by Lesley Knapp

    Printed out and taped to the top of my work monitor, directly where my eyes fell, were some lines from the poem Ithaca

    When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,…..

    Pray that the road is long.
    That the summer mornings are many, when,
    with such pleasure, with such joy
    you will enter ports seen for the first time;

    potato1image source: Voyage to Ithaca

    This morning however, I looked over my computer monitor and stared out my office window and thought that

    I would rather be picking potatoes in a field than sitting here a moment longer.

    My life force was seeping out of me. Slowly dripping away. Drip. Drip.

    A shadow loomed over the office like an oppressive weight, people where slumped in their chairs staring at their computer monitors like machines that are barely functional on run-down batteries.

    I dug deep for my magical persona. The one I relied upon to lighten up my colleagues and get some laughter going to counteract the gloom that was descending on us.

    I recognise this now as my witchy power, my ability to restore a sense of calm or good humour, like settling a lake rippled by an unexpected gust of a cold breeze. Placate and calm.

    Today though there was a darker force at play, a controlling energy weakening my witchy powers.

    Was my power waning or was the other side of me, the I don’ give a fuck persona, struggling to get out? Do I need bad witch role models to escort me through this transformation?

    I had lost confidence in myself, in my ability to do my job, my ability to understand WTF my job was.

    No one around me seemed to know either and so I succumbed to inertia and apathy.

    Our unit had been sidelined in an institutional restructure. We, mainly white middle-aged professional women, were struggling to find our place in the new hierarchy.

    Our once energetic and integral services were now outsourced or considered as of no consequence.

    We became like this photo I took of a wombat, looking like a ghost wombat –  Head down! Don’t look up! Someone may see us and expect something from us.


    That potato picking yearning moment was the catalyst for me to take the leap and quit.

    In a way that question is my talisman: Am I now doing what I want or is potato harvesting still a consideration?

    After leaving my job I went for my first tarot card reading with great sense of skepticism. I came out of that reading feeling I have been given the freedom to tap back into my creative side.

    I felt liberated. She told me to trust that the money will come and so far, it has in the form of freelance jobs.

    I let go of my professional persona, detached myself from my identity as a specialist in the higher education sector which is a seething morass of vulnerable egos.

    My creative sense is well and truly released and each day I am excited by the ideas I want to pursue I can’t keep up with myself!!

    I am also trying to be more aware of my manifestation and witchy abilities and see them for what they are rather that just some aberrant event.

    I also signed up for Carolyn Elliott’s THRILL course and am learning through writing how to tap into that up until now, repressed I don’t give a fuck side of me.

    I realise it doesn’t mean I have to lose the sense of me that values compassion, goodwill and kindness, and even politeness.

    But some of the veneer that has kept me compliant to social norms is being stripped away.

    I am on track to becoming a creative entrepreneur and learning from others who have broken out or the usually acceptable work-life mold.

    It is a journey and I am excited. I am creating a livelihood that will become my business.


    About the Author:

    potatobioLesley Knapp is a Freelance educational designer, illustrator, and apprentice writer. She’s currently building a website that will be the hub for her creative ventures:


    featured image source: Women gleaning



    • Show Comments (1)

    • Jessica Cross

      I am feeling ready to pick potatoes. Thanks so much for this, it is a nice way to get perspective on your work.

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