Thoughts, topics of interest, points of view, stories and poetry. Some posts also feature my own photographs - here, as well as on the 'valleyguardians' blog. While I don't mind my material being used, I would ask the courtesy of acknowledgement by name or link. A thank you would then follow.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Long time...

...it's been almost three months of trundling through work (the actual paying kind) and with electricity in short supply, online time has been limited, to the exclusion of anything even remotely resembling leisure.

...and the words keep tumbling, running me ragged with their persistent call to be penned or at least articulated in some form, way or manner.

...while my mind does the usual sorting and filing, referencing and storing...to hopefully be able to later extract and apply as, where and when needed.

So much to say and never enough time...so much to do it's almost a crime to not pursue each and every item...and they're all so worthwhile.

The point though, is that if you know how to say it, know how to write it down, sooner or later you have to succumb and just do it!

...a bit like now...it may just be waffle, but it's happening at my leisure.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Letter to reader



...i've known this all along,
you see,
at the start of my writing
I was mostly
who you now are
- a reader.

But the more I write,
the more I have to write
to write it right...

because I
make my writings
public.


What I publish
for all to see
and think about
maybe mention to someone
or use a phrase or a sentence
to build a scene
create a scenario...

...my words do not belong to me
once I have written them down
and allowed them to be read
they belong to you
the reader.


when my words
make pictures in your head
or touch a chord
tug at a memory
make you think

or when they don't

the only way I will know this
is when you tell me.
So it is time...
...to respond
in writing.

It is important to me
to know what your thoughts are
as important as it is
for you to practice your writing

This way we can both
practice this art
of writing
it right.

I await your response.

Helen
the Author

#talk, #tome, #intext

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ode to living

Ode: a lyric poem (?!)


Ok. So, when I say I'm writing an ode to living, someone must sing it. Neat. I don't know much about commercial music but, through years of exposure my perception of what music is, is nicely balanced by a personal preference for either 'white noise' or the sounds of nature.


I therefore grant permission to anyone who finds anything they wish to use, to do so. Change it to suit and belong to its use. Once taken, it's yours, so be responsible with the use of the words you've chosen to represent yourself with to your audience.


Having just recently started my first attempt to pen an ode to living, I am actively listening because it's the bones I am developing, from which the skeleton is evolving and then the big write will happen when I'll put the meat on 'em bones. (Apologies to all non-meat eaters for the analogy, but it works - as does the photo below of the goat in the pothole...checking things out.)




Right now though, in my listening, I am hearing so much that does not add value to our living. The aggression, at times, pulses around me, feeding in and on itself and I feel as if it's my first time out in the sea, with the waves threatening to wash over me, lift me and dump me...


'Fighting' back is an instinctive reaction and at times it takes actual control to still the bubbles before they rise to the surface and pop. Meditation helps me to focus and turn aside this tide of anger that threatens to consume all in its path, and I have to actively disengage from the process, step away and aside, to breathe.


The thing is...living and working in the city, after life in a rural setting, you may fight it...but eventually you have to adapt and take cognisance of the fact that life moves to a decidedly different, seemingly endless 'thrumm' wherever humanity congregates. All the senses are bombarded by a focused myriad of sounds, sights, smells, tastes and textures and the eventual numb-down leaves the spirit vulnerable.


This constant onslaught is not something everyone can deal with. Take time to sift through the debris left inside your mind after subjecting yourself to it's full force for a few hours. Think of how you 'feel/think/act' after a day of actively participating in peak hour traffic in the city centre (driver or passenger; public or private), in order to do some shopping on pay-day or month end (hyper or super store, not corner cafe).


...and...?


don't know about you but me, I'm going back to listening - with filters on this time or I'll bite someone - because as I said, I am in the process of writing an ode to living and I know that all I have to do is keep listening...the good stuff will surface, just wait and see.





Friday, 29 June 2012

Peeved, miffed, a tad unsettled...

I've just about had it with lip service, paid by all of us...

...it's quick and easy to get mad, rant and rave, sulking while mumbling, and we all do it. 

The taxis that cut in front of us while we obey the rules of the road, the members of the public who enter a store, then park in the doorway while they get their bearings or check their cellphone when alerted to a message...the list is actually endless and once you get started, there seems to be no stopping. 

It builds and builds till you feel you want to explode.



So we meditate, practice our breathing, try to remember that kind words and gestures are rewarded while anger rebounds, and then someone throws their lunch wrapping down not a foot from a huge, brightly coloured bin...and you - what? Grab them and make them pick up their litter or even better, lecture them while making a citizens arrest and then haul them off to the nearest cop shop to lay a charge...yeah, right.

