Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Book Thief -and globbed-together eyelashes

There are fewer novels than I can count on my one hand that have made me cry. Even in movies, the floodgates aren't let open easily. It's not that I'm cold hearted or emotionally detached -quite the opposite. It's just that I feel like few authors exist who write in a way that can really move readers, who can pull out their souls a little. 

I want to tell you a story. 

The day of my matric Greek Paper 2 exam I had a late writing slot, and so I found myself with too much time on my hands for the little revision I had set aside to do. I had been reading The Book Thief for the last two weeks as a reprieve from the monotony of studying, and that morning I had only about 40 pages left. I decided I was going to finish The Book Thief before my exam.

I must be honest with you all here, I had seen the movie before I began the book. 
I usually am quite stringent about reading the book of anything first. However, The Book Thief was out in cinemas and I knew the novel was too long to read before the movie left the big screen; So I went. I did cry. But, after I was game to read the novel still. When I started the book I realized just how wonderful the casting was for the movie. Were Hans, Rosa and Rudy not absolutely perfect? None in particular, but all?

Mark Zusak, oh you torturous, torturous bastard. Excuse me, but really. He let us know from the beginning and then continuously throughout the novel that Rudy (Oh Rudy...) and the Hubermanns were going to die. He also then squeezed lemon on our wounds by moulding together a story of such heart, such impact, that when he delivered the final blow, well, how could I not sob?

The love story between Rudy and Lizelle, I shiver to think about it. They were only children when they first met, but as they grew up into young teenagers through the novel, and the war, my poor heart could barely take it. Also, Mark Zusak peppered the novel with little lines and collections of lines that told you from the start. 

This story is going to break your heart.

Lines like this;

“How about a kiss, Saumensch?"

He stood waist-deep in the water for a few moments longer before climbing out and handing her the book. In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief's kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.” 


“The tears grappled with her face. 
Rudy, please, wake up, Goddamn it, wake up, I love you. Come on, Rudy, come on, Jesse Owens, don't you know I love you, wake up, wake up, wake up.."

There are few things I find more painful than authentic love never realized until it is too late. 

The death of Hans Hubermann, and even Rosa Hubermann, slung a hefty blow. Hans Hubermann, what a profound soul he was. What a character... The man with an accordion heart. 

The friendship between Max Vandenburg  and Lizelle was also something that clung to me like glue. Something that was left out of the movie which I so enjoyed in the novel was the painted book Max made for Lizelle over the pages of Mein Kampf, The Standover Man. His best standover man he'd ever known was not a man at all... Love that. Such kindness, such trust and small, but of-the-heart moments and gestures. I was glad to find one person at the end of the novel not dead. One less wound I had to hold.

But, it was the death of the boy with hair the colour of lemons that truly cracked my heart. Even now, I have a very hard time just thinking about Rudy, oh dear dear Rudy. Death called Rudy's passing a robbery. It was a slaughter of my heart, too. 

So, before my Greek exam I read the last pages of The Book Thief, and I cried and heaved and howled like I hadn't in a very long time. My whole chest hurt and my throat closed up. Was it possible for tears to forever to stain my cheeks like that of a cheetah's black marks?

I had about an hour to let all the redness and puffiness go down before I had to arrive at school. However, as I climbed into the car, walked up to the exam hall and put down my bag, The Book Thief still haunted me. One of my good friends -a girl who had the same attachment to Rudy- noticed my fragility and asked me what was wrong. I told her, and she answered, "Oh is that why your eyelashes are all stuck together! Oh Anth..." My tears had globbed together my eyelashes into a dark, star-like garnishing for my eyes. 

They were a reminder to me that day as I came home from the exam. Even though I felt afflicted by the tragedy within the novel, The Book Thief had given me a gift. It showed me just how beautiful human beings can be, how beautiful human beings are

So thank you Mark Zusak. And damn you.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Creative writing piece: I played it safe

I played it safe and never told you that I wanted you to be mine. I wanted an Adonis, and you were him. I played it safe and never told you that I thought you were hotter than boiling caramel, that I swooned for your gelled Leonardo DiCaprio hair, that I swam in your eyes, your Mediterranean eyes. 

