Do We Need Migrant Literature?

 

The world is a melting pot,  an ever-increasing paradise of voices that need to be heard if tolerance and understanding are to reign for peaceful coexistence.

Migrant literature, while evident through powerful voices, needs new sounds to add to the colourful history that should be shared if we are to live side by side.

Knowledge is necessary to foster understanding and compassion to move us closer to our innate humanity. Living in international communities in the 21st Century is a goldmine of multiculturalism that offers new insights on culture and values.

What better way than to extend understanding through the literature we read and write. This could be a work of fiction, a non-fiction book, or a blog that creates connections to our neighbours near and far.

Literature is and should continue to be a vehicle that dispels ‘otherness’ or the ‘outsider’

Continue reading “Do We Need Migrant Literature?”

Are you particular about dates?

When I ask ‘Are you particular about dates?’ – I’m not referring to the dating game or romance.

Here’s my reason for asking.

I recently published Vindication Across Time as the print version late in September to coincide with my father’s birthday.

Cover Design- Working Type Studio- Luke Harris

The digital version on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, BN will be released next week on my mother’s birthday. It’s up for preorder  on these sites now.

I can hear you ask, ‘Pray do tell us more!’

Some of the themes reflected in Vindication Across Time – the pursuit of truth and justice is a value I grew up with. The truth no matter how painful had to be acknowledged and implemented.

Lies were severely admonished in my childhood home regardless of any perceived justification for stretching the truth.

Truth and lies are dominant in the novel as in different versions of the truth. The bearers of fake truths are soon discovered and good karma visits those who steadfastly adhere to the truth. My understanding is that there is only ONE truth.  If a man has been gunned down, there might be one person directly responsible and others who helped expedite the heinous act.

Justifications offered for why this happened does not remove the truth that a defenseless man was gunned down in cold blood. The next truth to be served is that justice must prevail regardless of individuals’ motives and challenges.

There, in a nutshell, is why the print version of Vindication Across Time was released on my father’s birthday as an acknowledgement of his respect for truth and justice.

What about my mother made me choose to release the Kindle and eBook versions on her birthday next week?

The expression of culture and values through strong female characters in  Across Time and Spaceled to greater nuances of imperfect lives in Vindication Across Time. This is where my mother’s love, compassion, and strength shaped these ideas.

Continue reading “Are you particular about dates?”

Are you a dog with a bone?

 

In my world being a dog with a bone is sometimes needed to get the job done. Persistence does pay.

By the same token, I am aware how utterly annoying the person who is always a dog with a bone can be … gnawing at issues or situations for self-aggrandisement. They gnaw at the issue or situation with dogged intent. Is it with a power-laden agenda to prove a point and claim the hubristic victory?

 

A dog with a bone syndrome (my definition) might well be motivated by an ego trip hence such characters are quick at the ready to prove a point, make a statement or perhaps just want to be heard. A sad dog with a bone really.

This excessive gnawing suggests self-obsession, the ‘look at me’ need.

 

determined puppy

 

You will find this character type in my novel, Vindication Across Time or can you identify characters in literature you’ve read where such attributes are identifiable?

Continue reading “Are you a dog with a bone?”

Literary Life Lines

 

There has been a lot of interest this past week on a previous post,  here on why characters and quotations from literature are often remembered long after the book has been put down.

Thank you for the comments, I’m delighted that you found educational or personal clarity and have selected a few more literary life lines in this post.

Literature that speaks to the human condition echoes through time when emotional connections are formed.

Love, despair, fear, envy, passion, hatred and kindness guide our motivations in the choices or decisions we make in life.

Students of literature are often expected to engage in critical appreciation of texts.

Values, culture and language, events or situations motivate characters’ actions and in turn, motivate readers’ reactions eliciting a new wave of interpreting ideas. And so the chain of literary discourse begins…

 

Reading for life connections and intellectual stimulation

Continue reading “Literary Life Lines”

Bookshop to Bookshelf

Bookshops still hold magical fascination with their multiple shelves  laden with the artistry of wordsmiths who have crafted stories and histories that are timeless as the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and a multiplicity of contemporary writers spanning many decades through to today.

