The world reveals itself in the written word. Sometimes surprising, often shocking, always enlightening. What’s in a life? A brief sojourn between dawn and dusk, and it’s over.
Getting to grips with the moments of living by contemplation and commitment to self-exploration facilitated by self-examination through writing.
Write from your scars, not your wounds…
— Laura Gale
Every beginning starts somewhere. Far away. A happening in time and space. What was yours?
A Little History
Home, 1970. Pomfret, a small mining town in the middle of the Kalahari in North West South Africa.
Small-town mindset. Protestant Calvinistic religious fervour the flavour of the day. Violent bullying, fistfights, corporeal punishment; for your “own good”. Freedom to roam the countryside and play from dusk till dawn; heaven and hell. Confusing, painful, strange.
Par for the course. Normal. A country in turmoil, hard reality requiring hard people. A culture of domination, war in the distance, terror close to home. Can’t see the water for swimming in it. Blind to the lies and propaganda, dissent boiling under the surface.
At the time. Doing the best they could. With what they knew. Where they were.
At 13 years and 5 months, I was delivered to a familiar but strange city 500km (300 miles) from home. Welcome to boarding school, apartheid South Africa, 1984. A so-called “sensitive child”, nothing could have prepared me for the experience I was about to be subjected to.
One Friday, months later, dazed from that week’s demeaning hazing, escaping for a few hours into the city, wandering through a recently developed mall, I discovered on the other side a public library. Inside was an angel waiting to change my life.
She must have seen my pain, the eagerness to escape my fate, desperate demeanour and deflated energy.
She led me to the sci-fi and fantasy section. I was saved. When all around me was insanity, I escaped into the worlds of Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, David Eddings, Robert Silverberg, Anne McCaffrey, Octavia Butler, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and countless others.
They could break my body, but my imagination was free. We make our own peace.
My love of the written word has never waned.
Cry, Laugh, Heal
What happened happened and could not have happened any other way,
because it didn’t.
— Peter Crone
Know thyself. As the saying goes, the two most important days in one’s life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why. The only way to figure out who you are is the deep realisation that you are an infinite soul or self, not a traumatised and terrified little ego.
To know what you are thinking, and realise your blind spots, commit pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and get feedback from reality, editors and readers.
Write thyself to know thyself. The fool reveals itself on paper, nowhere to hide. As the late great scientist Richard Feynman remarked, the easiest person to fool is oneself.
Thinking that we know, when the best we can ever do is keep an open mind and keep on learning.
Curate, Comment, Connect
Contribute to the knowledge commons. In reading the words of others, we find resonant ideas that we incorporate into our worldview. To connect reciprocally is to stimulate conversation with engaging dialogue through effective writing.
Listening to the “wise and worldly” share their wisdom and thoughts, one is stimulated into synchronistic realisations. Capture those ideas and expand on them. Translate them into your own vernacular and share again to amplify the signal through the noise. Acknowledging your sources and linking back to them.
Stand for something, or you will fall for everything.
Over the course of my life, I’ve come to realise there is no “right side”, only shades of understanding and perspectives not yet seen. In making the other wrong, we actively create our opposition and add fuel to the fire of division.
It is a never-ending battle for supremacy, an ideological nightmare of our own making. At some point, the good becomes bad, and the bad becomes good.
We kill to save lives. Really!?
Become Less Foolish
The world and living life will always be greater than the knowing of our times. Our lenses are clouded by environment and culture as soon as we are born into the world.
Our greatest task is to clean away the assumptions and hubris that come packaged with our heritage.
Allow the emergence of our true self, holding steadfast yet adaptable beliefs. See the world and all its beings as the profound and wondrous miracle they truly are.
All the above is to say, humbly make your mark. And, as the beautiful and amazing Tina Turner crooned — on my way — ‘I wanna make a million dollars’, and give it all away.
If you’re going to bother with writing, aim for Uranus, you might hit the moon. And wouldn’t that be swell?
Self Expression, Self Realisation
Write and be audacious, recklessly pursue the delicious embarrassment for the wayward thoughts that permeate your mind-sphere.
Always be kind, but firm, champion the meek, and you will inherit the earth. It is known.
You live, and then you die.
In celebration, leave some thoughts to linger, and long after you’re gone, people might say of you that there lived in this age, a very remarkable creature…