Monday 23 July 2012

A Time for Change

Ever had the feeling of standing on the edge of a precipice? The precipice I'm standing on is called "change."

I'm not that fond of change - actually, I have to be dragged out of my comfort zone kicking and screaming.

Even writing this blogpost differently (first time on my iPad, I'm away from home, it's an unplanned, off-the-cuff post) is making me nervous!

Change, it seems, has taken up permanent residence in the backyard of my life this last year: starting with my dear father-in-law's death, my beloved Dad's strokes and final death to my adorable feline HRH Theodorable's death.

Not all the change has been sad: my niece got married, so I have a lovely new nephew, my second book A LAMP AT MIDDAY was published and I gave up sugar, sweets & cakes for a year to honor my Dad (and I've already lost nearly 20kgs!)

With all that, I thought Change had finished with me. Not so! My lovely mother-in-law is seriously ill and, instead of lolling about in the bush & blessed wilderness of the Kruger Park, we're here in Cape Town spending vitally important time with her.

All this has made me think deep & profound thoughts: why am I afraid of change? Change often sweeps out the old ways and habits, and makes way for the new - a spring clean of the soul. Spring cleans are good, aren't they? They're a lot of work and sometimes we can't see for the dust that's raised (unless you're a better housewife than I am!!)By the time one gets to the last room in the house, one is exhausted and wishing it were all over...but in the end everything is left clean and sparkly, with a great sense of achievement.

Despite my emotional exhaustion at the moment, and despite my anxiety about what the near future holds for my dear mom-in-law (and, by the commonality of their recent widowhood, my own Mom who is still grieving the loss of her soul mate after nearly 60 years together), there is an underlying sense of anticipation.

What will come into my life to fill up all these new shiny spaces in my life? How will I grow and evolve through them? Will I rise to the new challenges that all this change will bring with it?

There is a time for everything...and now is the time for change.

What changes are you experiencing in your life?

Monday 2 July 2012

Baking a Book in Botswana

Ever wanted to know what it takes to bake, er, write a book? Award winning Botswana author LAURI KUBUITSILE gives us her recipe:

Award-winning author Lauri Kubuitsile
My name is Lauri Kubuitsile. I’m a writer living in Botswana. Botswana is a lovely place, as long as you’re not a writer. If you’re a writer it may very well be one of the most hostile places on earth. We have no trade publishers, and you can count our proper bookshops on one hand, and that handful are full of international titles leaving only dark, dusty corners for books by writers from Botswana, corners never visited by customers.  In this harsh environment, one might wonder how someone might become a writer. To illustrate, here is my recipe ...
Recipe: How to be a Writer in Botswana
1 x laptop with a battery that lasts 48- 378 hours (power cuts)
200 kg determination. The unflinching kind
1 x map with no roads or signs
At least 2 cups madness, this will depend on taste, likely to need more
500 gm cotton wool
1500 L bravery
5000 L of whiskey, more likely to be required

1. Add one cup of madness. Wait for it to settle. Begin when you are sure it has taken root. Use laptop for writing. If needed because of ample amounts of naysayers in your immediate environment, block ears with 100 gm of cotton wool. Add 200 L bravery and 50 kg of determination. Add more of each if needed. In some cases, whiskey may be required at this stage. You’ll know if you need it.
2. When finished with manuscript, add another 20 kg of determination. Use 200 gm of the cotton wool to re-plug ears. It is very important that you hear no “sense” at this stage. Send manuscript to publishers. Swallow 200 L bravery. Go slow with the madness, this is a tricky time.
3. Wait.
4. Wait some more. Add 200 L bravery and 300 kg determination. Whip to a froth. Keep whipping every time froth goes down. Froth is very important at this stage.
5. Upon receiving acceptance, remove all cotton from ears. Add a ½ cup of madness. Clear room of furniture. Dance. Nothing else is required.
6. The next section requires a lot of determination, prepare in advance. Assess the editing process, depending on the levels of editor manhandling, adjust the amount of determination from between 200 to 500 gm. Don’t go over 500 gm though, can lead to loss of publishing deal. Bravery will be required as well, at least 300 ml. A full cup of madness should be added just at the end. Too soon can ruin the process. Just at the end. Be careful there.
7. Manuscript is now a book. Nothing required. If needed, add whiskey. This depends entirely on the number of newly found editing mistakes and just general bits of shit writing now recorded for posterity – forever.
8. Wait.
9. When royalty statement arrives, swallow the rest of the bravery BEFORE opening.  
10. Hide the rest of the madness where you can’t find it (VERY IMPORTANT!!). Sit down. Open royalty statement. Drink the rest of the whiskey. Cry if you must.
11. Wait.
12. Wait some more, at least until you’ve forgotten a lot of what has happened previously.
13. Add 200 gm of cotton wool to ears. Add the rest of the determination. Find more bravery, add it. Throw in ALL of the madness.
14. Begin next manuscript.
15. Repeat above steps.
Lauri , thanks for sharing that recipe with us. You had me at the 5000l of whiskey!  If you want to try out more of Lauri's recipes for baking the perfect book, you'll find Lauri on her social media sites:
Lauri's blog: Thoughts fromBotswana 
Lauri's Twitter: @LauriKubu  
Continuing the fun of Lauri's recipe, I'm giving away 2 free copies of Lauri's eBooks to 2 lucky readers. So, if you want to be in the draw to win one of these great books to read, please tweet or facebook this recipe. Leave a FB link in the comments or tweet using @judy_croome @LauriKubu so that I can pick up your tweet/FB and know to enter you in the draw. You have plenty of time to enter - the draw closes on July 31, 2012 THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED - see comments for winner.

Lauri's is a prolific writer in multiple genres and many of her books are available on Kindle: 

If you liked Alexander McCall Smith's detective series, you'll love Lauri's  Detective KatGomolemo series:
If you want to read a compelling anthology of short stories which, as I say in my 5* review on Amazon, "transcend the bounds of this harsh, dramatic continent we live in and touch the world's collective imagination through the deep humanity of the characters" buy Lauri's anthology "In The Spirit of McPhineas Lata and Other Stories"
Lauri, wishing you the best of luck with Detective Kate Gomolemo and your future writing projects! Thanks for being with us today.