 

 

The reader is transported into a world of heartbreak, love, crime, mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, memoirs, how-to books and histories of generations past and predictions of the future. This is just the tip of the iceberg  in the bounteous valuable books that grace our libraries and bookshops.

 

My own fascination with books started with having a mother who is an avid reader and a maternal uncle who was eager to share his prized books from his stained glass, antique bookshelves that ran along four walls of his room. They were majestic and mysterious, a mini bookshop in a study.

 

Anna Karenina, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol are fondly remembered as books that had cloth covers, were well-worn and difficult to return to the gracious lender, once read.

 

Hours spent lost in a bookshop brought cherished delight to my introverted world that was fascinated  by faraway places.  I mentally marked my next purchase and saved every nickel and dime, counting  my ducats each night like Shylock, but eager to have the money saved for the next great read. I loved birthday presents that were a few bobs here and there rather than an aliceband or cardigan which held no value in my world of books other than to keep my hair out of eyes when reading or keeping me warm on that winter afternoon when I remained riveted to the story.

 

Pennies saved to buy my beloved book is a tale I am bound to tell to the end of my days. Pennies wisely saved and wisely spent.

 

 

The treasured purchased book was safely carried home, my name was proudly etched with a fountain pen, in black ink,  in the most artistic font (so I thought) I was able to create in the words,  This book belongs to

 

Some sad tales of those cherished books were those lent out that either never made their way back home to my bookshelf or were unrecognisable in their dilapidated returned condition. I mourned the loss of and injury to my book pals.

 

Bookshops must never be forgotten nor cast aside, they should be the place where parents and grandparents take their young ones to, for the experience of a life time – the look of a cover, the feel of the pages and the words that bring endless delight whether read alone or read to by a melodious voice – these are memories that never fade.

 

A bookshop is a peaceful sanctuary of silent voices waiting to be heard.

 

Teaching children to save a bit of pocket-money to buy their favourite book inculcates a lifetime love of reading. Taking children to a bookshop to choose a book they want to read and then add to the beginnings of their book collection is an opportunity every child should have.

 

Spread the love – no age restriction applies if the content is appropriate!

 

 

Happy Reading! Happy Sharing!

 

Share your bookshop experiences in the message box below.

 

Why a sequel?

Do writers plan to write a sequel? Why are sequels so popular?

Sometimes they are planned and sometimes they grow from the first book for a host of reasons.

We live in an age where we are desirous of connections for the long haul, we want more as we book our Netflix favourite series into our private calendar time-slots; we crave more when we connect or are moved by a story and its people.

We desire more of what we enjoy, what we look forward to. Connections with people and places make us reluctant to leave. The story is anticipated as an after work or relaxing weekend read. It’s locked in and beware the unsolicited ringing of the telephone or doorbell! Solitude is non-negotiable!

For the writer, unfinished matters in the first book lead to the second book which unveils new situations and hidden aspects of characters and situations, sometimes shocking or expected and satisfying.

Picking up reader feedback from the first book while the sequel is being written is significant in ensuring that favourite characters are not destroyed or killed off too early, reader and writer satisfaction is imperative.

In the writing of my debut novel Across Time and Space, the sequel began to emerge by the end of the penultimate chapter, there was more my characters had to say, there was more that had to be revealed. The intrigue of the first tale created expectations that needed further exploration.  Relationships needed to grow.

Truth and deception were left skulking in the shadows at the olive grove in Viareggio in Across Time and Space and these ghosts came calling for more.

This made me restless to dive into the sequel, some cautioned ‘not so soon,’ others begged ‘when will it be ready?’ The process became an organic growth –an obsession to take the story to where it was leading me. Hence the birth of the sequel, Vindication Across Time.

Cover Design- Working Type Studio- Luke Harris
What will be lost, what will be gained when the dark forces of human nature obscure truth and justice?

Will this become an Across Time series?

The question we are left with is, ‘what are we keeping hidden from view in the hope of leading or appearing to lead a happy and by anyone’s definition, a ‘normal’ life?’

Coming to terms with our ghosts as something of the past rather than defining our present worlds is significant in Vindication Across Time. 

Whose ghosts will be exhumed in this tale of love, loss, hope, and patience?

