Join me this Sunday, 1 March, at 9am (RSA time) for another Sunday Morning Pajama Flash festival at GBAS*. This week I will be chatting to Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, author of the highly acclaimed, Folio Prize nominated novel, Dust.
*If anyone would like to join GBAS - Facebook's Good Book Appreciation Society, please inbox me via Facebook and I will send you an invite.
Ann Patchett, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
- Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper...I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can't write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself. -
As somebody who, from time to time, runs writing workshops for children, I have often stated that children can have a darker side to their work. But most believe little girls only write about glitter. And yes, there is glitter. And sometimes there is a baby pig running for its life before its mother eats it.
All of which is why I think Gabie, age 9, deserves the attention she is getting for her poem. Warning: Red as Blood contains NO glitter. Click if you dare.
- The township is like a loud woman who follows you everywhere, staggering with a Castle Lager in hand, she will not let you alone. -
- From my pocket I retrieve the Eversharp pen I always carry, the pen my friends say holds my dreams. I turn the receipt over and begin to scribble. I should have told you at the beginning: words flow from me like shit running from buttocks... -
- Is that the beast you can do for romance? That you love me because I am damaged? How about that you find me beautiful or smart or anything? Even that you find my breasts enticing. Anything. But damaged, what the hell do you mean? -
- As I stare at Professor Mansfield's book, as I stare at my reflection and come face-to-face with my own consciousness of being, it becomes clear to me that I have become utterly senseless. -
- You do not count the hours when you are standing in a queue that outruns your vision. You shuffle along mechanically, stare into oblivion. Look up at the night sky and search the stars for patters. A rose, complete with a stem. The wing of a bird. -
- Pigeons, people, they are all the same. At the end of the day they are just rats. They'll take you out for a few crumbs of bread. -
- I start to feed off the light and begin to slowly forget my hunger. Grown-ups, this is how they teach me to be strong. I take in their light and destroy them with fire. -
- They are beautiful seagulls. They have white feathers that they look after and you never see a seagull that looks battered with dirty wings like some pigeons. Seagulls have pride, they always wash at sea with cold water. Like me. -
- I look at the tree's branches. They are reaching out to the sky, to the sun. Feed me, they plead. Trees are beautiful. They are dancers. They are graceful. And they have quiet spirits. If you sit quietly long enough, you can actually hear a leaf falling. That's how trees speak. They drop things. They lose things all the time, so that others may find them. They know how to give, trees. -
i don’t want to live to document my moments. i don’t want to see a sunset and reach for my iPhone. i don’t want to live my life and love my loves inside out. i fear, sometimes, that i do. i fear for all of us. and in these moments, i find non-action is the only antidote. or something like that.
- Whether consciously or not, something like this marks you for life, and it's impossible to communicate the importance of the experience to anyone else. Its private, intimate meaning stays with you nevertheless, and surfaces at the least expected moments. It suddenly surprises him to think that the soft touch of that girl's fingertip - her name momentarily escapes him - might have been the most erotic sensation of his life. -
- She looked at the words on the page which dissolved into individual letters, like an army of black ants crawling over the illuminated surface. With her pencil she drew a square around the text as if to confine them on the page. It was not enough. -
- Don't you think it would be wonderful to live surrounded by water, to know exactly where the borders are, where your world begins and ends, and who exactly you share it with[.] -
- Don't we all carry scars which remain invisible to others? -
Others' woes can be used as reproaches and sometimes are: how dare you think about your own private suffering when wars are raging and children are being bombed? There is always someone whose suffering is greater than yours. The reproaches are often framed as though there is an economy of suffering, and of compassion, and you should measure yourself, price yourself, with the same sense of scarcity and finite resources that govern monetary economies, but there is no measure of either.