Pedestrians cross the road in their hundreds at peak time, while the crossing is not even 20 metres away, and traffic slows to a crawl as motorists change lanes without a please or a thank you, honking their horns as if this gives them right of way. No one smiles, is courteous, steps aside for a man struggling to negotiate an overflowing pavement with his crutches, the little old lady, bewildered in the midst of all this anger is shoved from side to side, almost toppled into the oncoming traffic and is sworn at by strangers who don't care about her age, or the fact that she is a frail 90+years old.

What's happening to us? Have we all gone mad and decided it's us or them and we will be the winners in this race of rats?

I want a magic stick that works all the time...not only when it's held aloft as a weapon, ready to strike and smite down anyone who deserves it. I want it to calm those around me so that they can see how absurd our living has become and I want to inspire them to find their own magic and spread it so that we can enjoy our living again, without fearing each other's reactions to this craziness we currently live in.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The weather

First off, no! it does not deserve the capitalisation so many of us ascribe to it...I think.

I do not watch a lot of television - mostly because machinery with which to generate power for more than just the basic uses, is lacking at home - rather, I prefer working in the garden, enjoying the sunset, listening to the sound of nature.

Except (oh, yes...there always has to be one), when I am with my mom, at her flat in the city...then I 'actively' watch television. Because I am family, I am able to slip into the routine my mother has created in her home and part of this, is the daily watching of soapies, legal/criminal dramas, detective stories, rugby, wrestling, several good, full length films and the occasional DVD on a Saturday night.


Personally I enjoy seeing what the advertising industry is up to and I thoroughly enjoy a good advertisement. My best though, has to be the weather. High pressure systems and cold fronts, wind directions and precipitation forecasts delivered in graphic, computerised animation that keep me going back for more.


And then the broadcaster goes and changes the sequence in which the weather is presented. Where my mom's part of the world used to be almost last on the list, suddenly it is first and I keep on missing the good bits, catching the back end of the rest of the week's wind direction and rainfall forecast - when I remember.


The question now begs to be asked - am I going to adjust my schedule to suit the weather broadcast?

I think not! It may be the best topic yet to start a conversation with a stranger but I have been reminded of so many little things I usually rely on to read the weather, when there is no television or radio feeding me information.

There are the 'Little Swifts' here in the city, accurately predicting a rain shower on it's way by their animated chittering and low flight while they feed on insects scurrying for cover, the obvious cloud banks rolling into the bay, wind direction and strength are indicated by the swaying of tree tops and the city residents themselves, who carry their umbrellas like weapons, while hugging their jackets closer against the cold of Winter.

At home, the moths fluttering around the candles at night and the Coucal's call during the day, are a sure sign of approaching rain, while the wind chimes and mobiles start their slow dance at the slightest hint of a breeze.

When you are surrounded by concrete, commuting to and from home by car, nature's little weather indicators seem non-existent and you turn to television or radio to feed you the information you need to plan your wardrobe and activities, until eventually you stop looking and the weather forecast can quickly become a pivotal point in your daily existence.

And when the broadcaster changes the sequence in presenting weather information, you suddenly wake up to just how dependent you've become on allowing others to be your eyes and ears and how your own thinking process has ground to a halt. And the weather slowly but surely gains importance, you change your schedule to suit and before you know it, the weather has become more than just an easy topic when talking to strangers and in your mind (and writing) its importance gains momentum...and in the end, you present it in capitals.

It's no longer a mere starting point to a conversation, it IS the conversation.

So, how do you weather the WEATHER?


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Reblog if you like


Born in 1960
at the start of it all
grew into it as I learnt
about exceptions
through 51 years and now
live with the repercussions
of my 60's perceptions




Striving to live
in the here and now
working to not earn
by the sweat of my brow
digitally conversing,
befriending and liking
while there's a link,
a laptop or mobile

it's affordably cheap
it's fun
it's company
it's friends
it's idling
procrastinating
an excuse!

Where is the contact,
the one-on-one
it was just here...
...and now it is gone.

digitally duplicated...like and share


Born in 1960
at the start of it all
grew into it as I learnt
about exceptions
through 51 years and now
live with the repercussions
of my 60's perceptions



Striving to live
in the here and now
working to not earn 
by the sweat of my brow
digitally conversing, 
befriending and liking
while there's a link, 
a laptop or mobile

it's affordably cheap
it's fun
it's company
it's friends
it's idling
procrastinating
an excuse!