Have you read, Across Time and Space?

What are your thoughts on book sequels and television series, what do you anticipate in Vindication Across Time? 

Please leave your comments in the message box below.

 

Announcement of Title

The joy of writing over several weeks and months is finally seeing the artist’s  impression in the cover design of the story that has emerged from, and lives in the writer’s imagination.

The much-anticipated sequel title to my debut novel, “Across Time and Space,” set for a spring release, depending on where you reside in the world, is :

VINDICATION ACROSS TIME

 

Cover Design- Working Type Studio- Luke Harris

             Will the Truth Prevail?

 

“Across Time and Space” is available at a discounted price while stocks last. Contact me through the website for availability.

 

Please share what you anticipate in, “Vindication Across Time”, in the message box below.

 

 

 

Do You Remember The Days?

Do you remember the things you did during your childhood that defines what you do as an adult?

 

I remember being passionate about drama, performance and the pleasure it elicited. When I say being passionate about plays, I mean reading them with great zeal.

 

Growing up in apartheid South Africa on the ‘wrong’ side of the colour line meant that going to the theatre was not an option. Additionally, television had not been introduced into the country. I make reference to this in an earlier post, To Kill a Mockingbird Moment Realised, here.

 

 

I remember going to the library, standing in a long queue to add my name on the waiting list for a particular playscript I was eager to read.

 

One such play that is vividly remembered is Toad of Toad Hall written by A.A Milne as the dramatisation of Kenneth Graham’s, The Wind in the Willows.

 

Toad of Toad Hall- A.A. Milne

 

Growing up under the horrendous apartheid regime in South Africa makes the adult me smile at this choice. As much as the child enjoyed Rat’s, Badger’s, Mole’s and Toad’s car and caravan adventures, the deeper issues were lost in the euphoria of ‘putting this on stage’ in the apartment building of my childhood.

 

Actors were sourced from eager children who were hungry for entertainment during the school break. Parents were at work and no laws protected downtown children from being left at home alone with an occasional check in from an elderly neighbour- this was all an aspiring eight-year-old producer needed!

 

Parts were allocated and lines rehearsed over two days. Pitch, tone, movement and a haphazard choreography were based on the whim of the eight-year-old producer who ensured she donned a hat and a scarf for a theatrical edge that was akin to those seen in magazines and the Sunday newspaper.

 

What a time was had by all! An intermission was in place and red Kool-Aid duly served as the drink of choice in plastic wine glasses to an innocent audience ranging in years from five to ten. Mothers’ costume jewellery, ‘plastic pearls’ and hats with feathers were placed askew on little heads for attendance at this momentous production in the dining-room of my parent’s apartment.

 

Innocent children made their debut into the world of theatre, revelling in being transported to a magical world away from the tedium and boredom that sets in after playing all the games children could come up with during a six-week long school break.

 

Fast-forward decades later, in another country of choice, the itch takes hold, not as a theatrical producer, but one who has started to pen fictional tales of life and its challenges, thus Across Time and Space is born.

 

Across Time and Space- Mala Naidoo

 

Such, such were the joys of childhood.

 

What do you remember of your childhood that lingers fondly as a defining moment? Share your thoughts below.

BOOK WEEK: TALKING WITH TEENAGERS

 

It’s with gratitude that I write this post today in respect for the invitation to speak on reading and writing at a local school whose English Faculty and Librarian are tirelessly working to foster a love for reading to encourage students to expand their horizons and improve their speaking and writing skills.

 

Leading up to my talk, students were asked to send me their response to, ‘I enjoy reading because…’ – a simple question that elicited some thoughtful responses from teenagers.

School Book Talk

Here are a few lines that suggest that young readers seek refuge between the pages of a book:

  • I enjoy reading because it is a spectacular and intriguing ticket to a distinctive and captivating dimension which either creates a gulp of despair or a shiver down my spine.
  • I enjoy reading because it allows me to be in two places at once.
  • I enjoy reading because it allows me to escape reality without leaving the comfort of my home
  • I enjoy reading because it allows me to broaden my horizons without having to get on a ship and sail halfway across the world…
  • I love reading because my heart is satisfied- my heart learns more than my brain can ever know- I learn priceless lessons. It’s the portal to my heart.

