Where do we find your book?
African Books Collective ships around the globe
And outside of RSA...
Where do we find your book?
African Books Collective ships around the globe
And outside of RSA...
- Irene Kerry; the Girl of Failed Good Intentions. -
- The day she died, she saw her death coming and she sat me down on her bed and held my hands in hers and told me. I think it messed me up a little. -
- There's nothing slow-motion about car-accidents. One moment there's noise, then a single empty space where everyone takes a breath, and then the vultures crowd in. -
- My mother's voice is gone, the stories she read from her book can't scare me any more. -
- Making good art is painful. It sucks you up. I can feel how I've dried up inside, like a prune or a raisin, withered before my time. -
- The manuscript arrived at their door the next morning; the author's sense of timing, as always, was exact. -
- Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft are written by men. -
- "I don't see why it shouldn't be a British Inquisition," said Brian. "Don't see why we should of fought the Armada and everything, just to have their smelly Inquisition." -
- He didn't say "that's weird." He wouldn't have said "That's weird" if a flock of sheep had cycled past playing violins. It wasn't the sort of thing a responsible engineer said. -
- DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death, JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH. -
- I don't see what's so triffic about creating people and then gettin' upset 'cos they act like people. -
My place of work interviewed me. We talk about time, hammock sex, writing manners and my grandfather. You can check it out HERE.
“Perhaps a molecule that is part of me may have once dwelled in an astronaut who has been to the moon."
- The tat came before the rat, though the a-tat remained in pretty much the same place, producing a distorted, yet familiar sound, but the Alfonso Pfukuto, the knocker, was an ambiguous man. -
- This book, Boethius; masterpiece written when he was in prison, was one of those favourite texts he returned to time and again, hoping with each reading to unlearn the last and discover it anew. -
- The natives gave directions using street names as if they were reading off maps, but how does one orient oneself without reference to a landmark in the environment? -
- This was not the first time he had fallen in love with music as the backdrop. He could not tell whether it was music that made him fall in love or whether it had just been there at the time. -
- They sit in the shade of Edinburgh's Shame. -
- But, if there is one thing I've learnt in the last few years, it's that everyone needs a story. That's all our lives amount to, nothing but stories that we hope will live on after we are gone. -
- But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one. Men know him not, and to know not is to care not for. -
- Some of the 'New Women' writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the 'New Woman' won't condescend in future to accept. -
- All men are mad in some way or the other, and insamuch as you deal discreetly with your madmen, so deal with God's madmen too, the rest of the world. -
- That way madness lies! -
- It is a new experience to me to find a lunatic who talk philosophy, and reason so sound. -
This is part 2 of a mini series on getting myself back to the Write Life, originally posted on Books Live. Read Part I HERE.
This second post was originally going to be light-hearted. How, after six years of public education, we’ve taken a different direction. How, when life is too busy, it might be time to stop screaming at the universe and attending pointless meetings and consider, instead, a radical change. That the results of this risk, so far, have been brilliant and play a huge part in finding the Write Life.
That was what I was going to write about.
But this morning, as I took the children to the new educational arrangement, we got to talking. The conversation began over a wildlife program we’d watched last night, which led to a discussion over why I am incredibly reluctant to watch TV. That when I do, it is programs like Myth Busters or Muppet Show reruns. I explained that I read and see a lot of things, especially on social media, and much of it is incredibly sad. That it reaches a point where I’ve had enough. Watching it on TV is too much. So they asked if I’d seen anything on the internet had upset me recently. I said yes. That in addition to a bunch of heart-breaking news stories, there is a photograph I saw while loading up twitter that I cannot un-see. I didn’t tell them what I saw, but I did tell them it had to do with the xenophobic attacks occurring across South Africa.
This led to discussing xenophobia. They asked a lot of questions, good questions, and I tried to be answer as honestly as I could in an age appropriate manner. But some of the questions are the same questions I am seeing across the internet and, while there are a lot of theories, the truth seems to be that nobody knows. I told them that, too. Because I think it is important for adults to tell children that sometimes, even the big people, don’t know the answer. Then one of my children asked if I was going to be safe. Would people come after me since, unlike my children and husband, I am not South African.
They are the first people in my daily life to question if I am safe. For reasons I cannot explain, the anger does not seem to be directed towards white women living in South Africa holding American and British passports. To a child, this makes no sense. If people are upset with foreigners and doing bad things to foreigners what difference would it make that my mom is white and has US and UK passports? Foreign is foreign and we need to go hide mommy, now. I calmed them down. But no, it doesn’t make sense. None of it makes sense. Just like Apartheid, which we’ve spoken a lot about, didn’t make sense. Hate never makes sense.
