Jeremy Maggs on writing 'My Final Answer'

02 May 2021 - 00:00 By Jeremy Maggs

I wish there was a grand story about how I came to write My Final Answer, but it all just hinged on a small preposition - "no".

For most of my media career I have covered the advertising and brand community and I thought there might be a book about a sector that few people know about but engage with its output every minute of the day. I would have explored the ephemerality of creative thought and written jealously about some of the great minds and how their ideas are formed. "No," said my good friends at Pan Macmillan, but countered with: "What about including some of that in a bigger tapestry about your long career in the media?" Given that I and me are one of my own favourite topics of conversation, who would have refused an invitation like that? I'm lucky I have always found writing and the challenge of a blinking cursor on a white screen something to celebrate rather than be afraid of, and I was also lucky to be more homebound during last year's many weeks of severe lockdown, so I had time.

I have a custom-built writing room in my back garden and along with the company of Jameson, a foul-smelling, cantankerous basset hound - who sadly did not live to see the finished product - escaping the starting blocks was easy.

I was surprised at how easy it was to recall the trivial minutiae of my life. The difficulty was pulling myself back from the bizarre memory tributaries where I often found myself marooned. I promised myself I would be honest about the people I wrote about. Some will love the book and others might be a little put out. My frank answer to them is that is the role you played in my lived experience. I can't change how I feel and see no need to apologise.

I write about how fortunate I have been in my chosen career regarding the access I have had to influential people and the daily privilege of having a front-row seat in SA's never-ending political, social and economic telenovela.

For the moment I have left the television business, but I have learnt a lot in my time in front of the camera and behind a radio microphone. So the book is also intended to be a small help to people who might want to consider a media career or, if they are in it right now, a useful primer.

My Final Answer by Jeremy Maggs is published my Pan Macmillan, R310