Hint: It’s not a 21 day creative lockdown challenge
It took an enforced national lockdown combined with my compulsion for serial productivity to make me realise the true creative restoration lying in a lockdown, and it wasn’t as I thought, being more creative.
This is a little tale about starting things. It’s also about quitting and how in this age of do, make, be — giving up and turning your back on something can sometimes be the best thing for your creative wellbeing.
First, some background
It was a strange and rare occurrence — a night on which I wasn’t particularly hungry. I clicked on the gas and heated three slices of bread in the pan. No, I don’t own a toaster. It’s part of my ‘living with less’ lifestyle philosophy. Once golden brown, each slice first got a sliver of butter. As I watched it melt into the rye I contemplated my toppings.
On one slice, I spread almond butter — the kind with chunks. On the second slice, marmite — I like mine quite thick and gloopy and swirled in with the butter. On…
My poor dog, Shumba, always gets this gook in his eyes. Most mornings, he blinks his still handsome hello at me through a thick, goopy slime. My vet attributes it to dry tear ducts. Basically he’s crying snot (my dog — not the vet). Every morning, while I undertake my much loved coffee ritual, I also clean the gook from his eyes. He knows what’s coming. When he sees me approach with the folded tissue and eye drops in hand he drops to the floor in a dramatic show of surrender like a soldier in combat, but willingly tilting his…
It’s 7:43 in the morning. I’ve just had a blitz shower — taps go on, you soak yourself, cut the water, soap everything that needs washing and lathering, taps go on again for a quick rinse and you’re done. I silently say farewell to all the ballads and great ideas showers used to hold.
My coffee is brewing on the stove in my little moka-pot. That’s 250 ml of water right there. I’ve become the equivalent of a weight obsessed calorie counter. Except I’m not counting calories. I’m measuring every drop. Stage 4 water restrictions are imminent. For Cape Town…
I’ve travelled in humid, winding greenery
Sweat beading down the small of my back
I’ve lived in unkind, white winters so biting —
the only affection you recall is the release of frost
From your fingers.
The desert does not pander to any singular season.
She scorches you when you’re hungry for exploration,
questioning your commitment.
Yet licks you kindly with her soft, dusty tongue
Just as you begin to feel alone.
She’ll pierce her thunder grey resolve
Weeping on you when you need soothing.
But scratches into your heels with nails of shale
when you’ve roamed arrogantly far on her playa.
You’ll resent her — think her harsh and cruel.
And then she’ll…
I’ve let a desert day slip by without acknowledging the thoughts traversing through my mind. Eight days and a morning have passed in which I’ve had to find sleep to hypnotic base and risen to tangerine streaks splattered across the skies. I don’t know what transformation here is made of but somehow the beauty in the abrasion is where the healing begins.
For every day I wandered towards the layered blue and grey cutout mountains, my feet and my willpower grow in resilience to simply break away. To rake together singular memories of a day laid to rest feels, out…
It’s true what they say, the days here really do bleed into one. But as similar as they are in their routine, their collection of oddities amid the heaving flow of sun baked days culminating in illuminated nights, so too every day is unique — emblazoned with a peculiarity all of its own. Yesterday was not Thursday. Yesterday was potjie day. The extended group from our camp had finally joined the brigade. We were now an 18+ person strong theme camp, a little society all of our own. The potjie contest, aside from every other night’s communal, cooking fire, was…
How far does one have to journey to hear one’s own thoughts? I keep coming back to this very same desire. For the first few days in Tankwa town I thought it was only until the edge of the music’s audible fading. Until the sweet spot where humanity’s techno, base-heavy beat dwindles and the morning call of nature resumes her gentle presence. It was the place where I could sit on the edge of both worlds and tap into their dichotomy. No?
Then for a day or two I thought it was perhaps further. Today I walked twice as far…
I’m writing by the light of a lantern. It’s important to pause amid the dust and hustle to scribe the words of the heart.
You, my dear — yes you. You are written on the walls of my heart. Always you. No amount of waiting makes no matter.
Whether one is waiting for apple cinnamon pancakes flipped by the young boy with large brown eyes, thrice in the air, who dances like a robot for other pancake queuers, or simply waiting for the person you love, time passes no slower.
Talking to the guy with piercing blue eyes and pinprick…
How far do you think one has to walk not to hear the incessant buzz of humanity? A distance before nature is louder than our electric chaos? I imagine it’s far. I didn’t get there today. I must have walked for about ten minutes only. I could go no further. It was 10:00 am, and I opted instead for shade.
The sun begins to bake in the early hours here in the karoo, sustaining thorny shrub life and sticky nodule covered creations. They know how to exist here. We do not. We come to a sanctuary, amid black…
Metaphorical thinker. Always hungry.