The things I collect #BlogVember

My blog posts have been kind of few and far between over the past months… I’m not sure why that is. Probably life and how busy it tends to get. And also the fact that I don’t always feel like sitting down in front of a computer screen to write at night, after I’d been doing just that all day.

But, I want to write, dammit! I want to tell stories and paint pictures with words and express my emotions accurately in prose… and I’ve come to realise that if I don’t exercise a measure of discipline, grab every opportunity to practice my art, it’s never going to grow.

So, I’ve decided to take on a little challenge. It’s called #BlogVember and when my lovely colleague, Aneeqah told me she was going to attempt it I just knew it was something I had to try too.

Dreamed up by two local bloggers, Cupcake Mummy and Love, Kids and Other Things the challenge is basically to do a post every day throughout November. Each day has a different topic, which makes it fun and easy to plan at least.

Now, I’m the WORST at challenges. Sometimes I give up before I even begin, but I’m going to put my heart into this one. So wish me luck!

Here are the topics for the month, starting with today’s: What do you collect?  

blogvember

Looking round my flat right now, I can pin point at least four different collections, of which the most obvious is…

BOOKS!

Bargain books from Napier. So stoked to have found these. And only R25 each #roadtripper

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Especially second-hand books. There are few things I love more in this life than trawling stalls and shops and bazaar tables in the hope of finding something truly wonderful. The older and more used, the better!

The fact that I seldom end up leaving one of these little missions disappointed means that shelf space has officially run out, now spilling over onto tables, the floor, my bed, the bathroom… forcing me to curb my enthusiasm somewhat lately. Or try at least.

But of course there are the kinds of books I simply can’t resist: anything about India, stories set in the Middle East, South America or Africa, fairy tales, travelogues, beautiful old poetry collections and the occasional classic.

My all-time favourite finds? Definitely Richard F. Burton’s Tales from the Arabian Nights found in a pokey little shop in the Antique Market off Long Street as well as Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts that I picked up for something ridiculous like R3 at the library sale in Kloof Street.

What’s missing? So many! While my shelves are groaning, my library is far from complete! But if I had to choose one book I’d love to lay my hands on right now, it would probably be a beautifully bound collection of Pablo Neruda’s poems – either his Elemental Odes or his Love poems. Actually what am I saying? I want both! I want all Neruda’s poems!

RECORDS

Good vibes on a sunny day #vscocam

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After years and years of wanting one, I finally invested in a record player recently and while the majority of the vinyls in my possession are really my parents,’ I’m slowly building up a collection of my own.

ELEPHANTS

A colourful new Addo ellie for my herd. Thanks @imarkrige & @tamara_jayd 🙂

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It started when – knowing how fascinated I am by these strange and intuitive creatures – my cousin, Tanee, sent me a beautiful bejeweled wooden elephant from Holland (of all places) while she was au pairing there for a year. Soon after, I attended a junk swap and gained a little family to join it. Most recently, Imar and Tamara brought me a colourful, chubby ceramic one from Addo Elephant National Park. I even have a swanky silver ellie doorstop!

SUCCULENTS

I don’t know if it’s quite PC to say you collect living things, but hey. I’m going to go with it. Like with second-hand books, I can’t resist a nursery, or even better, a roadside succulent sale. I currently have about 17 succulents in varying shapes and sizes and just love the way they add a beautiful burst of life to my flat.

Writing advice from Mr. Lewis

I’m a huge fan of Letters of Note, a blog that attempts to “gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.” I often pore over it when I’m bored or in need of inspiration, and have even started following Shaun Usher, the man behind the blog, on Twitter.

The stuff you will find on there is priceless, like this irreverent letter from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong to a young fan’s disturbed mother or this heart-melting love note from Johnny Cash to wife, June.

But, so far, I think my favourite has got to be a response letter from C.S Lewis to one of his young Narnia fans.

The site states: “It was sent by Lewis to a young American fan named Joan Lancaster in June of 1956 — just a few months before the seventh and final book of the series, The Last Battle, was published — and is actually an invaluable, generous response filled with practical writing advice, all of which still rings true.”

For the full letter, check out Letters of Note, but here’s a little taster: the precious writing advice the kind old gentleman jotted down for little Joan.

What really matters is:–

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”

4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Thanks for the photos. You and Aslan both look v. well. I hope you’ll like your new home.

With love

yours

C.S. Lewis