the Business of Writing podcast today, and when we recorded our interview a few weeks ago, she totally blew me away.

She is the embodiment of what we’ve been talking about here — using writing to really know yourself, express yourself and have a meaningful impact in the world.

What really stood out to me was just how intentional Athena is about everything she chooses to do with her work.

When she finished writing her most recent collection of essays, she vetted publishers for whether they were the right fit for her — instead of waiting for them to vet her as the right fit for them.

When she wanted see more diverse representation in literary journals, she started one of her own.

When she got fed up with all the myths surrounding the writing life, she started calling them out.

Athena is a highly accomplished writer — there’s no doubting that. But her writing has also led to self-awareness, to the rebelliousness I wrote about yesterday, and to action.

And that’s the whole point.

Writing at its best empowers us to understand what we truly value, and then to recognise what we can do about it.

It’s not a long interview — 25 minutes — but it made my day listening back to it, and reminded me why we do all this work. It’s here if you’d like to check it out.