Where is the contact, 
the one-on-one
it was just here...
...and now it is gone.

Digitally removed



Born in 1960
at the start of it all
grew into it as I learnt 
about exceptions
through 51 years and now 
live with the repercussions 
of my 60's perceptions.



Striving to live
in the here and now
working to not earn 
by the sweat of my brow
digitally conversing, 
befriending and liking
while there's a link, 
a laptop or mobile

it's affordably cheap
it's fun
it's company
it's friends
it's idling
procrastinating
an excuse!

Where is the contact, 
the one-on-one
it was just here...
...and now it is gone.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The good stuff

Read, read and read some more. This is my advice when anyone asks me how to improve their reading, writing and verbal skills, in whichever language they choose to become proficient.

The replies to this advice usually start a hefty argument and I fail to understand the logic of those who do not get it. When you are constantly reading, your vocabulary has to grow and with it your understanding of the topics you pursue in your reading. With the growth of your vocabulary and understanding, you equip yourself with the tools you need to enhance your language skills and this can only result in better writing and...pretty soon you will find that you are able to better express yourself.

Yes, it's a process and yes, it takes time. But, if you take the time and make the effort, the rewards are well worth it.

Being an English second language 'practitioner' (I speak, read and write it) the satisfaction and pride I feel, when those I am conversing with are surprised that English is not my home language, far exceeds the time and effort it has taken me to get here.

It all began before I started school and what motivated my learning to read, was my seemingly endless stream of questions. Television adverts and personal experiences as a parent underline the ever questioning mind of a child - how it is dealt with, however, is another topic entirely.

What stands out in my mind was my need to know and every time a grown-up told me "no more questions" or "time for you to learn to read" I wanted, no needed to do just that, so that I could find the answers for myself. And so my need to read increased, until it became almost an obsession.

I would hide comics, leaflets, picture books with words and oh, anything I felt would provide me the 'answers' to my questions. And these I would read, under the blankets or even the bed, by flashlight - almost giving my mom a heart attack when she investigated the origins of the strange sounds I made turning pages as I learnt to read.

Now, I started school at age five, and I firmly believe that had it not been for my 'obsession' with reading and my never ending quest for information, I would have been at a severe disadvantage. It is almost a half a century later and at times, I find my impatience at the disruption of having to still sleep, eat and go to the bathroom, both hilarious and quite depressing.

Disruption...? Yes, it detracts from my ability to focus while...reading of course!

And then there's blogging.

The ultimate in reading, I think...because you also get to comment on what you read, feel, think! It makes the process better, for me at least. Not sure how other bloggers feel about this. Busy. Reading. Writing. Oh yeah, then there's still interaction with other humans, socialising (does going to the shop for bread and milk qualify?) and of course daily chores. So many disruptions!

Ok, so it can get a bit out of hand, considering what all bloggers know - it does not pay (not good money, not till you're famous anyway) and it can really isolate and hermitise you...if you let it.

The answer is balance and of course, time management and oh yes, it helps...to be busy with work that takes you out of the house to places where using a phone or a laptop are not appropriate or practical...just till you can get back to reading, writing - the good stuff!

The Good Stuff

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

End of the world...?


END OF THE WORLD...?



So the world ends this December, does it? I am finding a lot of writing on this topic and am holding back when I overhear strangers discussing it because I see no need to burst anyone's bubble.

Points being discussed include whether the Mayans had a 'plan' they worked to - much like having a 5 or 10 year plan, only theirs was till 2012. Others talk about how the end will come, comets hitting the planet, sun flares destroying life as we know it, a new virus that kills of everyone...the reasoning sounds a lot like science fiction.

And then there are the religious views of 'the final days' being upon us, the second coming to sort out the wheat from the chaff, all quoting the Bible, mostly the book of Revelation, which can be a science fiction story on its own and has many different interpretations.

Personally, I must say that I am busy with the here and now, and fail to see how something that may happen should affect me to the point where I live in fear and am filled with angst at all the what ifs, maybes and picturing of different death scenarios.

Plan of action:

If you believe the world is going to end this December, please start your preparations and planning now. Decide who gets what of your earthly possessions, make sure you don't pay any more insurance premiums or rates and taxes etc. and by the end of October, start putting your plan into action, you'll have a month in which to finalise, say farewell and then it's time to party! You will be able to use Christmas gift monies for this because you won't have any need to buy anyone any gifts this year.