I love your mind. I love that you think and can think, channelling mind into manifestation. Perhaps you are bound by thought a little too much. Yet, the pulsing heat beneath your limbs plays a fitting balancing act with your musings. I love that though physique is not your centre, you do not ignore the physical in focus of mind games. I love that you love good food.

When you smile I see you peel back a layer of hardness and leave behind the iron man. It’s a moment I rather treasure. I wanted someone passionate and you were him -you understand your passion. I adore you for your boisterousness, your oh so male attitude, because then I can banter back and tell you that you’re wrong! I love that you have strong opinions. You were my Greek God, and oh the luck of your goddess. I love how you are not afraid to hold her, to declare your adoration for her loveliness. I shiver to think of your presence just a little bit nearer; I dream to feel the light touch of your fingers on my bare arm, magnetizing and unravelling.

But then, I don’t adore you for your playing with my heart, your playing with girls’ hearts. I guess I played it safe because some part of me knew that if I didn’t you would say you were just having a bit of fun, or I’d end up voiceless against your games and plays with younger hearts. You pull at my heart strings, but I hold on tight because I know you are a professional and have a favourite with a name that isn’t mine. And after I realize all that I do not adore, I understand in my deepest of places that my strings don’t suit you sound.

So yes, I played it safe, but you’ll end up in my words, I promise. I wanted a leader, a power of being, and you were him, but you couldn’t see that all of me was obscured behind a veil of who-you-think-she-is, what-you-think-she’s-like. You will end up in my words, and then you will say, “I knew her. She was the most incredible spirit, and I never realized. I played it safe, and boy, I should have had the guts.”


Saturday, January 17, 2015


I am unashamedly, a major Glee fan. Sputter as you will, but I adore the show. Together with being tons of fun, Glee carries powerful messages of love, hope, and positivity as well as believing in your dreams. 

It's a new year, 2015, two years after Back to the future predicted we'd all be flying in hovercrafts and wearing gaudy American-utopian outfits . Regardless, it's January, the time now in which we think of the past and the future. 2014 was a fabulous, and fabulously hard year. As a 2014 matriculant, I can vouch for the second half. Jokes, the first half too. 

I left you all on a cliffhanger in my last post. My matric results did indeed arrive by sms on the 30th December, and there sat 8 distinctions. 8 distinctions, one 79 (being remarked and soon to become my ninth distinction) as well as a humble 75 for Science (my high school nemesis).  I am absolutely over the moon about how well I've done -I have enough congratulations messages to fill a small truck. All in all, matric was a huge success for me.  I can now put a nice big tick (or cross, however you see it) in the box that is high school and shift my sights to new adventures. 

And this is where Glee comes in. Today I was watching episode 12 season 2 of Glee, in which Rachel sings Katy Perry's "Firework". I've been feeling especially weird since I matriculated. This transitional phase has been kind of rough and uncomfortable for me. Being on the cusp of everything has made me feel very anxious about the future, and not just university but THE FUTURE in general. And then I watched "Firework" on Glee today. 

The truth is that the future and all that is to come is so scary. It's okay that it is. Let's just all put our hands up and admit it. I am scared. Are you scared? That's all good. Scared? Great. Deep breaths all around. In. Fill those lungs. I am scared. We are scared. Out. 

Our lives from here on out are going to be remarkable. We are remarkable. 

The reason we feel scared is that we don't want to muck up everything; We don't want all this possibility that comes with a new year and new venture in our lives to fade and disappear. But, what Glee spoke to me today about was, Really Anthea, you can trust yourself because you are a star. We are stars.  

Us young creatures just out of matric feel all this hope and yearning to make our lives great. I can just hear Mr Keating breathing down our necks saying, "Carpe .... Diem. Carpe .. Diem! Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!" My friends, not only can we trust ourselves, but we can be okay when we dream magnificent, big and grand dreams. We are the people set to mould the world, so please, make your life damn inspiring and original! Be as out-there as you can!

