Anne Tyler – A Firm Favourite

I’ve mentioned that the goals for this year are going to be quiet ones, but something I’ve been thinking a lot about is what reading I’ll be doing this year. Every year I have the mad goal of reading 100 books and I never ever make it. This year it’s 50. I’m hoping that’s not too ambitious. It might be…

Anyway, I was thinking that I really should go back to my favourites a bit this year. I keep making the mistake of grabbing at what others are reading to keep myself more informed on the contemporary/popular stuff and it’s not really my style to do so.

This month I’m visiting with Anne Tyler. She’s been my book friend for almost 20 years now. I’ve got 17 of her books and there are quite a few I haven’t read yet.

Something I have realised about Anne Tyler is that SO MANY of her characters are Atypical. And of course, since discovering that I am Atypical myself, it seems mad that it took me so long to notice. As a younger reader and a writer, Anne Tyler, Nick Hornby, and John Irving introduced me to the most delicious characters and were collectively responsible for my obsession with multi-dimensional and interesting protagonists. That love has never left me and now as I grow to know myself better I understand why!

I know you’ll never read this, Anne, but I adore you. Macon Leary was the first character I ever fell (platonically) in love with. And more recently, Kate Battista stole my heart. Your mind babies are amazing! You showed me that we don’t have to create what we see around us but we can create those that consume us from the inside. And because of you I got to notice and find other amazing writers who were also writing about amazing unconventional characters so I got to fall even more in love with reading and become less uptight about writing. How incredibly freeing that is!

And now I get to dive into The Beginner’s Goodbye. I’ll admit I’m afraid. Probably I should find the tissues…

Quiet Resolutions

This is the first time I’ve ever entered a year by wondering how many losses it will bring us. I’ve struggled with suicidal ideation my whole life, and not even once have I greeted a brand new year by wondering if I will make it to the end of it. But here we are. And wondering feels like all we do these days, doesn’t it?

As the covid death toll rises, the stories get closer and closer to home. Our tiny church has lost a most beloved member to this plague. I’ve watched friends deal with way too many family deaths in far too short a space of time. And I have to wonder: are some of us dying of broken hearts? I heard of two sisters who died within a week of each other. Just two towns over from where we are. If my sister died, I would die of a broken heart. I don’t think I could fight covid while nursing a shattered psyche.

I am scared. I am scared for myself, and I am scared for you.  (more…)

Purple Footprints on a White Carpet

  • January is my favourite time of year. Partly because January means that the hell that is Christmas is over, but also because I suppose somewhere in this kinda-flighty-kinda-romantic brain of mine there exists an irreparable love of new beginnings. As always, I will note that I am aware of the snark and eye-rolly feelings that accompany many when it comes to resolutions and starting over. I get it. I read all the Bridget Jones books at least three to five times each and therefore I know that plans of improving on one’s habits are quite typically short-lived for most of us. I, however, have no goals of eating less cheese or chocolate. Any concern regarding the size of my derriere has more to do with wondering if I should be worried about how much weight I’ve put on since changing my meds, or if I should just shrug and go along with it. I admit though, there is a bit of bummage concerning how long I have before I need to rethink my wardrobe. Thankfully a lot of my clothing is one size fits most. (more…)

July is the New January

Remember back in March when we thought we had to get through three weeks of lockdown and then life would be cool again? Yeah that fantasy was lovely for about 3 minutes and then…

Well? It’s July already!

And seriously I need to let go of the “after the pandemic is over” idea. Because guys, this nonsense is eating our lives! Or mine at least.

So I need to force the reset myself a little. I’ve got to accept and move on from the struggles with my business. I’ve got to accept and move forward with making a life within this weirdness. And it has GOT to be a little (lottle!) more balanced than it is right now.

I struggle with life. Balance is the most illusive thing for me. Honestly without my husband I would mostly forget to eat and drink water. Nevermind anything else. Routine? I thrive on it. But i’m so infuriating incapable of cultivating it.

But even the tiniest bit of balance does make a difference. Lately I’ve been forcing a shut off in the evenings and on weekends when it comes to work, and the success of that has actually kind of helped. By creating “boundaries” there (to the best of my ability) I can acknowledge that a little bit of balance might be possible.

Because I do want that balance.

I want to create more. Cook, crochet, write, craft, colour. These things bring me peace and yet I neglect them so much.

I want to read more. I had such a beautiful reading habit going at the beginning of the year and then corona hit and with it came the depression that I’m sure many of us are familiar with, and I fell out of the habit. This thing that I love I deny myself. Consistently. I need to stop that.

I also want to fix my house! I mean really! There are so many small things that I can do now and then and I must. Everything is a mess. Everything is just waiting to be attended. Attending those things would actually put me in a much better headspace.

It can be hard though. My body doesn’t always cooperate. I tend to push myself to breaking point by using adrenalin, which is productive, but ultimately destructive. Because the balance is so non-existent.

Perhaps I should try some balance today…

Locking Down Harder

This morning The Herald reported that Port Elizabeth’s hospitals are at breaking point. For the past couple of days I’ve been feeling very weary about this as an inevitability, but seeing it in black and white still kicked a bit.

Here’s the thing:

So may folks keep shouting about how there’s a 99.9% survival rate. Granted I don’t know the exact figure, folks just like using that one. The odds are good though. Most folks survive.

And this stat is being used as a stick to beat us all with. Oh the government is overreacting. Oh we are all sheep and we’re overreacting. Stupid peasants ruining the economy with fear tactics.

But those stats are from people who got help. People who got to hospital and were given oxygen and helped. We’re not going to get help if the infections go up. We’re going to make all of our health care providers too sick to work, for one, and for another we’re going to max out the hospitals. Which is already happening.

