In the past couple of years I have been hearing the word creative, used as a noun to describe a person of talent and creativity.
It has gained currency since the onset of Covid-19 through the $37.5 million dollar Covid relief fund set up by Arts, Cultural and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni to help struggling artists and entertainers. Some think this is a little generous.
I, of course, disagree. Most people of talent in arts, music, and creativity in New Zealand also need to have a day job or some other income stream to just exist.
I am, in my extended family and circle of friends, surrounded by creatives, all talented, some who are making their way in their chosen fields, going it alone fulltime.
We have paint artists, craft artists, singers, song-writers, musicians, fashion designers, known writers of both fiction and non-fiction, poets and this humble scribe making a few shekels weekly writing this column to help with the old-age pension - every little bit helps.
I also live in a town that considers itself a major arts and cultural centre in the country.
Everywhere I look I see statues, paintings, murals, museums, galleries, talented artists walking the streets.
Living in our town means living with culture; it defines us.
Boutique bookshops where one can while away an hour or two lost in one's own world, then buying a wee something to support a local writer.
I do not have an artistic bone in my body but I really appreciate and admire people who do. I just cannot see the world or the beauty of life the way they do.
I like to look at their work, comment on it and wonder how did they manage to paint, build, mould, stitch or knit such fine beauty.
Give me a hammer, spanner or a paintbrush and I'm your man, do it yourself, no issues, but anything requiring fine work, an artistic bent, an eye for the unusual and I am out of my depth.
I can string a few words together at times and have a bent for writing historic non-fiction, but fiction is well above my paygrade.
I would struggle with a short story, let alone a 70,000 word novel.
But there are plenty of people who can and do. I buy their books, read them and pass them on to St John for sale to another avid reader of local talent, hoping I am helping the author.
As for poetry, that is just a forlorn hope in my world. I can manage the odd naughty schoolboy limerick and I have always been entranced by Rudyard Kipling's "If", personally a poem of some significance to me.
I even have a cousin and a school friend who write beautiful poetry, but verse remains a mystery; sonnets, iambic pentameters, stanzas, not a show.
I have given singing a bit of a go but alas I am as flat as the proverbial pancake despite a wife and a son who are excellent singers. I have learnt my range and try to stick in it but usually leave it to The Bride to carry me through.
My daughter is a paint artist and my son a drummer. They definitely got those talents from their mother.
We need artists of all genres and disciplines. They simply give our lives meaning and give us beauty to look at, touch, read, feel and listen to.
They bring happiness and light into our lives, especially important nowadays with the various challenges we are facing.
It is lovely to listen to a beautiful young singer, or to watch a performance put on by street actors. These distractions make us smile and see the world in a slightly nicer way for a while.
So the Government's assistance to our creatives is well justified in my book. Very few creative people in New Zealand make the financial reward they deserve for the hours they devote to their craft.
Very few can combine an income stream with what may have started as a simple hobby as a child but developed into a serious and dedicated passion as an adult.
I am not sure how the fund is accessed but I do hope it goes to some of the young talented people I know who are out there struggling to become known, if that is what they want or simply struggling to perfect what to them is their world.
I do hope the money is not siphoned off too much to well-established artists, galleries and museums; some is left for a young writer or glass-artist, a young lyricist or dancer, a painter or a sculptor - those people who are emerging talent but who just need that little bit of help to finish a project or simply pay the bills for a while.