Dreaming

15:52 16 June in Rhyme
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Nine months ago I was having coffee with a friend. True to our ritual we discussed the latest bands and books, drank good coffee and solved the worlds’ problems.

I was reaching for the milk jug when he asked the question that would spoil my day.  A three-worded landmine planted in my heart that would only detonate much later as the weight of the matter hit home. “What’s your dream?” he asked.

“Huh?” I answered smoothly. “What’s your dream?” he asked again, “your ultimate?” And that’s the moment I realized that I had a better shot at growing a third head than having a ready answer.

It’s not that I didn’t have a dream; it’s just that it wasn’t familiar.  Like a cousin living in a distant town I could vouch for his existence, but I had forgotten what his laugh sounded like.

It bothered me. Like a bad hair day that just wouldn’t go away, I was continually confronted with the ugliness of the situation. Eventually the issue reached critical mass and a series of truth shaped shrapnel exploded in my mind.

Did I have even a shadow of a shot at realizing my dream if I couldn’t keep track of it? Was (gulp)… he (bigger gulp)…still (gigantic gulp)… alive? (insert stunned silence and bewildered eyes, followed by the gulp of all glory-hallelujah gulps here)

A lot has happened since.

I got in my car, travelled to Searchville and spent some time with my cousin. He loves a good Merlot, follows European soccer, and his crazy ideas excite and terrify me equally. I got to know him again, and discovered a couple of things about myself too.

The pursuit of our dreams might not always change the world, but it changes us.

I’m learning that it’s the programmed interruptions in life, like my alarm clock that’ll wake me in the morning from my nighttime dreaming. But it’s the unscheduled alarm bells found in small moments that will attempt to wake the dreams of my heart.

I’ve stopped pressing the snooze button, I’m waking up, and it feels good. No, let me correct myself. It feels great. There’s treasure to be found in the heart of those small moments, and with the grace of God, I’ll find it all.

Sommer net vir die lekker

14:23 05 June in Weeskinders
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Party dae hou ek myself simpel, sommer vir die lekkerte daarvan.  Nie ‘n dwarstrekkerige, aspriste, “kyk-hoe-moeilik-kan-ek-die-lewe-vir-jou-maak” simpel nie, maar eerder ‘n “ek-doen-dit-want-ek-kan-en-dis-lieflik-lekker-vir-my” soort simpelheid.

Ek sit skewe valstande in net voor ek by die robot stilhou en kyk dan rustig links of regs na die ander motoriste se geskokte uitdrukkings. Ek steek vreemde voorwerpe in my huismaat se bed weg terwyl sy bad, of praat in ‘n swaar Britse aksent by die Mall met die mense. Eenmaal het ek by die kantoor uit ‘n boks gespring en die baas goed skrikgemaak. Sommer net.

Ander mag dit vreemd vind, en ek sal die eerste een wees wat saamstem. Dit is so ietwat aweregs ja. Maar soort soek soort, en ek is ‘n bietjie vreemd, so is dit dan nie vanselfsprekend dat ek ook van tyd tot tyd snaakse dinge sal aanvang nie?

Dis eintlik my ouma Uys se skuld. ‘n Eiewys en eksentrieke vrou met ‘n kop so hard soos ‘n kanonskoot. Op ‘n dag het sy haar so vererg vir my arme oupa wat sy tyd gevat het om vuurmaakhout in te bring, dat sy ‘n byl gegryp en die kombuistafel stukkend begin kap het. Die d in ons DNA, staan dalk vir dramaties.

Dis regtig nie asof ek vooraf sit en dink wat ek gaan doen om aandag te trek of reaksie uit te lok nie. Dit gaan geensins oor ander se opinies of opmerkings oor my mannewales nie. Nie eers amper nie.

Dis oor die sommer-net wat my in ‘n oomblik invaar. Omdat simpel wees vir my diep sin maak, en my soos Mia laat voel, dankie. Party mense het ‘n behoefte aan gereelde oefening. Ander raak semi-kens as hulle lanklaas in die natuur was. Ek verloor myself so stuk-stuk as ek nie gereeld genoeg goed simpel is nie.

Die punt wat ek probeer maak is dit.  Daar is dinge wat ons doen wat vir niemand anders belangrik is of lyk nie, maar wat broodnodig is om getrou te bly aan wie God ons gemaak het om te wees.  Ek dink een van die grootste dankies wat ons vir Hom kan sê is om te leef as die mens wat Hy gemaak het, en om dit goed en gereeld te doen.

Op daai noot, verskoon my eers, ek het skielik lus om saam met die seuntjie oorkant die pad te gaan sokker speel. Dit lyk verskriklik lekker.

Van verlief wees

18:11 24 May in Weeskinders
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Wat maak ‘n mens verlief? Wat presies bepaal of iemand in jou hart gaan kom wortel skiet, of net soos ‘n wind verby gaan waai? Hoe gou kan mens verlief raak,   en presies waarop raak jy nou eintlik verlief as dit so gou gebeur?

