On Self-belief

I sit amongst ghosts, and they are getting slightly annoyed. Because I’ve become comfortable in appeasing others, instead of acknowledging that I own the rights of my life story.

“For who will testify, who will accurately describe our lives if we do not do it ourselves?” ~ Faye Moskowits

I hear a shout as I sit at the graveyard, “Old keys won’t open new doors.” No, it’s not the ghosts speaking but the key keeper; my usual inner critic. For a change, she is on my side and is nudging me to believe in my own abilities and judgement.

The Key Keeper
Illustration from adult colouring book, Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford. Coloured by yours truly.

So, this is how I came out with my word for this year as self-belief. I’m going to embrace the fear of abandonment and try to publish some of my stories. These stories might even come in other forms of storytelling besides poetry, I’ll keep you posted.

All this means, there will be gradual additions on the blog and changes in blogging schedule to accommodate growth. So, I won’t be posting weekly as before but fortnightly. And of course, I’ll continue with the Midweek Motif at Poets United and blog parties, for instance, hosted by the wicked Ms Magaly.

Now, over to you. What writing or creative projects are you pursuing this year?

note: I call my story drafts and unpublished manuscripts ghosts because they haunt me for a chance to let them live or else bury them once and for all.

On Independence

This year marks the centenary of Finland’s independence. So, in keeping with the celebratory mood, I’ve compiled a list of top 10 things I love about my second home.

And so here they are, in no particular order:

  • Silence is fun
  • Education is a right, not a privilege
  • Sauna
  • Safe and peaceful
  • Finnish cuisine; a gift from nature
  • Friendships are genuine
  • Finns live outdoors, there’s no such thing as bad weather here
  • Gender equality
  • Winter is a fairy tale
  • Nature; a poem


    This list doesn’t even begin to express how I love my life here. But, but…I’ve been putting together more thoughts, observations and gratitude in a language I know how – poetry.

    A chapbook containing 10 pieces will hopefully be available (in limited edition) early next year. I wanted it to coincide with the celebrations but I unfortunately missed the deadline.

    I hear you ask, “How can you miss a deadline? What kind of a writer are you?” Well, because I receive a “bribe” every month so that I can forget my dream of becoming a full-time writer. 🙂

    Last but not least, Happy Independence Day to my Finnish family and friends!

  • Family Heirloom

    “Why words, when they’re so slippery?”
    Whisperings find me standing
    At the bridge—
    Squinting through light and darkness
    To see what’s left to hold as traditions change
    My people forgotten or modified.
    Fog lifts, and I focus at double suspicion;
    Deity with claims to represent balance
    Between opposing forces.
    Is he a trickster or a faithful?
    For I was left with nothing, but words.
    An oral tradition; love gentle carried
    From generation to generation.
    Without a written word
    Would evidence perish? I fear.
    Thus, with song and dance I join a world
    Where the dead, living and unborn coexist
    In harmony through continuity of words.

    So, I stand at the bridge—
    Not as a vessel of stories nor a praise singer
    But to honour love; accept the family heirloom.

    Artwork by Shelle Kennedy

    process note: I might have taken up creative writing late in life, but I come from a tradition of oral storytellers (Xhosa people), where blurred lines between history and myth exist yet feed imagination. I’ve always loved words, whether written, spoken or sung. The joy I experience when I’m creating, writing, is indescribable.

    Many thanks to my dear and talented friend, Magaly for hosting this blog party and an opportunity to reflect at why I love what I do. To read more about the blog party or join in, please visit her blog.