And if you have any money collected/stashed away or any insurance payouts that you can arrange to have done on December 22nd...tell me where to send my bank details. I am more than happy to help take it off your hands.

And by the way, in order to do all of this, we have to ignore the true meaning of the word 'apocalypse', which is Greek and means 'to lift the veil' or 'the lifting of the veil'. Also, the Mayans said it would the end of an age - not the world!

Oh, yes, December 21, 2012 is also the date on which Anonymous implements Project Mayhem...want to know more - GTS (Google That Shit)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Talk to me...even if it's just in text

I'll be busy for the next few days, with things that don't allow for much writing down, but have the time now though...

Some thinking through on my side has to happen before I'll attempt to research and write about a few things. The title of this post,
                                           'Talk to me...even if it's just in text'
is, I think, the one that I've encountered enough times, and in as many situations as makes them noticeable, and it begs 'penning'.


Another is my initial and later reactions to the statement: "...and mostly I miss the actual conversations more than the companionship...?!
really...well, I don't even have a comment yet, so it's being noted. At the outset I had it tacked on to the above statement but in separating them  

And last but not least is a question:
"Do you feel in any way 'connected' to your environment, drawing and giving energy that is conducive to growth, balancing this energy flow as you move through your environment? In which of the environments that you have lived have you felt most comfortable, performed better, been most productive?
This feels geographical to me, so my perceptions will probably focus more on the location, landscapes and inhabitants as a starting point.




What do you think?                                         Make a comment below and start a conversation?
Comments will be used as part of research on the topic, so please contribute in order that the picture I soundboard is as holistic as possible.


Read what I write and then take ACTION


Let's connect...

So, I write and I write and I write some more...
...then I ask what you think, whether you enjoyed it?

WHY? Because I need the feedback to...post some more!

Telling me in person or on the phone that you thought it was funny, silly, interesting, cool - whatever - is good. BUT it would be better if you made a comment, clicked somewhere to give an indication of how my writing has affected you, if at all.

This may sound needy, because I suppose it is. It may also seem a little weird but honestly...the blog site has all these wonderful boxes especially put there for YOU. I fill the empty spaces and you comment on them, one way or another, in order that I may know your thoughts and feelings on the writing/posting.

Just telling me is NOT enough - you actually have to action it...please?!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Valley Guardians


Home...

Now that I have managed to maintain input on the 'alivenliving' blog, it seemed apt to create a new space, an own space, for the Valley Guardians posts.

Check it out to find out where this is going...http://www.valleyguardians.blogspot.com/

And in the interim, I will continue posting information about the life I live with, at home on the WildCoast of the Eastern Cape, in an area previously known as the Transkei.

The life-forms we live with are multiple, varied and fascinating. This includes cut-roses, brought in from KwaZulu Natal to bloom there where I was assured they would not - about a mile from the sea, buffeted by winds both north and south, east and west - along with spiders, birds, insects, fish, plant life and of course, people.

Educating those who want to know is a part of the process but in the end, simple awareness of the richness and diversity of those we share our living with, has its own rewards.

Enjoy, comment, disagree...whatever floats your boat!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Barrier or Challenge

At present it may seem as if it is a barrier but...

...I have yet to encounter a barrier that I could not either climb over, crawl under or overcome, one way or another!

My home language is Afrikaans and I love it. I have found it to be to the point, yet descriptive in the most unusual ways and because it was the first language I learnt it is the base from which I am, and I will treasure it, always. But (there's got to be a but), I have always wanted to be able to communicate with any and everyone and at school enjoyed learning English and then both German and French. Having grown up in the 'apartheid' years, I did not have the privilege of learning Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, or any of the other official South African languages.

After finishing high school, I was fortunate enough to also learn Spanish and a smattering of Italian but had dreams of becoming an international courier, speaking Mandarin, Russian, Cantonese...an endless list that could have kept me studying languages till I was old and grey. Unfortunately these languages were 'communist' and so, not on the 'available' list.

Life happened...and I managed to raise three beautiful boys, along with tasting several areas of professional employment, from receptionist at a massage parlour in Cape Town and late-night singer at a club in Hillbrow, to trainee Gemologist and short-term Insurance Underwriter.

My love for the written word won through though and I started a career in journalism, as cub-reporter with community newspapers, branching out into advertising, promotions, public relations and projects, with design and desktop publishing following after and, after moving back to my hometown - Durban - I became involved in the academic world. First as tutor and short course presenter with the department of Journalism and Public Relations, progressing to a stint as lecturer in Media Studies and then on to assisting with sustainable tourism project co-ordination and even the process of helping with the development of an interactive platform for students in...first year accounting, of all subjects.