Partymaal is hulle baie mooi. Ander kere baie slim. Of interessant. Partymaal hou mens van hoe hulle praat, wat hulle weet, of hoe hulle jou laat voel. Meestal is dit ‘n kombinasie van hierdie dinge. ‘n Onvoorspelbare, onbeheerbare mengsel van menswees wat die vermoë het, die formule ken om jou hart se deurwag oor te wen.

Verliefdheid laat hom nie voorskryf nie. Nie deur ouderdom, lengte, breedte of enige ander mate van redelikheid, voorspelbaarheid of aanpasbaarheid nie. In die veld van verliefdheid kan alle grense geskuif word, struikelblokke oorkom word, en nuwe horisonne ingestorm word. Hier is alles moontlik.

Vanaand is ek verlief.

Sonder beplanning of bestemming.  Sommer net ‘n lekker wilde mal perd verliefdheid wat homself opgesaal het, en nou met my die heuwels van hoop en die dale van droom uitgallop. Op hom. ‘n Skugter vreemdeling, met ‘n sagte hart, en goeie vrae. Een wat in 4 ure my aandag kon arresteer en tot die punt van fassinasie frustreer. Wat salig onbewus die magneetveld van my hart binnegedring het met sy rustige houding en gemaklike individualiteit.

Die spreekwoord sê dat liefde blind is, maar ek vermoed verliefdheid is nie. Verliefdheid sien met ‘n enkel oog ‘n een dimensionele prentjie van al die mooiste, blinkste, vining opletbare goeie dinge in iemand anders raak. Die prentjie is dalk onvolledig, maar nie noodwendig verkeerd nie. Geen persoon het net goed in hulle nie, maar verliefde mense is tydelik geslaan, (of geseën?) met ‘n onvermoë om die sleg in iemand anders raak te sien.

Die Bybel sê dat God nie net lief is vir ons nie, maar ook verlief is op ons, en dit laat my dink. As ek na ‘n kort ontmoet-en-groet-kuier gister, vandag so baie aan my vreemdeling gedink het, hoeveel te meer moet ek nie heeltyd in God se gedagtes wees nie? Hy ken my dan al van my eerste oomblik af.

Dit verklaar ook Sy onvermoë om moeg te raak, weg te loop, of neer te kyk op my. Hy sien elke dag, heeldag, net die heel beste en blinkste in my raak.  Hy is versot op my, en heeltemal, sonder verdwaal, verduidelik of verskoning – verlief op my.

Writing

11:59 15 May in Weeskinders
13 Comments

It’s a funny thing.  This process of translating events, thoughts and emotions to various combinations of the same 26 letters. Reducing moments of elation, longing or frustration to nothing more than a literate version of a mathematical equation.  Hoping that something as lifeless as a drop of ink on a sheet of paper, or a succession of characters on a computer screen will transcend its existence, and somehow, miraculously, start breathing in the heart and mind of the reader.  Desiring the sum of the parts to amount to more than its one dimensional ability.

Imagine a child playing in a magical forest, discovering the most fascinating creature. Overcome with excitement and wonder he feels compelled to take it home. to look at it again and again. Danny races back, returns with a box, and the animal is caught and carried home. Danny arrives, breathless with excitement. “Mom, mom come now. I have to show you something amazing!” Mom registers the urgency in Danny’s voice, opens the box and her face drops. In the corner of the shoebox, shrivelled into a sad little bundle lies the creature. Danny’s darling pet died on the way home.  The harsh demands of the journey took its toll on the creatures’ fragile constitution.

Danny is distraught. A little while ago the creature was the most wonderful thing he’d ever encountered, and now it was ugly, dull, and worst of all – dead. The journey killed it.

Writing is the same. Life in all its fullness compels the writer to take the experience home, but the vehicle meant to carry it is also capable of killing it. It is the science of containing and conveying life experiences.Forcing it into an unnatural environment in the hope that it will survive the journey and arrive alive to continue its former beauty in a new environment.

Any writer claiming not to care is a liar or no writer at all. The intensity of life compelling us to write, regularly leads to the literate gallows. Here our intensions and encounters will be blinded, gagged, and possibly killed as the nooses of punctuation and interpretation are forced around the experiences’ fragile neck.

I’ve written for years, but I’ve never published. I was too scared. The one dimensional nature of words and letters so forcefully opposes the multi dimensional nature of living. It frustrates and scares me that I have no way to guarantee that the topics and moments compelling me to write will arrive alive in the heart of the reader.

It’s time to start trying.

Forgive my dramatic introduction, and try and look past my insecurity. The boxy-nature of words might kill the creatures I’m trying to carry home, and every now and then I might present you with the corpse of a funny looking chameleon. Nonetheless, it is my heartfelt hope that the creatures who manage to arrive alive will engage you as they did me. That you’ll be able to stare into their beady little eyes, notice the delicate chests pumping oxygen, and form your own opinions about my show and tell creatures.

Here’s to hoping, writing, and most of all, publishing.