Said the Caterpillar to Alice.
I’m Thea Beckman. And I’m a lady. I was born in the 80’s, but that hasn’t done anything to affect my love for Justin Bieber (because his delicate feminine beauty transcends puberty).
I’ve always had a fierce passion for writing and for science. In fact, the most fun I had during the entire course of my Masters degree (atmospheric science) was writing up my thesis, which was on thunderstorms. I then, in 2010, cashed my chips in and left for Thailand to start a new life, which abruptly ended two years later when I decided it was time to start another new life. But aside from an incredible tan, a love of two-wheeler transport and an addiction to chilli, I also came back to South Africa with a job as an SEO copywriter. Surprisingly enough, producing mind-numbing quantities of content on almost always the same topic didn’t squash my love for creative writing.
In fact, it ignited a raging conflagration within me.
It’s a Living!
The gig I have is brilliant. I can work anywhere in the world. I don’t have office hours or a nagging boss and I can basically work entirely at my own leisure, as long as I get the work done. Of course, it has its disadvantages: you have to be incredibly self-disciplined and I don’t have any benefits or paid leave. But it is, essentially, complete and unbridled freedom. I haven’t always worked for the same company. When I first arrived in Thailand, I got a job working for a freelance agent who basically outsourced writing projects he had collected from the various online job sites. Car guards in Cape Town earned more than I did, but the experience of it all was invaluable. I wrote content that was more varied than a hipster’s sock drawer; more diverse than the Queen’s hat collection; wider ranged than Mariah Carey’s singing voice. I wrote articles about anything and everything and used just about every writing style known to educated man.
Travel, airports, car rental agencies, universities, renewable energy, marketing, business strategy, eating disorders, fashion and film directing techniques were just some of the subjects I covered. I have even written articles about erectile dysfunction, which, for many reasons (not least of all my sexuality), I know absolutely nothing about. But write about flaccid one-eyed trouser snake I did! And I did it with great tact and compassion, even though I was burdened with unmentionably lascivious key phrases. Why did I do this? It was a living. And thankfully, I now write about slightly less, erm, inflammatory subjects.
“Never, ever underestimate how bored people are at work…”
My job as an SEO copywriter is really only the beginning of this story. It gave me the experience necessary to write about a handsome suite of topics; some interesting, some murderously tedious. It also gave me experience in writing in a diverse range of styles.
Then someone said to me (someone very important): “Never, ever underestimate how bored people are at work.” This pearl of wisdom resonated so powerfully within me that I immediately made nefarious plans to steal it and use it at a later date, which today, has arrived. People ARE bored at work! Not all the time, but there are often long stretches of time that people hungrily seek intellectual occupation. I often convince myself that no one really has the time or the inclination to read blogs. But nothing could be further from the truth!
In spite of my inner pessimist (bitch) I wrote my first blog anyway and sent it to someone I consider to be, intellectually, head-and-shoulders above the rest. It was received with much embellished praise and exaggerated congratulations. So now I have been duped into believing that what I have to say is relevant and entertaining and that people will find my blogs interesting.
Here we are!
It hasn’t been a long and gruelling journey getting here. I haven’t combated huge psychological obstacles to get where I am today, although it hasn’t been without its challenges. But my love of writing, specifically science writing, and the experience I have gained over the years has become a very powerful tool of communication and hopefully entertainment and education. In an effort to bridge the schism between science and society, I welcome you to my blog and to the wisdom I have endeavoured to make accessible to one and all. I welcome you to read it, laugh with it, laugh at it and learn something from it. I also encourage you to comment and get involved.
Why? Because Science (is cool).