Continue reading “BOOK WEEK: TALKING WITH TEENAGERS”

Need A Good Book?

Librarians are Writers’ Greatest Allies in their Ability to Influence the Joy of Reading

 

 

It gives me great pleasure, today, to introduce you to Fiona Sharman who has kindly shared her passion for her favourite books. One of Fiona’s favourite quotes is from ‘Pride and Prejudice’, when Mr. Bennet says, ‘for what do we live but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in turn?’ Continue reading “Need A Good Book?”

Podcast: In Conversation – BOOK TALK

 

Book Talk today is with my guest, Sevgi Yildiz, Coordinator of the Sydney Book Club, on her reading of Across Time and Space and the writing process.

I hope you enjoy listening in. Please leave a message in the comment box below or subscribe to receive future posts, newsletters on writing and updates on the upcoming sequel to, Across Time and Space.

In Conversation on ‘Across Time and Space’

TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK?

 

The writing life is one of quiet solitude if writing in crowded spaces is not conducive to creative thought for some.

While writing fiction might entail living within the confines of one’s imagination, there emerges the gratitude for precious moments spent with close friends who understand the writer’s period of ‘absence’ from the social hub. The art of conversation keeps books alive as stories unfold, are morphed and recreated to generate hours of pleasurable reading.

 

Precious moments are often a coffee catch up and soulful reconnecting.

 

Being in the moment, in conversation with the person should be valued for the human contact with authentic people who question nothing and accept everything for the sheer pleasure of personal engagement.

 

Being in conversation with someone, seeing their joy and fears, hearing their laughter and feeling their moments of distress is priceless – no mobile phone interaction or other social media platform can replicate the shared face to face rather than face time interactions. To be able to reach out and touch the hand of someone to console them or share belly aching laughter is the essence of human communication and interactions.

 

I recall some years ago being in a restaurant in LA, having an early dinner, after a day of sightseeing, when I noticed a young family, parents and two children at dinner with heads down, eyes glued to the handheld devices they scrolled through as they ate dinner in silence.

 

Cyberspace engagement in favour of human company is creeping into relationships, eroding the exhilaration of animated or quiet conversation between and among people. This makes those in company, particularly the elderly, for whom a virtual world does not equate with social engagement, feel ignored or unimportant.

 

Looking someone in the eye as they speak to you indicates you are responsive to what they are saying- it makes them feel valued that you are attentive.

 

Going out to coffee or lunch should be valued for the precious connection to the human face, feeling the pulse, as it were, of those in company.

________________________________
As you would know by now, there’s always a quotation or two ready to seal the message of the day.

 

My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company. ~ Jane Austen

 

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative~ Oscar Wilde

 

A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books. ~ Chinese Proverb

                             ______________________________

Are we slipping further and further into an age where the only conversation we might be exposed to will be the dialogue in a novel?

 

Are you keeping the art of face to face conversation alive? Share today what you value the most about conversations with good friends and family or if you have a different view. Share your views in the comment box below.

 

Book Launch – Writer’s Joy!

I look back on Sunday with a glad and grateful heart. To see so many positive, supportive readers, friends, and family at the book launch of my novel, ‘Across Time and Space’ makes the process of writing a blessing – a joy!

What a wonderful afternoon of sharing ideas and experiences, reading and making new friends. To gather with people who are appreciative of the craft of writing is what cradles a writer through the quiet periods of solitude when the creative muse is the only other presence. Authentic voices that speak in the language of the mind and soul makes readers want more as they eagerly anticipate further stories.

To see aspiring young writers wanting to know more about the craft is invigorating.

My message has been and always will be – We all have a story to tell, let your voice be heard, do not let fear inhibit you.

