You know me. You know I’m a whore for memes that contain questions. And by now, you know how I do it; namely, mess with the title, use it as an excuse for yet another playlist, ignore the rules and fail to nominate anyone. I do generally add my own questions to this one, but they so rarely get answered that I’m lazily leaving that out. Thanks HH, cool questions.
Also, my wifi is spending so much time awol at the moment, that it’s good to have some writing prompts and patience. (Is it just me, or do you ever get seriously fed up with peering into the bowels of clouds for silver linings? And the relentless pressure to pretend that tin foil is silver. But I do it.)
1. Since you are all writers, what is the best compliment someone could give you about your writing?
When people tell me that I write well, I say I know, which has, on occasion, prompted remarks about my ego. But! But but but … it’s the one thing I know I can do. The times when I feel unable to are rare. I’m secure in it even in low moods – I need it. I’ve become cheerfully assholish enough to regard you write well as an observation, rather than a compliment. So what the diggressing, waffling, rambling fuck do I want as a compliment? The words that humble me most, are those telling me that my words have finally ventured beyond the fluid and facile, and made some kind of a difference to someone’s moment. But I am not writing a novel, neither do I want to; what I write is only relevant to me at the moment of writing and to you (sometimes) at the moment of reading. It’s what I do; it isn’t a shoo-wahhh spiritual experience.
You’re So Vain (you probably think this blog is about you) (lol)
2. What’s the wisest thing you have ever heard anyone say?
I have wise friends, who have said many wise things to me and I can’t seem to choose one. Instead I shall show off by quoting the Dalai Lama, because I (and a fuckload of other people) heard him speak in lovely Kirstenbosch one evening and … look, I am ashamed at this point, to tell you that I do not recall one word of his lecture … but some people asked questions afterwards and two answers have remained with me ever since. I guess it was around 15 years ago? I dunno. One upper middle class white woman asked a what is it all for type of a question and he got completely distracted by waving to a teeny kid who was running along in front of the stage, and then he said that’s why we must do it – for them, for children. And a different upper middle class white woman asked what we could do for Tibet. He said, if you meet a Chinese person, you could tell them how you feel about Tibet, but if they don’t want to listen, just let it go and walk away. It’s never really what people say though, is it? Nothing new under the sun and all that. It’s how they say it, when they say it and how you process and apply it that counts. For all I know (or care), the wisest words in the world could be doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo. That day on the toes of Table Mountain, there was light rain, a rainbow, a fast and furious bayete to a joyously giggling Dalai Lama, one astonishing sunset drumbeat on a Japanese drum the size of my house … frankly, the DL could have burped into a bottle and I’d have found meaning there. Isn’t that fabulous?
George Ezra – Listen to the Man (this one’s a must for fans of Sir Ian McKellen)
3. How would you describe yourself?
Human. It’s a handy catchall, it encompasses almost everything else about me. I’m a whole lot more interested in other people’s observations of me than mine. None of it ought to be limiting.
R.E.M. – Electron Blue (I’m gasoline)
4. What would you regret not doing in your life?
I can’t think of anything. I know what I’m grateful for and I think I’m decent at being conscious enough to relish the good things (the only times I don’t are when depression goes beyond melancholic – using the clinical definition of the word). All I want is to outlive my dog; I have no wishes past that point. And regretting anything in the past is utterly futile (but they’re the only ones we’ve got).
Bright Blue – Weeping (it doesn’t matter now, it’s over anyhow)
5. Where do you find peace?
The absolutely finest way to remove the wrinkles and mould from my soul, is to spend even just one day driving around a South African game reserve. Even finer if there’s the amazing quietness of an elephant’s footfall, or a sighting of something shy and elusive, or something fierce, or something … anything. In the absence of game, plants and birds are awesome enough on their own. The other magical places are the sea, mountains, desert and long, long roads. Also, very strong sleeping pills.
Richard Ashcroft – On a Beach (thinkin’ of you and the love I got)
6. What are you grateful for?
My friends, nextofkin, my dog, my house, the fact that I live in South Africa, books, music, words, animals, art, laughter, my solar powered electricity, my view, the sea, mountains, bushveld, my psychiatrist, the fact that you are reading this, rain, birds, trees, food, water, technology, cigarettes and chocolate milk.
Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (and if I should buy jelly beans, have to eat them all in just one sitting)
7. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
I’ve answered that question more than once on my blog already, which is a good opportunity to review and refine something, as well as to ponder its purpose. So. Hello, younger self … I no longer have the faintest idea of what to tell you – so that’s your one thing I’m afraid. I just don’t know.
Whatever Happened to the Heroes No More Heroes Anymore
8. What stresses you out?
Conflict, angry silence, crowds, beaurocracy, debt, phone calls, the future and loss, loss, loss, loss, loss …
Beck – Loser (babyyy)
9. In one word, what is standing between you and your biggest goal?
10. What inspires you?
Erm. Inspires me how? To write, paint, compose, knit, cook a masterpiece? To fling my arms wide and run slo-mo through a flowery meadow? To crawl out of bed and slouch towards consciousness? I’d have given so many answers once upon a time, I’m at a loss now though. I’m lucky if I can work up the energy to feel compelled, let alone inspired. So I guess I can cite habit and tenacity. Or is that motivation rather than inspiration? Maybe I should rethink this.