Tuesday, April 15, 2014

They Knew Love Was The Mission

There are few things more poisonous than cynicism. Cynicism prevents us from taking the leap of faith that could mean our greatest happiness, our success, our prosperity. Cynicism closes our minds to possibility, and to each other, because if we believe that true friends don't exist, or men never have good intentions or good hearts, or the human race is doomed by its corrupt nature, we are closing ourselves off from real connection with other people. We are closing ourselves off from the true, good nature of the world. 

Cynicism has greatly coloured my South African society in the last few months. The Oscar Pistorius trial, the Nkandla scandal, e-Tols, Zuma and the general election in just a month, disillusionment is rife. And it is no different anywhere else in the world. Nobody is happy with the state of their country or the judicial system or the economy, and it is very easy to turn blind to the fact that all is not lost and that everything is actually going to be alright. The human race is progressing slowly but surely into an era of greater enlightenment, prosperity and honouring of each other for who we are in our unique beings. 
We have a choice. We can take the poison of cynicism and go into a coma of unseeing and misery, or we can be active participators and see-ers of the magnificence of our planet and each other. See the good that lies within every core. 



 I watched the following video almost two years ago and about 10 minutes ago I found the link on my computer and rewatched it. I feel so blessed to be living in a time when a song like that can be sung to hundreds of Nobel laureates and nominees and broadcasted for us all to see. I honestly became quite teary eyed watching this. I hope you all enjoy it too.



Ah. I'm beyond words for my love for this song and these people.



Anthea



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scorched in Dystopia


I’ve been inexorably, (horrifyingly) prejudiced, my dear readers. As you know, I am a proud South African, but one faction of SA nationalism that I have avoided (sadly, like the plague) is South African literature, particularly South African fiction. I’ve never been one to write off things because of one nasty experience, but I can without a doubt say that I can blame one South African novel for this: The Restless Supermarket. Warning: NEVER read this book unless you plan on sitting for 6 months with a ruler and a dictionary, or have a particular affiliation to entire paragraphs on grammar. Nevertheless, as part of my matric English requirements, I nestled down with a South African novel, and I can joyously say that it has changed my perceptions indefinitely.

The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing is a story about Mary and Dick Turner, an impoverish white husband and wife living on a farm in southern Rhodesia in the height of racist white colonial times. Mary’s marriage to Dick is simply a convenience, and soon after moving to the Dick’s farm, she transforms from an aloof, coquettish 30 year old, still stuck in her girlhood, to a bitter, fury-filled woman, as scorched as the land upon which she lives. She holds great resentment toward Dick for his failure as a farmer, but her true wrath expresses itself in her racist attitudes toward the native servant in her home and workers on their land. Dick is ill one year and she is forced to monitor the crop work, however this culminates in her striking a worker with a whip because of his audacity to request for water using English. The native does not retaliate, but something snaps in Mary that day and she has a nervous breakdown. Moses, that same native then later becomes their home servant. Mary begins to become obsessed with Moses’ presence to the point of showing an almost attraction toward him. Forced off their farm by a conniving neighbouring farmer, Dick, as worn out as his wife, and Mary plan to leave for a holiday, but Mary has fallen into a deep isolation and madness, partly from her foreseeing of her fate after she betrays Moses while in her state of insanity. Moses, who has been playing a game all along with his oppressor, takes back his power and dignity and murders Mary and hands himself in to the white colonialists, who write off the incident as a native killing for the jewellery of his mistress.

While reading this book, and the actions and attitudes of the horrid Mary, I can't say I've ever hated a character more in my life. I am fundamentally repugnant to any form of racism, partly because of my upbringing as a youth of Post-Apartheid South Africa and then also, that’s just who I am. To read first hand from the racist herself of the attitude of white colonials was absolutely horrifying for me, but is testament to the brilliance and masterfulness of Doris Lessing. The Grass is Singing has in a way brought me closer to my country in that I am more knowledgeable of southern Africa’s complexity in its history and its truth, for as Doris Lessing said, “There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” 

I have been the richer for it to see how far human attitudes and existence has evolved through this book. I have found myself to now believe that South African authors have stories to tell, great, epic stories, and I look forward to biting my teeth into my next South African novel.




Anthea


P.S  That South African novel will undoubtedly be Fiela's Child by Dalene Matthee, an English Translation of an Afrikaans book under the title Fiela se Kind. Await a review.


P.P.S The above blog was written for my matric English task. 20/20! Oh yeah.