So. Full hospitals.

Too few medical staff.

Now what?

Well now our covid riddled bodies can’t get help.

What happens to the stats then?

Do they stay at a 99.9% survival rate?

I hardly think so.

Nevermind that a hospital full of covid patients cannot take on any other patients. So. Don’t have a heart attack. Don’t have a stroke. Don’t have wonky blood pressure or blood sugar or break your arm or leg or cut yourself or get an infection or have a kidney problem or or or or….

It’s not a 99.9% survival rate. There’s a knock-on effect just waiting to snowball out of control.

It’s scary as fuck.

Wear your damn mask. Wash your hands. Stay home as much as possible.

We have to keep creating a whole new normal for now.

Fine and Unfine

Anyone else feeling like a walking contradiction these days?

There are some things I LOVE about being in lockdown:

  1. The Predictability

I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to the unknown. I like to have an idea of what my day will look like and anything that falls outside of that idea tends to be a bit of an issue. I get that this is a “me” thing. But I have to admit that I do kind of like knowing exactly what my days are going to look like and that any deviation from that idea will be on my own terms. There’s a real peacefulness to that.

2. The Lack of Guilt

In general I need a lot of downtime. Like an extraordinary amount. I’m a little embarrassed by how much I need because it does seem a little pathetic for the most part. Outside of lockdown this either leads to guilt for not being social enough, or burnout from being too social. Lockdown has taken the pressure off which is quite a pleasure.

3. The Ease of Pyjama Days

In the beginning of lockdown I barely got dressed. I do now. Turns out it is kind of important to get dressed in order to actually start your day. But because we’re isolated, I can take a pyjama day every now and then and not feel a consistent nag that someone might pop in.

Basically a lot of my silly anxieties have been alleviated in lockdown.

But then, some new ones have arisen: (more…)

The Best Place

Every time I do a little bit of a chat on Gino’s Spot I think gosh girl, stick to writing and honestly that pretty much sums up my entire life because you know what I get to do when I write? Edit. You know what I don’t get to do when I life? Edit.

So, what I want to do here is elaborate a bit on THE BEST SHOW EVER!

Did you yell-read that? I hope you did because really: It’s my absolute bloody favourite thing ever. Even more favourite than Harry Potter (JK Rowling keeps hurting my feelings, dammit!) and maybe even a teeny tiny bit more favourite than (for shame!) Doctor Who.

Hmmm….

Ok maybe not Doctor Who.

Ok maybe yes Doctor Who.

This is a very hard choice! Don’t you hate it when your favourites get dethroned? It’s very unsettling.

(She can totally edit this and yet this is how it’s turning out…? What the fork, man?)

Of course, I am talking about The Good Place. This show, man! It is truly the best thing! Everything about it is just so great. From the storyline to the chemistry between the characters to the settings to the cinematography to the humour to the poignant observations. All of it is so perfect.

Every part of it just fits together so well. The 6 main characters are all so completely different to each other yet so beautifully suited. And the character development is just so heartwarming and sniffleworthy.

Please go watch this show. It will make you happy. It will make you happier than any other show you have ever watched.

It is truly that damn lovely.

 

There Are No Peaceful Protests

We have this special thing in South Africa where protests are most often carried out by people singing and dancing in the streets. It is beautiful. And it is something my disconnected white self has stood in awe of ever since I was a little girl. Still to this day every time I witness it I get this warm feeling of upliftment in my stomach. How do they do that? The question rolls over and over in my mind. Sometimes I even wonder about it out of the blue.

It’s always the same: Someone will take the lead, and a mass of voices will answer. It is exquisite poetry.

I have seen other forms of protest from other countries. Though honestly I imagine the pictures I have in my head may very well be a combination of actual news footage and fiction.

There are ideas I love though.

Those protests where people are silent with taped mouths. Somehow this speaks volumes.

Or when folks stand still with candles. More volumes.

Or when they kneel during the national anthem at a sporting event.

Peaceful.

Or so we call it. (more…)

The Righteous Gemstones and a Question About Mega Churches

I told you I like to do this thing where I watch random stuff that I’ve never heard of, right? So on Friday afternoon I was scrolling through Showmax and I came across The Righteous Gemstones.

Dude? What the what?!

This is the most bizarre hilarious af thing I have ever watched! I freaking loved it!

I should admit that I’m not entirely sure it isn’t blasphemous, but if it is, it’s in a punching up kind of way so I think that’s fine  so I’m just going to go ahead and keep laughing my head off. I’m a huge (ok average) fan of Adam Devine too so that was another bonus. He’s just nunu adorable, right?

Basically, the Gemstones are a mega church family, and the series follows their church building and personal lives and holy Lord it is hilarious and terrible and just everything you want out of wtf viewing. They swear like crazy which just makes it even funnier for me for some reason.

It did make me wonder one thing though, something I’ve never really thought about until now….

What is the point of a Mega Church? (more…)

Miracle Workers

So yesterday Miracle Workers landed on Showmax and as soon as my husband clocked off work I dragged him to come and watch because excuse me when Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi do something together you drop everything and run.

Guys: Go and watch this show!

It’s not hilarious exactly. It’s funny, yes. Very funny. But it’s also just such a great story in how it was written and it works out kind of silly feel-good which I love. The imagination that went into creating this “heaven” is so fun and the bizarre version of God and where He came from is cute as hell and I just loved the whole thing.

I should warn you, if you’re not inclined to have a sense of humour about religious stuff then you might want to rather give this one a skip. God is portrayed as a bit of an idiot, although it’s in a given-up-on-humanity kind of way so maybe that’s less blasphemous than it seems. He’s feeling a bit meh about humans so he’s taken up weird-ish hobbies.

Kind of like us in lockdown… (more…)