Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Saturday, 28 May 2011
Although I was only taught by him directly for one semester, he made such an impact on me that I will never forget him. Stephen Watson was the man who helped me to fall in love with poetry.
He was the man that convinced me that writing is what I want to do with my life.
Before I took his poetry class, I had enjoyed the odd poem or two, but generally found that poetry was beyond me. He unlocked the magic of rhyme, rhythm and metaphor for me and I began to devour books of poetry. Critically, I began to write my own.
I looked forward to his class all week. And I was never disappointed. Pablo Neruda, William Wordsworth, Margaret Atwood - we read them all. And we wrote. Every week there was a poetry assignment and we had to keep a poetry journal. I carried mine with me everywhere.
Nervously, at first, I scribbled away. Boredom, anger, contentment - every emotion was transformed from some watery feeling into the concrete of words on pages. And then Stephen Watson gave my self-confidence a massive boost. His red-penned "Yes!" on my tentative first poem of the class gave me the guts to keep writing. And he kept encouraging. He recognised in me an eager student and he pushed me.
Once, I happened upon him in the corridors of the English faculty and as we walked he asked me about my majors. Film and media. "Why?" he asked me. "Why would you study film and media?! You should be writing!" I told him that film and media left me the most options and that journalism was top of my list. It seemed practical.
"You should be writing," he repeated. "You must continue with your creative writing. It is something that you can do."
That conversation is one of the few that has shaped my life to date. Stephen Watson, poet and teacher, believed in me. He believed that I could write and he was the first person I'd ever met who thought that I could make a living out of doing it.
I still cry when I think of the immense feelings and the many decisions that those few words have prompted.
There have been many others along the way who have shaped my writing journey, but I might not have had the courage to continue follow my dream had it not been for that brief conversation.
I got the top marks of our poetry class. And I have never stopped writing. Sometimes I have stopped hoping, but I've never stopped writing.
I'm not a sentimental person, but I have kept my poetry portfolio from your class. And when I doubt myself and my writing, I still look back at your treasured notes and remember that you thought I could do this.
A poem, then, from my little collection...
Stretched long in front of it
When we knew we had to
Fix what they had done,
That the world was waiting
For our answers to their problems.
So we looked ahead, into its darkness
Disappeared from under it
When we realised we had no
Name to call our own,
That the names had all been used up.
So we looked around, into nothingness.
Trailed at last behind it,
And we could see that we had
Shaped and changed it -
That our lines had made it substance.
So we looked back, as at a lesson.
Now is waning, its edges already fading.
So we look ahead, into uncertainty.
So we look around, at each other.
So we look back, into ourselves.
And we step confidently into tomorrow's shadow.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Blogging is weird. Because when you're blogging you're yourself but you're not.
Backing up a bit...
Remember a few weeks back I said I'd run into an ex-colleague and she's doing well and I was glad to see that etc? Anyway, we decided to schedule a catch-up lunch, which we did. And it turns out she's been reading my blog for the past few years, so she already knew a lot of my news (hello, L, if you're reading this. Would love to know how Dubai was).
And that fact made me think. Firstly, you never know who's reading. This is one of the main reasons I try to keep my blog fairly anonymous. If I have a run-in with a client, I'm not going to diss that client here because a) it would be unprofessional and mean and b) it would have the potential to cause quite a lot of trouble, especially if it turns out my client reads my blog.
On the other hand, it's also weird that I do know some of the people who read my blog, whether it's because they tell me they do (hi, Dad) or because they bring something up in conversation that I know I only put on the blog (you know who you are, A).
Sometimes it's nice to know that there are people out there at all and you don't just exist in my computer monitor. But it does mean that I censor myself. For example, I used to ask you lot about what to get my family for their birthdays. But now that some of them read, I can't do that anymore.
But back to where we started... Meeting up with this friend for lunch also made me realise that there's a lot I don't put on this blog. A lot of it is stuff that's not mine to share but affects me like family stuff, TSC's work stuff, relationship stuff etc.
And thinking about all the stuff in my life that I don't blog about, I started asking myself whether that means I'm not actually very honest here. But I don't think it does. Just as there are certain things you're happy to share with your best friend but not with ALL your friends, there are some things that I have to deal with in real life that don't get put up here, not because I'm trying to keep secrets or be someone else, but because I DON'T know who is reading and some things are just nobody's damn business except mine.
Now really getting introspective, I find that the things that do go up on this blog serve a few purposes (which is why I keep blogging, I guess). Sometimes I need to vent or to say something that I don't feel like saying out loud to people outside of my screen. That's the great thing about the internet - chances are that somewhere out there, someone has said something more emo, less intelligent and far more likely to cause offence than any gibberish I come up with here. Generally, these are posts like this one.
Other times, I want to get opinions or advice from you lot. Another wonderful thing about blogging is how it puts me in touch with people outside of my normal social or work circles whose opinions are completely different from those I'm used to hearing.
Sometimes (and this is hard to admit) I'm just looking for sympathy. You guys are great at making me feel like you care, even about the silliest things (the need for validation - such a human longing).
Whatever the case, I believe I blog honestly. From the heart. I am just as corny, easily annoyed and generally nutty in real life as I am here. And vice versa.