This is not the first time I’ve encountered the foreigner but not. During the various hoops I jumped in the United Kingdom to get my residency and, eventually, my citizenship (all vastly easier than trying to get any visa or residency in South Africa, by the way) people would routinely go, ‘But that is ridiculous. They shouldn’t make you do that. These rules are for those people…’ and then they’d normally stop talking, splutter, in the realisation of what they almost said.
Those people…Whoever those people are, depends on the country you live in, but every country has them. These mythical people that are causing all the problems, taking all the jobs, using up all the welfare, not participating in daily life. Those people. It becomes so ingrained that during my UK citizenship ceremony I, and the rest of those people, had to suffer through a pedantic lecture about getting involved in our new country, volunteering, taking part in local activities. Which is ridiculous. The UK, like most countries, has rules about granting citizenship. One of them is that you have to live in the UK for many years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship. During those eight years of living in the UK before being granted citizenship, I’d been working, volunteering and doing exactly what the lecture encouraged me to do. But if you’d been in the audience that day, you’d be forgiven if you’d thought we’d all walked off the boat a mere ten minutes ago.
But none of what I experienced in the UK comes close to what I have gone through and witnessed at the whims of the South African Home Affairs. I considered putting it in this post, but it turned into a 2,000 word rant and the fingers were still going. Another day, perhaps.
Instead, I’ll return to my children’s education. Originally the plan was to remove only one child from the local government primary. Then three things happened in as many weeks, two of which were illegal, all of them not good. I only found out about the first illegal action when I discovered the second. I only discovered the second because, unlike the first, the child could no longer hide the pain, hurting so much the child did not want to sit in the car. I demanded an explanation.
I was furious, as any parent would be. But what cut deepest was that the illegal actions had happened, not unseen in some dark storage closest, but on a playing field in front of fellow students, staff and parents. This was not a matter of one adult making a wrong decision. It was that nobody intervened. Not one person took the adult aside and said, ‘We don’t do this.’ People pretended not to see, looked away or decided it wasn’t their problem.
They just stood by and let it happen.
This post was originally on Books Live.
This is part 1 of a mini series on getting myself back to the Write Life.
I was bursting into tears at odd moments. I was finding myself angry over things that normally wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. Yes, 2015 got off to a rocky start, and our hearts have yet to recover. But this was something else. I watched myself writing vents on Facebook that friends would – kindly, nicely, gently – tell me to delete. And after a few deep breaths (and hastily following their advice) I would gradually see that what I was complaining about was not, actually, the problem. But what, exactly, was the problem?
A month ago I vented to a friend. When I was done, she – kind, nicely, gently – said, ‘Tiah, when’s the last time you’ve taken a break? A real break from work.’ I blinked a few times, considered the last few months. I said, ‘That day you took me for the op. That day. Well, actually, I don’t remember much about that morning. But I certainly didn’t do any work after we got to the hospital.’ My friend put her mug of coffee down. ‘Tiah, that’s not healthy. That’s not healthy for anyone.‘
It has been four years since my health plunged and altered permanently. Four years from the dark days I feared I couldn’t cope, was useless, had nothing left to offer the world. Somehow, in four years, while learning to live with two chronic conditions, I have managed to refill my life to such an extent that my work hours exceed what is considered wise even for a physically healthy individual.
The difficult part is, I don’t have a terrible life. My days are blessed with wonderful things. I have – at last – come to the realisation that being a work-at-home parent is a good thing for me and my family. It is a pleasure watching my children take part in their after-school activities. I enjoy having dogs around. I find the chickens a hoot. It is a delight to have a book published. It is a privilege to be part of Short Story Day Africa. I still giggle at the idea that I get paid to read books. I want to do reader reports, and have enjoyed the work. And even with all of this, there is still more out there that I want to do.
Everyone has exactly the same amount of time, the same twenty-four hours. – Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries
I have been known to talk about ice cream. How ice cream is delicious, but you shouldn’t eat it for every meal. Perhaps I’ve created a life with too much ice cream. Some have suggested whole parts of my life should be cut, like going on a brutal diet. But what would go? And is it really about cutting, or more a matter of portion size?
About a month ago, I began to address these questions. Things have to change, before I alienate my friends, family and the people I work with. Because it is never good to be exhausted. But perhaps a more realistic balance can be achieved without a slash and burn. This isn’t about quitting. This is about finding the Write Life.
Part II has been published. You can read it HERE.