Friday, March 14, 2014

A Series of Amazingness: The 86th Academy Awards 2014

I think most of us are constantly sharing cool/funny/mind blowing/surprising/heart warming videos with our friends (Facebook or not). I know I'm always ecstatic to find an inspiring video that picks me up and makes me jump at life, but then also I do adore a funny video that makes me smile. I'm in lockdown at the moment as I'm about to start my first term matric exams and I'm in a space of total focused action. However, I've been lagging on my blogging responsibilities and so I have decided to share a series of videos that I have found on the web that I believe should be spread far and wide for you all to enjoy also.




So, did any of you watch the Oscars last month? I certainly did, and though it doesn't trump last year's for me, I still adored Ellen -especially her opening monologue where she "mentions" Jennifer Lawrence falling last year on her way up the stairs to claim her Oscar for Best Actress. That was quite hilarious. My favourite moment however was when Lupita Nyongo won the Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave. Her incandescent dress (and self) floated across the stage and every person in the auditorium was genuinely ecstatic for her. Her speech was a touch fast and she named and thanked every single member in the production of 12 Years a Slave right down to the guys who handed her a glass of water, once; but nevertheless, her message of gratitude and most importantly her final shout out to the world was refreshing and warming.




"When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid"

Wow, girl. 



Anthea



Friday, February 28, 2014

One of those worthless days

I go through phases where my violin is my best friend, where the thought of going through a day without playing it is unbearable. But then, on the opposite side, there are days that when I get into my practising and I feel worthless. 
Today is one of those worthless days. 


I have never been the sort of person who blames my life difficulties and problems on other people, but today, today I am telling you that the source of all my unhappiness is because of this man; Fritz Kreisler. See, Kreisler is one of the most renowned violin music composers, and any violinist who's anyone at all has played his pieces. I've been playing violin since I was 8, and I can look back and see that I have come incredibly far; however, I've been in a space of utter frustration and despondency around my violin for a good while now. What did Kreisler do that has caused this mood in me? 


This is what he did. He composed this. I have been playing Praeludium and Allegro for almost 2 and half years now and I'll admit, it sounds to a large extent much much better than it did when I first started out with it, but recently certain sections of the piece, particularly the beginning of the second page have been sounding progressively worse and worse to me. And because I think it sounds horrible, I tense up further which just sends me into a spiral of awful sounding, scratchy music. 



This may sound small and piteous of me, but the above 6 lines of this piece pummel my self-confidence every time I play them. I've practised them in strange methods, walked around while practising, played them slurred, separate, played them at a snail's pace to a metronome over and over again and the continuous scratchy notes that come out grate into me and slowly shred every victory I've ever won through my almost 10 years of playing this (deplorable) instrument. 

Don't get me wrong, I adore playing the violin. I feel a great sense of triumph and passion when what I'm playing sounds beautiful, and when I can actually play the piece. But, I feel like I'm not improving to the extent I wish to and that scares me, producing a great terror which comes over me that few things in this world can cause for me. It also makes me deeply sad.  I actually cannot begin to express my upset. And it's not just this piece. Today it was just this piece, though it usually is, but other times it's other pieces. 


I want to play well so badly. I play in a youth orchestra with which I absolutely love performing, and I want to be part of a professional orchestra later in my career (not too much later though, actually fairly soonish preferably). I also would like to play in quartets and bands (tango, gypsy, contemporary and classical) and in concerts and though music is not my entire, sole Calling, it is part of it, which is why I feel so horrified when I can't play pieces to the standard I wish them to be. I feel like I'll never arrive there.

I went through a phase of great unsureness about what I actually wanted to do with my violin playing when I leave school, and I said to myself, "It doesn't really matter to me if I ever play in front of an audience as a soloist or play one of the great violin concertos, what I really want is..." and I actually gasped when I heard the answer resting calmly right within me. "... to feel the passion that comes with playing in full expression, without fear, and sounding extraordinarily beautiful" 

I guess I also look at other violinists, the ones in concert halls or even  the ones sitting in my own orchestra, and feel like they never went through this scratchy stage, that they just had this natural ability to play The Kreisler (my nickname for P&A). I look at my teacher who is the vice-concertmaster for a major orchestra. She tells me that she went through the same thing but can't remember exactly how she got over it. She thinks it was the point when she said to herself, "Okay, fine! I'm going to play this and sound terrible, and that is fine!" See, that doesn't help me much. I feel alone in this. 

And I guess I'm writing this so I can cure myself of my doom mood and my bursting into tears every time I think too much about this, to let out all my ugly feelings and just say point blank that when I muck up in my pieces I feel worthless. 

Now I can't make all this raucous without sharing the piece in question. Here is a particularly (freakingshly) amazing version by David Garret, one of the world's best violinists. 