This reader view sums up the connection to characters and events:

‘To be able to recognise human effort and spirit and hear voices that echo the wisdom that long creates our sense of self is the essence of the novel, ‘Across Time and Space’. The sentimental and poignant voices of the characters are authentic in their quest for recognition of self and existence, with both protagonists striving for justice both literally and metaphorically. The courage of conviction and desire for liberation may come at a cost, but dismantling the shackles of human limitation is far more rewarding. ‘Across Time and Space’ proves that the difference between impossibility and improbability is our own fear – abolishing fear and harking into our soul will set us free. I truly believe from a reader’s perspective, that’s what the psychological journey of Marcia nd Meryl is all about’. ~ (Khadija Taiba –  reader perspective at the book launch of ‘Across Time and Space’)

‘Across Time and Space’ straddles the positivity of coexistence in society regardless of difference, a message that is palpable today.  Decisions, choices, danger, and love connect to our essential state of being. Bullying and professional injustice, crime, and deception all knit together in the fabric of life where challenges serve to create the best version of those who struggle. The endurance of the human spirit shines as the brightest star on the darkest night in this tale of possibilities now and into the future.

I hope you will pick up a copy of ‘Across Time and Space’ and share your connections.

Which characters and situations resonate with you?

Get your copy of ‘Across Time and Space’ today. (Amazon, Book Depository, Abbeys Bookshop)

http://amzn.to/2mVO3z4

http://bit.ly/2sp4eEy

http://www.abbeys.com.au/book/across-time-and-space.do

http://www.loot.co.za/search?cat=qb&terms=Across+Time+and+Space+by+Mala+naidoo

 

 

 

Research and Sensitivity in Stories

A post read recently suggested writing from a knowledge base and not from imaginative creations that might be insensitive if writing about mental illness, physical disabilities, emotional disorders etc. While I agree with being sensitive by not causing injury to others, art should mimic and extend reality if understanding and connections are to be formed.

The question is – does one have to proceed with caution when creating a character with mental illness or a physical disability in a novel?

The depiction becomes insensitive when it supports stereotypes, insults, separates and denigrates actions and situations the character is placed in. To create a character who overcomes a difficulty by honing other powerful skills or having amazing support from family and community to achieve goals is indeed not insensitive but rather supportive of what a cohesive humanity is – certainly a message for raising the lot of the human condition.

The foremost purpose of writing, fiction, in particular, is to entertain the reader more than to inform. However, if the writer is able to strike a balance between entertain and inform, the reader is likely to gain valuable understanding from such a piece of writing. If written without dictating what is right and wrong then sensitivity should prevail and the writer is more likely to connect with the consciousness of the reader which might motivate the reader to read more books by the same writer.

When entertainment and purposeful information are included in a work of fiction, a level of research is necessary to sustain the story to its logical, authentic conclusion. If the storyteller/writer has first-hand experience of events, social issues, illness, particular ways of thinking and behaving then research is not the prerequisite as it would be for a nonfiction book that covers specialised areas such as crime, history, science, psychology, culture, economics etc.

Research will not go amiss in fiction writing, it should add colour and depth to the story plot and character representations. When creating characters with a medical condition, research around the condition or perhaps speaking to a medical specialist on how the condition manifests will add authenticity to the story. How much research should one engage in is dependent on how significant that character is to the overarching story or plot. Striking a seamless balance between the story and research is essential to avoid having the story appear like an ‘unofficial’ handbook or textbook. Shaping characters in true to life situations are more likely to lead to an enjoyable reading experience. For the writer to create authenticity in a story, it is necessary that the purpose of writing is to entertain first and then inform on matters that pertain to character and plot.

The writer has to give voice first to what he or she is passionate about. If one is to expose the harsh reality of particular situations prevalent in society, then that which makes the reader uncomfortable is equally necessary. We bandy around that we need to be ‘moved’ for change to occur – to be ‘moved’ is either happily or unhappily so, with joy or sadness. If we are to be catalysts for thought change through writing fiction or nonfiction books, it should come with some thought-provoking messages – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four might leave readers either grateful that they have control of the decisions they make in life or it might result in a re-examination of whether they are indeed free.

Fiction and nonfiction books are of equal value to the reader when they create thought change or thought searching connections.

What do you think? Should sensitivity be at the heart of all our writing? Should the writer entertain, inform and shock the reader?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

 

What’s Your Line? Who’s Your ‘Person’?

 

Why do certain quotations remain etched in memory long after the lines have been read or heard?

