magic series: music

the hair on my arms slowly lifts as soon as the first note breaks the silence.music

my heart starts beating faster.

my breath quickens.

this feeling.

it grows in intensity with each bar.

as the solitary voice sways with me back and forth.

i can barely see ahead of me.

the tears, streaming down my face.

i can’t stop listening.

it’s got me.

the music.

got me bad.

it’s rhythm echoes left behind.

banging right through my bones

like the sound of rushing blood

until it catches a moment

in my throat.

lingering there.

i can’t help but sing along.

it’s got me.

the music.

got me bad.

Advertisements

magic: melody, dancing and you

magicdancing..

swaying my heavy body to the hypnotic beat..

takes me to a far away land,

reminds me of a time

when i dared to dream.

dared to remember the cause,

the plan,

the goal.

moving

to the sound of music in my head.

the endless song

playing in my mind’s ear.

i wondered if,

you heard it.

i am hoping that,

you’ll like it.

that it’ll steal you.

give you a peek into another world.

another time

where

the plan,

the goal

all intertwine

and give birth

to a beautiful melody

of time with me and you:

magic.

what really makes good writing?

“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” Tennessee Williams

how we perceive or understand what we read is mostly subjective, right? it follows then that how we write is also subjective. good writingsome of us look for good grammar as a yardstick for good writing. others look for phrasing. others look at syntax. others just look for something. and we draw assumptions about the writer based on these filters. preconceived, learnt behaviours we might not even realise we have.

but what really makes good writing?

briefly, here are the basic characteristics of good, effective writing:

  • Good writing has a clearly defined purpose.
  • It makes a definite point.
  • It supports that point with specific information.
  • The information is clearly connected and arranged.
  • The words are appropriate, and the sentences are conciseemphatic, and correct.

Mike Consol captures this so aptly in his article: Kill the Euphemisms

side topic

many companies are recognising that it is essential to invest in good copy, read about  How Facebook had to go beyond robospeak 

the long shots: truth in comedy

the long shotsSo I braved torrential Cape Town rain on a Tuesday evening, thinking to myself, ‘this better be good’ and half hoping I wasn’t going to be one of two people who bothered to show up. Little did I know, the Long Shots have quite a following.

The Long Shots are an improvisation troupe based in Cape Town, takes impromptu to another level. Or so I was set to discover when I went to one of their once-a-month shows at the Truth Café on Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.

The Truth in Comedy show is made up of short and long form improvisation. All the sketches are unrehearsed and the actors simply make up action and dialogue based on the skimpy outlines provided by the directors and the suggestions thrown in by the all-too-eager audience. And the audience participation is what made the show special for me.

The sketches ranged from an interactive poem with the starting line, ‘ Jacob Zuma has 6 wives’ and ends with ‘would you give me weed’. You can imagine the chaos in between. To a multimedia presentation (with actors as the ‘presentation’) about the plight of the sloth in Kazkhastan presented by a Russian Professor.

Even when someone from the audience shouted, ‘Zimbabwe’ when asked for a title for film made in Korea, the actors launched into made-up ‘Korean’ with suitably hilarious English translation, as if there was nothing out of place with the combination.

Comedy is obviously a rather subjective art, there were some moments that were downers for me. But judging by the roaring audience behind me, there were definitely enough winning moments to say the show was a success.

This show was their first at the Truth Café, the Long Shots’ new home. They will perform here every second Tuesday of the month. The troupe offers a weekly drop-in class on Thursday evening, where anyone is welcome to have fun with improv.

Facebook page: ‘The Long Shots’ Improvised Comedy Troupe.

music and freedom

so you can imagine my excitement when i saw a poster for a freedom day concert at the City Hall (Cape Town).. the City Hallfreedom day concert is an impressive building, for sure… but what really excited me was that Paul Hanmer and McCoy Mrubata… Had no clue who Amaryoni were… the Moreira Project – somewhat an enigma for me, whenever I’ve been to a festival and Moreira is on the bill, I’ve somehow never managed to see them…

the thought of attending a City Hall Sessions brought memories of the last time I was there, in another wing of the City Hall building… watching Zim Ngqawana playing with Kyle Shepherd – probably his ‘farewell’ performance in Cape Town… a very special performance indeed.. This reminiscing mingled with memories of when I performed as part of an annual my high school  used to put on at the City Hall…

i digress,  so it’s with all these mixed thoughts that I arrived at the City Hall on Freedom Day…

pondering the fact that it is rather somewhat significant that Hanmer and Mrubata are able to perform in the City Hall on Freedom Day, considering that there was a time when they couldn’t share a stage because of the colour of their skins… never mind the fact that Crawford and Gugulethu are barely a stone throw away from each other… their heartwarming and energetic track, Johannesburg Mountains, a tribute to their working home, Johannesburg. Feya Faku on trumpet was a surprise!