And through it all I have read, and read, and am still reading. My fascination with leaflets and pamphlets of any kind has my family and friends collecting on my behalf and when presented with a carrier bag full of 'words on paper', it's as if my birthday and Christmas have sneaked up and surprised me. Why leaflets and pamphlets, you may ask? Well...it's free reading material...and I have gleaned many a story and learnt lots and lots from the sometimes random 'words on paper' found on brochures and the like (and sometimes, there's cool pictures as well).

The barrier/challenge I alluded to at the start of this writing is a new language, a different culture. I have, however, taken the first step towards possible enlightenment tonight, by stating the obvious out loud and in writing. As much as it pains me, I have had to ask for suggestions on how to proceed from here.

Be warned though...I am not giving up, oh no, far from it, I have just started.

Memories of my early childhood are a reminder of a time when all I could speak was Afrikaans...memories of my teens remind me of the new worlds which opened when I learnt different languages...and the taste may be faint BUT is by no means forgotten!




Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Update - it's important!

So here's me burning the midnight oil researching topics about the latest project : LIFE ARTS. And there is so much information out there...and so much of it was started with good intent. The problem, I found, and it is quite extensive, is that all that good intent received no follow-up and the beautifully crafted husk is now an empty shell with post-dates of sometimes several years ago being the only testimony to what could have been.

Yes, the world wide web is amazing, wonderful, stupendously magnificent! But the deadwood is entangled in the reality of everyday topics and points a stern finger at our inability to ensure continuation of really good ideas through simple maintenance.

I'm a good one to talk, my journey was interrupted on several occasions since I started this blog and I did not maintain or follow up for a few years...BUT, oh yes, there's a but...if it's important (not just personal thoughts about life and it's randomness) surely there are others who can take on the task of updating.

When I was working for a hotel with 100%+ occupancies in-season and a hospitality management suite that never deletes anything, maintenance meant that every once in a while the database had to be cleaned up - a ginormous task, to say the least.

And this has me wondering...who's cleaning up the web? I know accounts on sites are disabled if unused for a certain time but some of the pages I have visited had last been updated a few years ago and in checking the history it was obvious that at some point, posts were happening daily and even several times a day...?

I can think of several reasons why a blog or site ends up just sitting there...my own experience is testimony to life's interruptions and I can only hope that those who have stopped posting on sites where there's some really good information, will take up their task again.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Another Saturday night..

...and I ain't got nobody
I've got some money 'cause I just got paid
Now, how I wish I had someone to talk to
I'm in an awful way...

How many people do you know that are all alone, on a Saturday night...or any night for that matter? And if you know this, what are you doing to make their lives less lonely? I find it a little disturbing that there are so many lonely people who have no-one that cares enough to take time out and visit, chat, be there for each other.

Instead the 'lonelies' gather in pubs or turn on the television or have something more to eat, so that they can keep the loneliness at bay and at least feel as if they are sharing a moment or two in some way, even if it isn't with someone.

Asking these questions makes me wonder whether we have become too self-centred and desensitized to those around us or whether we will excuse ourselves by blaming the crime rate and how 'unsafe' it is 'out there'...or by quickly saying that we don't really know these people, they're just acquaintances?

Well, friendships that last a lifetime can be stronger and more meaningful than family ties and they were all started by making someone's acquaintance. Then, you have to put in the time to build the friendship and over years it becomes meaningful to the point where you no longer have to give it a second thought. You are simply there for each other, instinctively knowing when company is needed to keep loneliness away.

Taking time out for each other has a tremendously positive effect on our collective journey as a species and when we all pull together we absolutely do make a difference. So take a moment and turn an acquaintance into a friend and let the loneliness end.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Reality check

Ok, so it's Saturday 26 May and although the words don't stop coming the jumble they're in means what ends up on paper (the screen) does not necessarily always reflect the true meaning of what I'm trying to say.
Being a mom of three adult 'boys' - yes, they'll always just be my 'boys' - is not a simple thing. Not that being a parent can ever be simple, especially not when you're a single parent.

When they're really little and depend on you for everything and your life feels as if it's chaos personified, at times you can't wait for them to grow up...but it happens so fast...and before you know it you're coping with the loss of not having them so dependent, be relegated to standing on the sidelines as they live their own lives and you're coping instead with the losses they have to endure.