The association is attached to an emotion – painful or jubilant. When similar situations recur the lines that created an impact are recalled, linking the past emotional association to the present. Painful or joyous emotional experiences are triggered by words that emulate and express what the heart feels. Lyrics of particular songs act as a balm to ease pain, reignite bliss or act as a conduit to purge pent-up emotions.  Likewise, a character in a novel triggers an emotional response in the reader who feels a kinship with the character. Connections through language and people are the commonality we seek to belong in an ever-changing world.

Do you connect with any of these lines from literature?

‘I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then’

-Lewis Carrol – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

‘I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.’

-Herman Melville –Moby-Dick

‘The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.’

-Toni Morrison, Beloved

‘Do I dare / Disturb the universe?’

-TS. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

‘People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for’

-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

‘I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.’

-Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

‘Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.’

-George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

‘Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise’

– Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

 

What about the characters in literature that strike a chord with you?

·         Catherine Earnshaw from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights– in her torrid love for and forsaking of Heathcliff

·         Hamlet from Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark- caught in the web of the fratricide against his father and his mother’s marriage to the murderer, his uncle.

·         Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird- a father par excellence- role model extraordinaire.

·         Frankenstein’s monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein- abandoned creation seeking love

·         Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby– he creates exorbitant wealth to impress the girl who has his heart.

·         Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray- a handsome aristocrat who loses his virtue that his portrait cannot hide.

·         Winston Smith from George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four– living in hope and rebelling to reclaim his unattainable individuality.

·         King Lear from Shakespeare’s King Lear- an aging king who is misguided in dividing his kingdom based on the narcissistic need to hear how much he is loved.

There are countless evocative lines and characters that bring a connection in a moment of greatest need.

What is your favourite literary line? Who is your most endearing literary character?

Subscribe today and share your comment in the box below. Have you read  Across Time and Space? Start a discussion on the literary allusions evident in the novel.

 

Why do We Crave the Truth?

 

In a world where people and politics become questionable, a world in which we are manipulated,  gulled or seduced into believing all we are served each day which leaves us wondering, is ignorance bliss or is it better the devil you know?

What’s your choice to be?

The question we all toss around is, What is the truth, pray do tell me, in a bid to remove our own sense of perceived ignorance on a matter or situation around us. The truth we crave might yield many a sleepless night and deeply felt pain… but pursue it we must.

My sequel to Across Time and Space to be announced soon (watch this space) sees the protagonist relentless in her pursuit of the truth. Much is revealed that is not always palatable for the protagonist. Layer after layer of truth unfolds, each truth confusing the one that emerges before.  Yes, the complexity of life in what we want to know and what we reject, creates a truth only we understand. Likewise, literature, fiction, in particular, should reflect this universal dilemma.

Ultimately the truth will prevail, so should characters in our stories wait in an unprepared moment for some truth to emerge or should they assume the role of truth sleuth to steel themselves for the speculations on the truth/s that will emerge.

Add another complication to the truth: an individual’s denial of a truth or complete fabrication of a known truth.
The complexity deepens.
What is fact?  What is fiction?
Why does feeling one is being duped make the individual so tormented and restless?

Othello is manipulated by the cunning Iago whose vulnerability creates the need to be accepted and loved, above all by his wife Desdemona. This is his Achilles’ heel. He pursues a lie because he upholds that  ‘seeing is believing’ – he needs ocular proof. The slow seduction of deception is powerful in the face of vulnerability – all reason is lost. In this tale of woe lies a dire message, to listen to ‘all sides to a story,’ which is palpable, for therein lies the truth based on individual reasoning drawn from collective perceptions.

Political truths are presented through the ‘Iagos‘ of this world.  A good story should reflect global attitudes through the representation of a character/s and their actions.

What will the sequel to Across Time and Space reveal?

How do we create characters who accept truth or truthful representations of others? What is acceptance or the dubiousness and rejection of others based on?

Acceptance could be based on:
– consistent kind deeds or gestures
– owning up to a transgression
– humility of the character/s in the expression of their values
– reactions to the deception of others
– a forgiving nature
– a gentle and giving nature
– one who makes no claims to greatness
– one who will uphold a view even if they are the only one in the room doing so
– body language – looking one directly in the eye when confronted

Rejection could be based on:
– negative attitudes and behaviours towards others – judgemental
– jealousy and envy
– sycophantic displays
– narcissism
– one who makes excuses for not delivering what  is expected of them
– pack mentality on ‘versions’ of the truth.
– displaying body language of one who is sly, looking away unable to deliver a straight answer.