Of course, blogging lets me share what I WANT to share with you here. And what I want to share tends to be the nicer parts of me. Everyone wants to be liked. I'm no different, so sometimes I don't post the way I really feel about things here because it's not PC. Or nice. I can be very judgmental, but I try to hold back.
One might argue that it's the same in real life - we often stifle our real opinions because we don't want people to know that we actually think.
Example, "What do you think of my new Renault?"
I'm thinking, "French cars suck. Your services are going to cost you a fortune."
I say, "It's pretty. I like the colour."
We all do that, right? Or is it just me?
But blogging is an even more exaggerated way of only showing people the bits you want them to see. Because while in real life you might witness me losing my temper or saying something monumentally stupid and inappropriate, which I do all the time not having a very strong brain/mouth filter, my blog allows me to reread what I've typed, mull over what I'm about to publish and, if needs be, go back and edit things (like I habitually do when I have enough time - I go back and remove typos I've noticed). I can even delete posts.
You can't do that with real life conversations. It would be super awesome of you could.
"Steven Seagal's an amazing actor."
"You're a dumbass. *awkward pause* I mean..."
"Steven Seagal's an amazing actor."
"Hmmm... Personally, I prefer Bruce Willis."
But where was I?
Once again I've reached the bottom of a post that's as long as the DA's bulk sms list and not yet figured out how it's supposed to end.
A conclusion, one supposes.
So, in conclusion... after much thought and self-interrogation, I reckon I'm an honest blogger but a dishonest blogger. And that blogging is weird. And to be taken with a pinch of salt. But still to be enjoyed. It does have many benefits along with the few issues.
Much like every other form of communication, I guess.
Friday, 13 May 2011
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Thor: Expecting a credible storyline and a superb script from a comic book movie is a bit like expecting a politician to tell the truth - it's possible, but quite rare. That said, if you can ignore the really daft plot, cheesy lines and superficial characters, Thor is actually quite a lot of fun. The special FX are pretty impressive, there's loads of action and, of course, there are Chris Hemsworth's abs. I give this one 6 out of 10 too.
Masterchef Australia: I don't know why I watch this show. I find it so stressful that I spend most of it clenching my fists and chanting contestants' names over and over as if I can stop them from being eliminated. But I love it. I really do. For the first time in ages, TSC and I are following something (other than sport) regularly on TV. Of course, it helps that we have a PVR now :-)
La Passant: I bought a voucher for La Passant in Sandton awhile ago from awesome group buying site, WiCount (http://www.wicount.co.za/), and WOW - what a find! TSC and I had such a lovely dinner there. He had the lamb shank in red wine, cranberry and chocolate sauce (yum!) and I had the duck breast with orange and mango sauce (also yum!). We finished off with a rooibos creme brulee and the beligian chocolate mousse - both were little pieces of heaven on a plate. And the service was fabulous. We'll definitely be visiting again.
Yummy cheese platter that was brought to our room as part of our package on our first night...
Three giraffes. We saw them from a distance when we were out cycling, so we headed closer, got off the bikes and walked near enough to take pics - amazing experience...
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
I survived the farm in Namibia, with all its millions of mosquitoes and its one loo that doesn't work properly. TSC went off hunting and then spent much time cutting up all the meat (three springbok) to make biltong, mince etc, while I ploughed through several library books. I must say, despite the fact that it's really not my cup of tea, the farm was beautifully green. They've had good rains this year, so instead of just bone-dry red dirt, there was lots of grass and many fat dassies, happy sheep, tiny wild flowers and, of course, thousands of bugs. And the weather was great. Sunny and warm during the day and not too cold at night.
TSC enjoyed it. I would've liked to be with my whole family who were in Durban for Easter (especially my borther, whom I haven't seen in the past few weeks), but it was good to see him happy and I'm glad he got to spend quality time with his folks, without a million other people around for a change. Also, there were kittens, so that kept a smile on my face. I managed a few firsts too: first time eating !nabas (Kalahari truffles, which we dug out of the sand) and first time eating melkkos (not a fan. I'm not big on milk, so it was wasted on me. Lumpy milky stuff).
Horses, enjoying the short, sweet, green grass at the dam...
Somewhere, over the rainbow...
We got back last Tuesday. Wednesday, being Freedom Day, was spent at the Rand Show. I haven't been since I was about eight years old and TSC has never been. We had such a good day out, although we spent far too much money (we each came home with a leather jacket).
Thursday we both worked. And then, on Friday... SONDELA! I'd been looking forward to our weekend getaway since we booked. And once again, Sondela didn't let us down. I *love* that place (wrote about it last time here). We were only there for two nights, but we enjoyed every minute of it. We played tennis, rode our bikes through the bush spotting game, swam, read, napped, watched the stars from our private outdoor victorian bath, took photos, fed a giraffe at the wildlife centre, enjoyed good food and a private dinner at the poolside with candles and a fire, did a game drive and generally had a ball.
Our private lunch table in the garden...
The view looking up from our outdoor bath - a giant Kapok tree...
A Kapok blossom that landed in the empty bath...
All of this wonderfulness. I feel very lucky indeed.