The flipside is that you also share their joys and achievements, holding your breath with every step they take in their own living, cheering silently so they don't feel that you're interfering and nodding quiet consent when they look to you for approval. As much as you'd love to scream and shout their achievements from the rooftops you learn (over time) what they will or won't allow and adjust your reactions according to what your children want, setting your 'usual' reactions aside.

Each of my boys is so totally unique, so absolutely their own person, that there is no way I can generalise my dealings with them... motherhood in triplicate!

So, today is a reality check for me because they're all grown up and out of the house, have been for some time, and I miss them and I need to say so.


A sad story of bravery



"How cruel is fate to take a life so young and rip it from this world, even if that life is given to protect another."

The sun had been baking all day. It was still hot at four in the afternoon but it was the time when new seedlings were checked. It was important because it was day three since the transplanting and some of the lettuce and spinach looked borderline. Today was make or break!
Although he was the youngest in a pack of 13 Jack Russells, Dogmatix firmly believed in his right to do everything first. He took pride in his chosen position and the passion with which he attacked every moment of his life adventure could be quite contagious, hurrying everyone along.
The knowledge that all the chores would be done by early evening when the best time of day started…FOOD…ensured that Dogmatix was insistently first again on that fateful day.
I took a short-cut through a patch of weeds; earmarked for clearing the following day, and had to make a quick sidestep as the ‘pointsman’ in the protection squad charged past, ready to be the first to identify and eliminate any threats.
The snake had managed to stay alive for many years, its almost orange-brown colour, size as thick as my forearm and length of about a metre, attesting to its maturity. The definitive markings and not having moved away at our approach identified it as a Puff Adder!
The strike, swift as an arrow, struck deep, penetrating the fleshy part above the eye-bank. Not quite one year old, the short legged, wire-haired Jack Russell known as ‘Dogmatix’, knew no fear. Shaking off his attacker, he followed through with an attack of his own…and suffered three more strikes to the head before the pack descended.
The riot that followed left behind the tattered and torn body of what had been the proudly muscled Puff Adder, who had not managed to cheat death this time…but neither had Dogmatix.
In living the life of my self-appointed ‘protector’, a role he adopted from the time he opened his eyes at about 10 days old, Dogmatix had managed to ensure his place in Paradise by giving his own life in defending and protecting my own life. The agony I helped ease him through that evening, was denied me by this brave young animal friend and I waited with him, watching helplessly as he lost his fight against the snake poison.
I pay tribute in verse to a friend who deserves it:
You chose me as your playmate
And your friend
You were magnificent and brave
till the end

You supervised the garden work
Watched and learned about hunting
Practised on geckoes and lizards
you even caught a rat and made your first kill
And in between…PLAY of course!
And insisting on being and doing everything first.

Thank you for choosing me
to be
part of your life and
for choosing
to be part of mine.





This post is part of the contest Ten words to a Story(or Poem).. on WriteUpCafe.com




Sunday, 20 May 2012

television

on the box
repeat after me
you will watch
whatever's presented
you have no other choice

your choice is irrelevant
what's presented is all
watching a habit
repeat after me
on the box

choosing the best
of poor choices
you fail to see
the best way
is to switch off

read, write, ride a bike
talk, laugh, share
be more than what's
on the box
be free

Tied to ties

trials and tribulations
ties and being tied
fact is
understanding
means being
misunderstood

because not being
means you deny
where you come from
your own
parenthood threatened
your childhood
forgotten
irrelevant
what's good?

living your own life
is not a given
with friendship forsaken
for the sake
of being part of
blood ties
tied
for good

be the one and
you're taken for granted
be still
be silent
knowing that
it's no good

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Visvang water...Fishing waters


Die son se skerp is uit my oe                                             Reflected sunlight fades
en ek sien meer as net                                                         and I can see
die blink op die water                                                         past the glare on the water

dis windrimpels en vis                                                       wind ruffles and fish
wat die visstokke tart                                                        tease trembling rods
miskien vanaand se ete?                                                     with promise

Elke wolk, net voor sonsondergang                                   Before the sun sets
het sy eie goue rand                                                           silver lined clouds shine
met sagte vingerstrepe                                                       with soft sunlight fingers
sonstrale wat glansend verander                                        sunbeams turning colours
in die mooiste kleure                                                          from nice to beautiful

skakering op skakering                                                      colours tumbling
dan geel, half perske, selfs appelkoos                               through the spectrum
terwyl die lug wasig raak                                                   yellow, peach then apricot
en die paddas en krieke                                                     as mist creeps over the water
geraas maak.                                                                      and frogs and crickets shout.


http://www.writeupcafe.com

Ek lewe...