So is ‘seeing’ really the only way to believe?

 

Timeless Wise words

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes

-Mark Twain

——————–

Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it

-Mark Twain

——————–

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored

-Aldous Huxley, Complete Essays 2, 1926-29

——————–

The more I see, the less I know for sure

-John Lennon

———————

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth

-Buddha

———————

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

-Jesus Christ

———————

The world is indeed a mixture of truth and make-believe. Discard the make-believe and take the truth

-Sri Ramakrishna

——————–

As long as you are pure of heart, you speak the truth

-Umar ibn al-Khattab

——————–

To tell only half the truth is to give life to a new lie

– Chinese Proverb

 

Hidden truths will be unveiled in the sequel to Across Time and Space.

Have you read my novel, Across Time and Space?

The first two subscribers who sign up today and comment on your take on why we crave the truth will receive a free copy of Across Time and Space to read in advance of your reading of the upcoming sequel.

I look forward to hearing your views on why we need to know the truth.

What’s In a Name?

Have you ever stopped to ask people you meet along the corridors of life, ‘what does your name mean?’ Or ‘Are you named after a family member?’

Have you ever entertained thoughts of changing your name because it hindered you in some way or are you the proud bearer of your name?

***

So what’s in a name? 

A thinking, vibrant being

A giving, caring individual

A hard-working, self-sacrificing soul

A woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter

A man, a father, a husband, a son

A loving grandparent

An innocent child, given a name with love and pride

Identity

A name might have meaning behind it based on family history, heritage or culture.

Who are we to judge the person, behind a name, the name we’ve never heard before?

Such is the individual’s dilemma that some face, that we face,  regardless whether the name is ethnic or western in origin.

 

 What is judged in a name that has no western origin?

* English proficiency in speaking and writing

* Concerns regarding professionalism

* Does the person have an accent?

* Does the name bearer understand and apply the rigours of social etiquette in the place and company they find themselves in?

* Is the person intelligent?

* Does the person understand the law of their chosen homeland?

* Does the person read intellectual and philosophical texts?

* Is the person educated?

*Is the person one to be feared or mistrusted?

*Where was the person educated?

* Where does the person live?

* What’s that postcode again?

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What voice does the ethnic name bearer want to be heard?

I am me.

Get to know me.

Talk to me.

Try to understand me.

I would like to get to know you and understand you.

I live in a home with civilised values.

I might have the same goals you have.

I have a history.

I respect your history.

Please don’t judge me before you know me.

I don’t judge you, I seek to understand.

I am an ethnic individual, by whose definition I might ask?

I really don’t want another moniker.

 ______________________________

My name means rosary/meditation beads.

Hello.

What’s your name?

What does your name mean? How does it define you as you see yourself and your worth, which we all have, to share in this world?

________________________________

This makes me feel that I came into this world to write my name upon the face of life  with big letters.

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American Artist, poet and writer

A name pronounced is the recognition of the individual to whom it belongs. He who can pronounce my name aright, he can call me, and is entitled to my love and service

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American naturalist, poet and philosopher.

 

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish playwright, essayist, and poet

                       ——————

Celebrate diversity, celebrate the cultural origins of names. Value for the individual should come from what one upholds or defends to enhance the human condition. 

Was there a time in your life when you wanted to change your name to extend the opportunities that might have been available to you if your name had no particular ethnic or western origin?

Please comment in the box below, a history shared opens the pathway to understanding, tolerance and acceptance for a world we can boldly, safely and respectfully traverse.

 

Can You Imagine a World Without Laughter?

How often have you heard, ‘laugh and the whole world laughs with you?’

When we create suspense and villainous scoundrels as characters in novels, we keep readers on the edge of their seats, reading on beyond the bewitching hour and sometimes we ignore the benefit of a moment of comic relief that allows the reader/us to ‘take a break’ from the mounting tension. An anti-climax with the eruption of raucous laughter to ease tension is not the only way, humour injected, subtly at an appropriate moment will not be lost on a reader who is likely to feel, ‘Phew, finally!’

