Where is Mark Whelan?


Or, Lessons in Self-confidence.

I’m here, dear readers.

I have missed my posting regimen. But it’s good to be back. Going forward, I hope to keep you updated, if not daily, then at least once or twice a week. It has become a busy time for me. Depending on your point of view, this may not be ideal, or perhaps its all quite positive.

Mr Wolf is not knocking on my door. Yet. But I sometimes smell his hot breath close by. While I remain irritated by over-bearing outdoor noises, such as hooting auto mobiles and blaring alarms, raucous revellers celebrating who knows what and the howling south east wind, I am not always alert. Fingers, my cat, is. She has that uncanny ability to hear and smell anything from a distance. So, when her head shoots up, then I know something may be amiss.  Thankfully, this is seldom.

Fingers is not the cat’s real name, I can’t remember it. It’s a sweet, exotic name, that much I know. But I call her Fingers because of her eccentric habit of clawing on my settee and chairs instead of applying her feline habits to the trees outside. But, truth be told, she is a small cat and is often accosted by awful-looking alley cats after tail. Some of them have homes, but it seems that neither they nor their custodians care. Anyway, we care. And, believe it or not, we care about you too. It’s also touching to know that some of you care about us too.

I am at my wit’s end trying to secure work that really matters. And work that pays our bills, particularly madam’s toiletries and her particular brand of biscuits. As late as last year, I sourced a manual aptly titled The Perfect CV. True to its word, it defies all conventions and explains in detail how you go about targeting, pursuing and securing your dream job. Or more accurately, your chosen career, Perhaps even your calling. In my case, I find that what I have chosen to do for a living does fit well with other worth-while causes. One of my first freelance assignments for clients in the good old U S of A was pleasurably completed with a flourish.

Annex - Bergman, Ingrid (Notorious)_03

But, there was irony in this job. The client is a community activist who, in this case, wanted to remind unscrupulous landlords of their duties towards their good tenants. I am a model tenant. My little home needs work. Lots of it. A story for another day. Turns out that after days and weeks of wondering why no-one calls me in response to my quests for work, I was on the right track. The other day I walked into a book store close by and walked directly to the store manager. I had often wondered subconsciously why she had watched me so intently before.

Now I know why. She’s a good-looking woman, mind you. Reminding me of Ingrid Bergman, she has attractive Germanic features not unlike those of many women indigenous to Cape Town. I asked her whether her boss had received my letter and resume in good working order.

“Yes. He did. He sent it out to all of our branches. And he sent me your résumé too.”

“And, so what did you think. Was it of any value? And perhaps you can tell me why I had not heard from your boss?”

I was polite and well-mannered as always. All she could do was roll her eyes as if to say, “You know.” Anyway, there are no vacancies at this time. But, yes, my résumé was quite good actually. The store manager was delighted to learn that I am an avid and knowledgeable reader. She did not elaborate any further than that, but did express her frustration in dealing with delightful staff members who neither read, nor have the compunction to do so, nor have any basic knowledge of her store and its prized contents. And it seems that this store manager has to do just about everything herself.

All I did was offer to help out. Anyway, I have family members in the advertising business. I am quite familiar with their impetuous clients, having had to service, let us just say for now “crappy clients” for years on end myself. Speaking directly to ad men and women worth their salt, I empathise with them, but with reservations. But imagine how proud I felt when I completed my first copywriting assignment and was awarded a fairly lucrative contract, given the circumstances.

Time flies. I wanted to tell you about a few other more significant events happening in my (not yet) rewarding life as a writer and editor. Can it wait until another day? I’ll try to tell you more then.


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