Daardie borrelende
lewensfontein hier binne
skaterlag van lekkerkry
want om te kan lewe
is makliker
meer eenvoudig
en verg minder inspanning
as enigiets anders

En ja, dis intens
en ja, dit verg jou alles
maar deur doodeenvoudig
lief te he
met jou hele hart en siel
om dit te kan doen
beteken jy lewe!

Anderkant ... Flipside

en in my soeke                                     and in my search
na 'om liefgehe te word'                        to being loved
sien ek dit byna nie raak nie                  I nearly didn't notice
die liefde vir die lewe                            the love for living
wat meer is as                                      that is more than
net een menseliefde                              one person's loving
dis alle liefde                                        it's all love
liefwees vir lief wees self                      loving love itself

dit is liefde lewe                                   it's living love
elke oomblik                                       every moment
van elke dag                                        of every day
en die vreugde, trane                           and the joy, tears
pyn en eensaamheid                             pain and loneliness
word elk                                             each become
'n ondervinding                                    an experience
'n groeiproses                                      a growing process
wat my 'ek' maak                                that defines me

Follow soon

Follow on
follow through
no letting go now

winding roads lead
where I go
slowly turning
me
you too?

read and write
dark and light
day and night

I wait
hoping
wishing
wanting more
and you?

tired
alone
uncaring
unfeeling
unseeing

Let me cry
and care
again
soon

Little girl all grown up

Petulantly pouting,
ready to stomp my feet,
throw myself on the floor and,
and scream-sob

...I DONT WANT TO...
NO, NO, NO!

Instead I act my age,
swallow my anger
and leave it bubbling under the surface,
breathe to relax,
stretch to unwind
my mind
from where it wishes
to where it is.
                                          
Loneliness,
where are you in my life
when I am never alone enough to appreciate company?
I visit and chat
show what is needed to be seen as me. 

When all is said and done,
my being
matters not in the presence of company
- it is the affected exterior
and how it is perceived
that draws attention
and if need be, it is held,
drawing from the encounter
whatever is required
...information,
experience,
physical contact
and
sadly...
it is mostly lacking.

little girl all grown up

Stored for later...

... more tears
less fears
a clear head
a stifled sob
and much writing not done
while time wasted away years
of less tears
and more fears
in a mind muddled by agony
silently screaming.

Hoping
and hoping
and hoping
that the swings between mood changes
would last longer
stay stable
and diminish the violent outbursts
when nothing was right
and everyone out to get even or more.

Living with a manic depressive who self-medicated with dope, alcohol, nicotine and violence can maim you beyond imagining - if you allow it to damage the core of who you are BUT when you realise that at the centre of your being is a well of loving that never runs dry EVER and you draw your strength, hope and inspiration from there ... nothing negative can be sustained and when it stays it is turned and turning becomes part of the love you live.

The best but hardest is finding out that the love is for all, not specific but general and fills so much, the little bits that are kept from you by those who selfishly feel they can hurt you this way, are as drops in an ocean and again ... eventually they accumulate somewhere to overflowing and so are not really kept away but stored for later.

How many chances do you get?

This question dates back to school when you were given only so many chances to get it right, to do the oral, hand in that essay etc. etc. ... and once the chances were used up you were disqualified, had to sit out or weren't allowed to participate any further.

In real life though, the answer to this question can have an extremely negative impact on actions such as decision making, acting under pressure or having to lead by example. Why? Because if you have adopted a fear of failure through years of 'only so many chances and you're out' conditioning, it can be near impossible to try new things or attempt better ways in which to do stuff.

Luckily there are parents, teachers, mentors and friends who can help when you find yourself in a 'last chance' situation but it becomes bleak indeed when you have no support, no one shouting for you or being in your corner.

The best remedy is of course to own each and every situation with the bottom line being - you get as many chances as you need to get it right! With this kind of approach, it certainly becomes irrelevant whatever the question may be, as an outcome is expected - unlike the 'last chance' scenario where the fear of failure can stop you from even trying.

It's a bit, I suppose, like finding yourself in a corner - you can be stuck and stay stuck, or own the situation and finding yourself in a corner, simply step out of and away from it - it is your corner after all.

A good friend of mine recently turned an old saying completely upside down. I grew up with - "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again ..." - with his interpretation of the same scenario being "if you don't even try, you can't even fail ..."