Likewise, an intensely sad story does not have to weigh the reader down in grief invested emotions and images throughout the novel – some brief moments of humour allows your reader to breathe and enjoy the realism of life’s situations. If humour is subtle it adds credibility to the story, it mirrors life in its essence.

Consider this scenario

A family sits grieving at the passing of their father, a stalwart to all. A guest arrives, sees the sadness and decides to recall a moment when the departed induced laughter with something said or a situation they found themselves in. This is subtle but suited to the purpose that remembrance of the joy a departed member brought to life does not have to be weighed down by ongoing intense sadness. The message is subtle enough not to be disrespectful of grief but instead offers an understanding that grief can be expressed through what the departed one was noteworthy for. While providing relief for the reader it also has a life message – feel sad at an irreplaceable loss but remember the fun times, celebrate the joy spent with the departed, hang on to fond memories. A bit of comic relief strengthens the message the writer hopes to instil. As Oscar Wilde aptly put it, Life imitates art far more than art imitates life. This gives the writer the opportunity to transform thinking by creating connections with the reader beyond the plot of the story.

A classic example that springs to mind is the role the Nurse plays in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, her bawdy humour certainly lightens the weight of the dilemma both Romeo and Juliet face. She is a memorable character whose mirth is fuelled by a loving and caring nature which makes her an enduring character.

 

What’s the takeaway from this example?

Love, fun, and laughter are essential human attributes if we are to survive the challenges that life throws at us. In a similar vein, stories should reflect this need.

Here are some lines that elicit a smile

·         I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again – This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

·         Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.- Albert Einstein

·         The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.- Jane Austen

·         I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens. – Woody Allen

·         No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar – Abraham Lincoln

·         We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth are the others here for I don’t know.- WH Auden

·         Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.- Mark Twain

·         Life is hard. After all, it kills you. – Katherine Hepburn

·         If you can’t get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance- George Bernard Shaw

Laughter reminds us of our common humanity.

How much humour do you expect in a good story? Share your views in the comment box below?

The Jury’s out on Mr Darcy!


Being a juror is a serious civic duty for some, for others, it creates a sense of entitlement and empowerment.

This recalls an experience from some years ago.

The early pleasantries of being a fellow juror soon diminished when baggage from the past and present private worlds seeped in, threatening to stymie a just call on the evidence presented.

Evidence pointed clearly to who was guilty, but, the demography of the victim, in this case, created speculation on innocence by two jurors making it ripe for a hung jury. Every flawed, argument was presented to ‘prove’ the victim was the guilty one.

The judge stood strong, ‘you’ve been a good bunch so far, go back and deliberate further, if you have to spend another week here you will have to. A verdict is imperative’.

Frustration filled the deliberation room as heads butted, bigots surfaced, anger flared and personal issues came to the fore, ‘those people are the worst elements in society‘ attitude created deep-seated animosity in what was a somewhat easy going, multicultural panel just a few days earlier. Most were committed to seeing justice served and were uncomfortable with the manipulations of the bigots.

The legal team dropped hints during the process, too, that their client, the accused, was ‘no Mr. Darcy’

A subtle reminder to one of the jurors mooting for a hung jury, the one who casually mentioned during the early days, of affable newness, that an overseas holiday was booked and expressed the hope that jury duty should be ‘done and dusted’ by then – a reminder that the holiday booked might have to be shelved if the deliberation continued led to a sudden turnaround from the miscreants who worked hand in glove – both had birth origins from the same geographic location – could this have been the reason for the shared bigotry?

Morning brought a dramatically revised attitude, their previously ‘innocent’ person was now guilty as sin!!

Mercurial!

Personal baggage weighing heavily, stooping the shoulders of the juror should be left at the door of the jury room,  just as the mobile phone is surrendered for safe keeping – to prevent external interference in the deliberation and evaluation of evidence.

Later it was revealed that the accused was being brought to court every day under tight security from prison. The accused was also under suspicion, to be tried at a later date, for rape!

No Mr. Darcy indeed!

What’s your take on jury duty? Twelve Angry Men or smooth sailing?

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