“… there are hours in the life of every man when the music of silence is dearer to him than all.” ~ Charles Lanman
It’s been a busy but wonderful summer; celebrating small achievements and milestones.
I’m grateful for lessons learnt through the joyous but laborious effort of putting together and publishing my humble poetry chapbook.
I’m also glad I managed to read some of the books on my shelf this summer. Reading benefits are huge.
But now I return to writing.
Writing doesn’t only require a room of one’s own, but reflection. Reflection needs time. Words (my words) need silence.
So, from now on I’m down to one post per month. I’ll continue to read blogs and participate in conversations, whenever I can. But I’ll be absent from social media, except for few appearances on Facebook, where I use my time deliberately to connect with family and friends.
May your creative days be filled with musings of your heart!
Keep an Open Mind:Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence is a book ahead of its time that is notoriously known for its erotic scenes. I approached it from this angle. But I was quickly reminded to avoid making judgements about something or someone without full knowledge about them, when I realised that the book addresses other important themes, such as love, industrialization, etc.
Say No to Evil: Do not turn a blind eye to evil. Choose your weapon (mine is a pen) and join forces against evil. Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book by Charles French reminded me that evil often targets the weak and the innocent, and those with power or have a voice should speak up.
Listen: When I say I thirst for stories (poetry) from Africa, I mean I want to hear about current affairs from the continent’s contemporary writers. Stories from the Sun by Nametso Phonchi, a poetry anthology took me to Gaborone and Johannesburg, where ‘streets are coloured with anguish’. This another reason I love poetry, it forces me to really listen.
Your Story Matters: Somewhere in the process of writing, doubt asserts itself and derails a writer from their writing journey. An anthology of personal essays, Daddy edited by K.E. Garland served as a much needed reminder that every story matters because it might just be what one person or reader wants to hear.
Be Bold: Women have long been shamed into keeping quiet about their dreams or success. This happens in The Muse by Jessie Button as well, where Olive and Odelle go into great lengths in concealing the real artist, whose talent deserved to be acknowledged and celebrated.
What if Olive had been bold and claimed her success? It would have surely inspired other girls and women in her era. So yes, let’s be bold. But remember bold doesn’t mean being boisterous but rather saying what you want to say.
The Muse happens to be my favourite from this summer’s reading list. It started slow. But when I finally matched its pace, I was mesmerised by the beautiful and lyrical language, and the story that spans over centuries. And the characters…compelling! If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.
And that folks is a wrap. Thanks to all my enthusiastic writerly friends, who took up this challenge and read with me. It was a great, informative and most inspiring exercise.
Be Watchful of Own Prejudices: a memoir in translation, A Jihad for Love by Mohamed El Bachiri reminded me that what the world needs (and has always) needed is tolerance and love.
Escapism is Wonderful: Get out of the real world for a while, for no sane person can keep up with the ills of this world. The steampunk novelettes, Magical Mechanications by Pip Ballantien and Tee Morris, reminded that one of the purposes of literature is to entertain.
Always Pay Attention: There are books that makes you sit up from the very first sentence. The kind of writing that grabs your attention and works hard at keeping it as you turn pages. I certainly like this kind of writing. But as I read a collection of short stories, The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry, I remembered that I actual love slow-paced books. They allow me to pay close attention to their worlds and characters.
Practice Gratitude: No-one (for me) does it better than Emily Dickinson. Reading and rereading her poems always reminds me to focus on nurturing what sustains and gives me joy by appreciating the little things in life.
Build Your Tribe: History has always been unjust towards women. This injustice is so vividly captured in Cast a Long Shadow by Leena Lander, a historical novel about one of the infamous witch hunts in Northern Europe; women turning against each other as they are falsely accused. The importance of surrounding oneself with people who get you and want the best for you cannot be overstated.
to be continued…
notes: As I wrap my reading, I thought I’d share some of the valuable lessons I revisited this summer, and how each book enriched my experience.