From this, it is obvious that the answer to the original question in the headline has to be that it is up to you. You can limit your own performance or decide to go at it until you get it right.

Flowers as food for thought

Klein, pers en fyntjies
met dou-druppels blink
op rondings van blomblare
wat half skaam na my loer
uit 'n groen grashalmraam











Mindful Measures

"It's just like riding a bicycle," they said. 'They' being family and friends. All well-meaning and all beaming at delivering this age old advice.
Oh yes?! I could ride again if I had a bike, of this I am sure. But write again...
I mean, cycling is balance and pedal power. Writing though, means baring your soul, reflecting your inner thoughts and this kind of sharing is on a wholly different level to the leisure sport of riding a bicycle.
So I started, tentatively after an absence of two and a half years, not knowing where the words would come from, how I would shape them or how they would be perceived. And if nothing else it has been nerve-wracking.
Submitting an entry for the WriteUpCafe monthly contest seemed the answer to the absence of writing in my life but it pretty soon clouded all else and I found myself picking away at the completed sentences, half-listening to conversations as I wondered how my writing would be received.
I should have remembered the habit words have to creep up on me, infiltrating to the point where I type in my head as I speak, unable to stop the keys from clattering away.
Maybe it was just that I was still getting used to the new laptop, I thought at one point when, in casual conversation in the elevator, the keys tapped merrily in my mind's eye as those around me spoke. But no, it continued as I offered tea to my mother, then it spluttered on while I made supper and when I finally sat down to watch television it became overwhelming as my fingers raced to keep up with what was said on the screen.
Too afraid to sleep lest my dreams become keystrokes, I read till my eyes were dry and scratchy and lo and behold... silently, surfacing keystrokes claimed my rest as surely as they had claimed my waking hours.
What to do? How to deal with this before it became too much?
Fortunately, my imagination was up to the challenge and halfway through this morning I managed to master the intrusion, relegating it to its rightful place.
How, you may ask?
Easy - remembering that this was happening in my head was the breakthrough (how could I have missed that) and I took charge, upgraded my mind's eye typewriter to a laptop, silenced the keys to a whisper and then selected it to work in the background.
And from now on, whenever the keystroke clutter starts to intrude, I'll simply click on the buttons I have created and deal with the craziness that comes from having collected a cache of words by not writing for so long.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Everything is Art

Art, you ask?
How can everything be art?
Name it
interpret it
contemplate it's meaning
how it affects you
why it affects you
does it affect you?

Look around
and see the many hands
and minds
working tirelessly
to perfect
their doing
and see the art

Not seeing it
not feeling it
not knowing it's there
your perspective
can be altered
by only you

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

i am earth fighting for life ...


...my anger boils over

drips acid rain
burns black smoke

... throws tornadoes
ashes and lava



where once was beauty
scorched earth remains

pools of silence
shatter

I am bleeding
I bleed
My blood runs

YOU have hurt me
YOU are hurting me

I am overused
I am used
I am abused

… and YOU just do not stop!

but stop you will

be stopped

stop

or

die.



http://www/writeupcafe.com

Bubbles, Bouncing and Being Alive

In the almost three years since my husband died I have managed to hide, dug deep to keep the writing at a minimum, and managed to just about convince myself that it was better to not write. So I focused on others' writings, editing academic theses and proposals, even soundboarding for a young writer with so much talent he puts me to shame.
Then, last year, I was attacked by a wanna-be rapist and murderer who stole my laptop - a gift from friends at my last permanent job - and my 'writing' soon consisted of reblogging quotes, cute pics, ineresting stuff to my tumblr blog titled simplyclover... (Yes, yes, I know. Excuses)
Well, hopefully this is the start of something new (or a continuation of what should be), and now it's back to a 24/7 work schedule because, at the end of the day, writing does not only happen between 8 and 5 or after midnight. It happens when there is a need to say something and if I consider the way I can talk and talk and talk... as I said, 24/7.
I first referred the writeupcafe.com monthly competition to others and it was only when I jokingly said it could be quite therapeutic for me and all agreed, that I considered going there.
It took almost a week to shape 3000 words and even though I had laughingly spoken about the therapy of writing, it was my tears and the declining ache inside that showed me the truth of my joking and I submitted a few hours before deadline.
Now it's wait and see till the 31st when results are known but the bug has bitten, bubbles of excitement that I have not felt in years are tickling their way through my system, rising to the surface to burst with the joy of being a wordsmith.
I sense a bit of the bounce which was my 'trademark' for so long and know that this is what it means, for me, to be alive!