I know. Suddenly my moping about not being able to play that seems rather ridiculous, but you see, I should be able to play that and want to be able to play that.

(Deep breath)



Over and out, my dear readers.
Anthea

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Unravelment


Just a little taste, just once. This kind of unruliness wouldn’t turn into an on-going occurrence, a habit, goodness no, it’s far too hazardess for that, but just once, just a taste. Lean in, feel the warmth of his aura, lean in further, feel the proximity of that just one taste coming closer and closer until finally I melt into oblivion, and the world doesn’t exist anymore.

My moist lips touch his and there we are, together, just one taste. I never meant for this to culminate in this way, but it has, and I can’t say I regret it. Just one taste happens to be so sweet I realize how a diabetic feels. I am a diabetic, I understand, for I have held back from the delightfulness of touch and tenderness, giving myself shots of insulin in the form of shows, movies and books. They supply me with small dosages of hope that amour will find me eventually and then also an intangible mollusc of a love tale to quench my thirst. 
I longed for it to my deepest core, ignored it, quelled it, but no more. Here I am, just one taste, and I realise that no flimsy concoction made up by pop-culture-pandering authors can ever replace the real fix. Hold his face, his neck, his shoulders, his back, weave my fingers through his black hair, dare to open my eyes for one second to see that I am just one taste too, hoping to see his flecked green-yellow eyes. We are one, moving with an energy that has existed for as long as the universe. Goosebumps run down my arms, and 
I pull back. I am graced by the gaze of those wild eyes, and I realise that just one taste will never be enough. Never.

I am suddenly terrified. Spasms of anxiety stab through my abdomen as if a blind Fear is aiming for my heart, missing, and then having another go. Something deep, deep down within me is twitching in angst, something that believes that to reveal the gold hidden beneath the dust would surely destroy me, destroy who I have built my Self to be in the depths of the earth;  We live in the era of silver, and gold is a fool’s filling. It is too magnificent you see. I sometimes even scorn it for the sore, slow chafing of loneliness it brings, though I know the abrasions to be a powerful moulding in the essence of my being.  I see the wonder behind the blue eyes of the Greek god as he smiles mischievously at his earthy goddess, two intertwined existences ascended by their courage to be. To my true nature I feel gladness for them, but in pockets of what is not me, I despise them for their brave prosperity. Coward, the Voice mutters under its breath. How can I be so distraught by the thought of sharing my heart if I am daring to exist? Of what am I so fearful?


I am afraid of my own sultriness, I realize. I am afraid that if anyone came too close, they would find out that in fact, I am a wild soul. My untamed essentia is bold and unabashed, and though I know she is there, I don’t know how to let her out; Is the veil between us an illusion? Have I been her, and me, all of me, this entire time?  I am not in compartments. This ‘barbarian vivacity’ is part of my whole. I am whole; Do I dare venture a step further? Is the veil between myself and everyone else merely a fallacy? In that moment 
I shed the near-transparent, yet shrouding cloak that I thought was purely for decoration, and like a Lady of Baghdad, I peak from underneath my coverlet and smile warmly, mischievously, at the gold path shimmering before me. How wondrous it is, to see it finally.






Anthea


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rudeness on the low down


























I absolutely adore when restaurants and cafes become clever with their menus or way of going about in their shop. The above is such an example from a cafe in Nice, France which charges customers for their cup of coffee according to how rude or polite they are when asking for it!

A curt, 'One coffee' will get you a 7price tag, whereas the addition of please will move it down to a 4,25€. Of course, the most advantageous would be 'Hello, one coffee, please' earning you a cut of 7 down to a 1,40€. 

The pricing-according-to-manner-of-request system has never been enforced according to the cafe's manager, but it has brought on a rise in customer courtesy -not to mention a tad bit of amusement to some of the regular coffee seekers.

"Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness," said the manager, extending that "They started calling me 'your greatness' when they saw the sign."
That gave me good chuckle.
If by any small, tiny, microscopic chance any of you my readers may have actually visited this cafe, or are in fact one of the "doting" regulars, do drop a comment and possibly elaborate a little into this ingenious little anomaly

Anthea
P.S. As some of you may have noticed, I have been a MIA blogger for two weeks, and for that I apologise profusely. I expressed in my post My Last First Day that I have entered into the very last year of my school career (hah, that rhymes), but what I didn't know then was the arduous battle to keep up with work, the long hours of compulsory extra lessons and the wash of fatigue that would come with it. It's been a hard couple of weeks for me, with regards to school work, but also emotionally. However, I am quite done ignoring my responsibility to all of you to provide meaty, meaningful writing, therefore I will be "around" once more.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A message for my radiant friend


























It was just over a year and half ago that Anasofia and I began to become better friends. We'd always been quite cordial, a "Hi" here and there, but never close. In this moment now, I consider her one of my best friends. Her and I get each other, and though we are so different we celebrate each of our special uniqueness -I celebrate her for who she is.

