Thursday, 21 June 2012

Question time - who is the Lazy Civil Servant?

My recent attendance at the Blog Writing Masterclass has provoked much reflection about divacultura.  One of the things that I like to do in the offline world is network, introduce people and discover people's secret lives and passions.  I've been thinking about how I can share this experience with you online.  I'll be regularly posing some questions to other bloggers and interesting people in the world and introducing them to you here.  

Introducing the series is John B. Cahill who is also known as The Lazy Civil Servant.  John and I have known each other for decades, first meeting when we sang in the Queensland State and Municipal Choir (catchy name!) and meeting again as superstars in the making at the Music Theatre Summer School.  I think that's where it was.  I asked John to open this series because he's the reason divacultura exists.  He's also entertaining.  

Here he is...

1. Who is the Lazy Civil Servant?

Well that's a good question actually. I started blogging again in July last year and I needed to come up with a new name. I couldn't think of anything. Then I spotted a copy of Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servant in a second hand book store and I thought a play on that name would be fun, primarily because I am a civil servant myself or public servant as we call ourselves in Australia.  At first I tried The Clothed Civil Servant (nah), The Covered Up Civil Servant (double-nah), The Naughty Civil Servant (clearly completely wrong) and The Well Dressed Civil Servant which sounded too much like a grooming guide for men.  The Lazy Civil Servant was actually the first title that popped into my head but I thought it was too obvious and suffered from tautology. After all aren't all civil servants lazy? Why would an adjective be required? I still grapple with this from time to time, then I pour myself another wine. So yes, in answer to the question, I am the Lazy Civil Servant. I have just realised I haven't answered your question at all. How embarrassing. The following might help:

Name: John B. Cahill
Age: 37
Occupation: Lawyer in the Public Service
Anti-Occupation: Frustrated Writer. Actually cut the writer part. Professional Frustrated Person.
Pastime: Loud Homosexual
Favourite Sport: Looking Busy

2. Why blog?

I wrote a blog for most of 2008 and part way through 2009. It was called Thoroughly Modern Colin (TMC: it's no longer available on the web). I started it because I wanted to get back into writing again. I really hadn't written much in the creative sense other than very entertaining emails (well at least I thought they were) since I was at uni in my 20s.  Once I started TMC, I blogged practically every day and developed quite a following. For some reason I had a lot of fans in Belgium. Who knew I could translate so well into Flemish? I was like the Gotye of blogging but in reverse being Australian and not really popular anywhere else but Belgium. TMC started off in a similar vein to what The Lazy Civil Servant is now, although the pieces were a lot longer. I think they averaged about 3000 words a post whereas with Lazy I generally write about 800 words a post. TMC was basically full of anecdotes mainly from my childhood and early 20s. After a while though it started turning into more an online diary and this was its downfall. I was becoming my own blog version of The Jersey Shore and friends were starting to get hurt. So I killed TMC in early 2009. After being away from it for 18 months though, I returned to the art with The Lazy Civil Servant half way through last year. It's only this year though that I've started blogging consistently again. I love blogging because it encourages me to keep writing. There is an immediacy to it. I share all my posts through my Facebook profile and on my twitter feed. Generally most of the time I get positive responses and sometimes I receive constructive feedback: all of it encourages me to keep writing. If I was cat I would have to be patted and stroked continually.

3. What's your writing routine?

I write every day. I also like to do marathons before breakfast. Writing is a lot like exercise for me, I rarely want to do it but when I do it, I feel a lot better for it. My god how many ‘its’ were in that sentence?

4. What's your favourite word?

'Actually.' It’s like a charcoal lightweight knit, it goes with everything.

5. If you could script your dying words, what would they be?

Where’s my phone?

6. What gets your hanky in a twist?

Passwords. So many passwords. Read my post on it :

7. What's your writing ambition?

I want to write a novel. Yes I know…how groundbreaking. I probably should try and read one first.

8. What other blogs do you read? 

divacultura of course. I used to read a lot of them years ago but not so much now. I was a big follower of Clare Bidwell-Smith’s Life in LA then Life in Chicago and now I think she’s back in LA. I was hoping she would do a Life Back In LA but she’s just these days. And she’s just released a book called The Rules of Inheritance which is fantastic (well I don’t know …I haven’t read it but Oprah loves it)

9. Finish this sentence: "If I wasn't blogging I'd be....looking at myself in the mirror. 

And just to prove that we have known each other for we are in 1995.


  1. Wow! Didn't realise you guys knew each other! I've been following John's blog. It's a great read.

    John - please write the book. I think it would be fantastic. And if you're stuck for time or motivation, consider taking part in National Novel Writing Month (it's American but this year the Sydney Writer's Centre held events too for it - or The Rabbit Hole at the Emerging Writer's Festival in Melbourne.

  2. Rose, now I'm curious about how you found John. Do YOU two know each other? I feel like I'm in an episode of 6 degrees of separation. It really is true!

    Great suggestion for the Lazy Civil Servant.