Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Huffington Post Featured my Fiction!

I'm delighted (thrilled/over-the-moon/excited/all of the above) that THE HUFFINGTON POST has published a short story of mine called THE WEIGHT OF A FEATHER. 

You can read it free on the HuffPost by clicking on this link

Wikipedia  claims that the HuffPost is "is ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer

Whether it is or isn't, I'm still enjoying the thrill of seeing my work published by an international and well-reputed organisation such as The HuffPost.
My paternal Ouma (grandmother) feeding chickens on the farm
ca 1940s

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Tattoo Tuesday 2

After the last three gruelling years of gargantuan writing, health and personal pressure, 2013 has so far been characterised by a great big zero. 

I've done nothing new, niksde nada, zilch, niente and nichts since the year began. 

And I've surprised myself with how chilled I've been about going with the flow and just enjoying the time to live each day as it happens. 

As the old Sanskrit proverb goes :

"Look well to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. 
In it lies all the realities and verities of existence:
 the bliss of growth, the glory of action, splendour of beauty. 
For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow only a vision. 
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness 
and every tomorrow a vision of hope. 
Look well, therefore, to this day, for it and it alone is life!

In fact, I've been enjoying doing nothing so much I got worried and, when my 79 year old Mom decided to get her tattoo (read more here) I was inspired to give myself some permanent writing motivation ... and I got tattooed !! 

The photos of my tattoos didn't come out well but, on my right wrist, in  white ink:  
Find your passion 

This tattoo (which is MUCH nicer than it shows in the photo!) comes from my grandfather My grandfather had a passion for riding horses. His dream was to be a jockey, but his la-de-da family said “We don’t ride horses in races, we only breed ‘em. You will be a doctor/politician like the rest of the family!” Well, my poor grandfather became the black sheep of the family; he never did find his passion and, sadly, ended up with a serious alcohol addiction which plagued him his whole life. He said to me:

Find your passion
Do not hesitate
Do not judge
Deliver the goods, for heaven’s sake! 

I think it’s about time I listened to my ancestors and “deliver the goods, for heaven’s sake!”  As I write by hand with my right hand, I thought that was a good tattoo to have on that arm.

On my left wrist, also in white ink (and much more attractive than the photo shows it) the tattoo is: 

Move Mountains

These past few years, with so many losses, joys and unexpected endings, the question has come up for me over and over again: what is my real destiny?  What is the meaning of my life? Am I here to keep others happy, or to move mountains? 

Becoming a successful writer in a world where readers are becoming scarcer then hen's teeth and everyone is writing and publishing their own Great Novel, to keep on writing and publishing my work requires the kind of faith talked about in Matthew 17:20

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 

In other words : in writing, nothing is impossible and having faith (in my writing and in myself as writer) will remove obstacles, even those the size of mountains!

As I hunker down to start work on my next novel, nothing like a permanent reminder tattooed onto my wrists to remind me that to live this one, ordinary life well, to live the life I'm meant to live, I must write from my deepest passion. And I must hold onto the faith that one day, perhaps only in a future that I will never see, my writing will move mountains.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Tattoo Tuesday 1

As I write this my 79-year old Mom, widowed last year after 59 years with my Dad (57 of them married), is flying off to England to spend three months with my sister. They'll be off to New York, Italy and France as well, while I must use the time to finally start that new novel which has been buzzing about in my head.

My Mom, the jet-setter, also decided to get a tattoo in remembrance of my Dad. 

After taking her on a long and varied search through tattoo parlours in the strangest of places, she finally met a tattoo artist who understood what she wanted, and why she wanted it.

The oldest client the delightful tattoo artist Ting of SA Tattoos in The Zone has ever had, Mom and Ting got on like two peas in a pod. I didn't think I was ever going to get Mom to leave the shop. Everyone in the shop wanted to chat to her, including a young man who was having a beautiful dragon tattoo drawn over his chest in honour of his own Mom, who had been on crutches her whole life and still managed to bring him up.  

Mom's tattoo is of a Dove holding a laurel branch with 9 leaves. The Dove (bird of peace) symbolises my Dad, always the peacemaker of the family. The laurel branch symbolises victory, in this case, my Dad's victory over death, and each of the 9 leaves on the branch represent we who are left behind: my Mom, my sister and her family, Beric and I. 

My Mom drew the line at including a laurel leaf for each of my cats over the years! Grandkits, she said, didn't make the cut. Despite this disappointment, I was so inspired I decided to get my own tattoos.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Umbrella in the Snow

Some good news to end a rather dreary week, and to perk up a year that has so far been characterised only by no serious writing and a social media/personal burn-out! 

My short story UMBRELLA IN THE SNOW has been published by ITCH MAGAZINE.

Umbrella in the Snow

Still perfectly elegant after all these years, she never leaves home without it. 

"It’ll protect you," her daddy said, "when I can’t."

"I'll treasure it forever, Daddy." 

The earnest echo of her six-year-old self curves a smile ... read the rest of the story here

I'd also recommend that you read the other works in this on-line periodical recently adopted by the University of Witwatersrand School of Literature, Language and Media. 

My favourite story from this e-11 issue called MANIFESTOS is GREY HIGHWAY by Rudi Benade

Be sure to pop on over and enjoy a feast of many other articles, stories, poetry and artwork that are sure to speak to everyone.