Recently, her boyfriend (fantastic guy) who is a friend of mine sent me a request for my favourite poem and a message for her for a book he planned on putting together as her Christmas present with all her close friends' favourite poems. I don't really have a favourite poem, but the one I sent is definitely one of my most cherished.  I'd like to share with you all what I wrote for her because after I wrote it, I paused for a moment and thought, 'Wow. This profound!' To wonderful friend, out and about travelling the world before she begins her studies in International Law, a jubilee here for you.


All the particles in the world
are alive and looking for lovers.
Pieces of straw tremble in the
presence of amber.
His teacher’s death unleashed a torrent of ecstatic poems.
Lovers, it is time
for the taste of fire.
Let sadness and your fear of death
sit in the corner and sulk....
The sky itself reels with love.
There is one being
inside all of us, one peace.
Poet, let every word tremble its wind bell.
Saddle the horse with great anticipation
When we are dead,
seek not our tomb in the earth,
but find it in the hearts of men

-Rumi

My message:

My dearest Anasofia,

I once read that when we read the writing of another, it is like having a conversation with them. When I read Rumi, I feel like 
I am talking to an enlightened being, one who knows. I believe that one of our greatest purposes on this earth is to know. What 'know' means to each different person, well that's entirely up to us. I think 'know' means a great deal of things -to get to know another human being, letting someone in on our own know, asking a question so that we may know... growing to learn the deep know that lies within us all. 

We are all on a journey, my friend, and you are on a special one indeed. When life turns a little darker, know, for knowing allows us to touch the deepness within ourselves. When life is so bright, it hurts our eyes, also know, for knowing is like the pair of funky glasses we never knew we needed. They allow what we see and do to be seen by us as the magical acts that they are. 

Touch that magic, and you are connected to all. Go forth into the world my wonderful friend, and come back more radiant than you already are.

Love and light, 
Anth xx





Anthea



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Last First Day

I don't know, somehow I thought I'd never be out of school. I started out as a tiny-tot three year old in Pre-Primary, then arriving in Primary School at seven, eventually making my way up to the big pond of High School; and now, before I could even catch my breath, I'm announcing to myself the unbelievable fact that today is my very last first day of school. And something feels very right about it.



Last year, the school grounds felt horrifying empty. Our matrics of 2012 had graduated and left, and although a whole group of people were actually missing, it felt like a whole group of  people were missing. This year, I was highly interested to find out what it would feel like without the people that had always been one year ahead of us, and you know what? It feels rather amazing. We are at the top of the pyramid, at the edge of the cliff, ready to jump out of the plane, and my heart is pumping. I'm singing Good Morning Baltimore to the beginning my final year (I put that in bold just because it's my final year. It needs emphasis.), and then when it's all over, Goodbye Mr Chips. 

I don't plan on making this long, nor am I going to go into the whole "omg, I sooo can't believe it" stuff -that I will leave for my friends, sans the accent, attitude and pretty much the entire phrasing of that statement. But I will say this. I am not a hater of high school. 

Okay, high school has been rough, I'm not even going to put an inch of glitter onto that one, but you know what? I have grown into my radiant Self, and the lessons and knowledge that I sponged up in my 14 years at school have played a major role in moulding me into who I am. I am so grateful for that. Plus, I am not going to forget all the wonderful times I've had there. It's been fun. I also adore knowledge and I fully plan on attaining my full house of distinctions at the end of the year. I already have a truck load of work and it's just the first day, but if I could survive Grade 11, I know I can do anything. I think I found my perfect formula last year during my final exams on how not to burn out. 

I used to be a compulsive over-studier and used to work myself to a standstill, so much that I began to feel light headed because my blood pressure had dropped so low. What I realized last year during a moment of total reckless -or I later found out, rational- abandon that I knew my work and that one second more of going through my science notes was not going to help me one bit. Also, sleep. Major one. Previously I had made my way through exams on nights of 5 hours sleep. I was crazy! So I began sleeping at 10 pm, and I felt calmer, more ready to write, and definitely more refreshed. That was a game changer for me, so this year I plan on really pacing myself. I am going to movies with my friends. I am going to take long walks and go to the gym. I am going to eat really well, and I am going to sleep for as many hours as I feel I need, because I am worth the care that I can give myself. 
And to any matric readers, so are you. 


Take care of yourselves this year, and shine. 



Anthea