speaking of surprises, Moreira Chonguica, was certainly a surprise… his lyrical saxophone, definitely something that stayed with him long after i’d left the City Hall… his crazy drummer, you had to be there!

of course, every struggle, victory, moments of peace, moments of discord, moments of protest are usually remembered according to the music of that time, Amaryoni, brought back that spirit and filled the Hall with their a cappella sound of songs freedom, of reflection, of remembering, of not forgetting… I was touched… transported to a time when as a little girl, a neighbour and his friends would entertain with renditions of freedom songs (at the time, I had no idea what significance these songs held except that the melodies and harmonies filled the space beautifully)…

thoughts: mirrored reflections..

then there are those moments when a reflection in a mirror catches my attention. just as i start to follow it. a shadow cowers over it making it hard to read the words underneath. we carry on…

mirrored reflections 2

listening to the music around us. until the next moment of clear silence comes around. We obey the beat inside and climb into it. Just we are about to reach the pinnacle of the crescendo. It starts raining. While frantically searching for cover. A window pops up, opens wide enough to see the other side.

random: unicorns dipped in magic

make ideas realideas are fleeting acquaintances that come and go as they please. meaningless with no follow up or proper plan for arresting them and turning them into reality. everyone can come up with ideas on tap. most things began as ideas, didn’t they?

some say the best ideas are conceived during moments of whimsical abandon. in rooms full of like-minded bodies, searching together, pursuing a goal.

but they lie, ideas are cheap without any logic in hindsight. they require rationale to work and grow into meaningful creations that can be consumed meaningfully…

here are some fleeting anecdotes that have passed through my head… lately…

unicorns dipped in magic

The silence you only get when it snows\unicorns dipped in magic\bumping into people who look like they don’t have homes\riddled spirits\incompatible figures\incoherent metaphors\comprehension in their eyes\means they tolerate the lies\toldwith straight faces\with no regard\for all the places\these hearts have been to\and back\hope still lives\and love will never lack\spaces to fill…

ideas are fleeting

Pens down\and the genie leaves the room\If you breathe\You won’t miss it\Arresting silence\(is not) tranquillity\Worth every cent\Ideas are fleeting acquaintances\They come and go as they please\Hardly bothering us much\Like the sun shines during the day\And the moon at night\Beautiful strangers who never meet\We consume\without question\

 

 

sonnet 116: challenging life

sonnet 116When people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it should not be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language – and that it what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say it how it is.

It isn’t a hiding place, it is a finding place.’

Jeanette Winterson, from Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Came across this quote on Dawn Garisch’s blog, and I was practically jumping on my bed because earlier this afternoon I was trying to help a bunch of grade 11 Xhosa, native-speaking kids unpack Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds”. It was such an awesome experience for me to watch them really throwing themselves and their eyes light up as the words of the poem started making sense. Of course it could possibly because this sonnet is about love.

I am a big advocate of the power of poetry in teaching. Poetry allows learners to dream and come up with word images that transport them to faraway lands, to dream new worlds. Most importantly, it gives them essential skills that help in unpack complex concepts. It allows for brainstorming. Structured thinking. Definitely promoting creative thinking. Seeing links between words and concepts and goes a long way towards helping them access their school curriculum. Poetry is a playful way of learning, for sure..

And for those, who really live in dangerous situations (literally). Who see and breathe negativity around them. Those who live in poverty. It allows them space to exhale and take in new ideas. To escape for a moment into their imagination and be silly.

book o’ love: verses 2 – 5

book o love 12

Loving over a sandwich on a balmy spring afternoon

We spoke for the first time.

I’d been circling you.

Didn’t know if you’d noticed

Until that day.

We stood in your kitchen

Oblivious to the voices,

the bodies

milling around us

 

 book o love

3

First kiss

My 25th birthday

Encounters film festival,

Some theatre in town

 

I’d been waiting in pensive anticipation,

For my birthday kiss,

But when our lips met.

That first time.

That first kiss

Was like coming up for air.

I can still taste it.

Remember it.

 book o love 3

4

 

First hang out

20 October

Your place

I was on my way home from a stressful exam. I remembered that you said you’d be at home that afternoon. So I took a chance and knocked on your door.

I don’t remember what we spoke about that day besides the Johnny Depp movie that was playing in the background.

I was only just too happy to be in the same space as you.

book o love 4

5

First date

Band: Sun of a thousand blues

Somewhere in town

 

Nervous,

I think we both were,

Smokey room.

Drinks in hand

Loud chatter and music

Forcing you,

Me

To whisper

Breathe closely

into each other’s ears

 

That night, as we lay

On the floor

In your living room.

I could see stars

Through the ceiling.

 

book o love 6