I know I am.

I've been offered a place at the University of Cape Town to study a Bachelor of the Arts -and wait, it gets better. I've also been awarded an entrance scholarship for almost half my tuition! It's all so much like this big mountain I'm about to start climbing (good thing I'm a mountain climber, right?). I have from tomorrow two weeks until I jet off on my one way ticket (literally) to Cape Town. It's going to be a new adventure, and I'm feeling as daring as ever. I even cut my hair (a good 15 cm) -and don't laugh at why I included that. Coco Chanel said that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. Are you going to dispute Coco Chanel?

There's a spark in me that has lain dormant for quite some time while I survived high school. However, now that's done, I'm going for it -thanks Glee. Magna Cum Laude, international best seller, blogging, performing and being the girl who eats 90% dark chocolate. What's the point if you're doing anything half-assed? I am a writer, and I'm going to be a writer. I want to create awe-inspiring art that transforms our world. I have no interest in making my dreams any smaller -and neither should anyone for that matter. 

Our dreams are so bright, but so are we. We can trust ourselves to be great. Hi 2015.


Monday, December 29, 2014

What can I say?

The countdown has begun. Tomorrow night at 00:00 my matric results will be revealed. Twelve years of education have come down to this, and boy, the butterflies are going rather insane. It is then that I'll find out what manifested out of almost a year of non-stop studying. It's been a crazy, out-of-this-world year. The big Kahuna, MATRIC, has officially been over for almost a month now. However, I can't say for certain that it's hit me that it's all over, finito, klaar, teleios. 

Over, finito, klaar, teleios... Wow.

What can I say about school? I am so grateful for the incredible education I have received. Really. I've gone through a full 12 years schooling and I have matric English, Advanced Program English, Afrikaans, Modern Greek, Life Orientation, Science, Biology, Music and History under my belt. Not too shabby if I might say. Not to mention short little dabbles in Computers, Art, Technology, Accounting, Business Studies as well as two years of Drama. There are millions of children, and adults, who would kill for my education and I must assure these millions, and everyone else, that its incredible worth hasn't blown over me -not one bit.

I am what my dad calls an "incessant overachiever". 

At our matric prize giving, I finished with Top Award for Biology, Top Award for Music and Full Academic Colours with Academic Excellence (3 straight years of Full Colours) within my grade. Do note, there were nine of us who receives Academic Excellence. We were -are- a truly exceptional group. I received Full Colours for Public Speaking, Greek Dancing, Choir, Greek Band and Music as well as Team Scrolls for Outreach and Drama. 
I was also a prefect. By the end my blazer was rather "decked out" with scrolls  and I must say that I'm rather proud of the thing. I'm proud of it all. I worked my butt off and I've come out of it all feeling rather stupefied that I managed to do it all. 

These were also only my school activities. I did ballet up to Intermediate Foundation (two before advanced), private violin lessons, music theory lessons and I played in the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra for 4 years. During it all I also summited Mount Kilimanjaro twice from two different sides. On the writing front, I've been blogging since 
I was 13 and last year I branched out into poetry, slam poetry and more serious creative writing. 

I was crazy. I am crazy. I'm glad.

I've had a hard time of it I must say though. Particularly in high school. I made and lost many friends along the way, had horrible fights and learnt some very very hard lessons. I've gone through so many personal transformations I've lost count, and admittedly not all of it was super fun. I've felt like quite an enigma for the last three years of school. It's only this year that I've felt real camaraderie and yes, belonging, with my fellow matriculants and friends. 

I've had to deal a lot with friends and other students not understanding me, what I'm going through, who I am and what I stand for. I made the decision long ago that I would never stand by people or things that didn't align with my truth. On all fronts, I'm very proud of myself for standing for my power. This hasn't always won me friends, but I figure that the people I actually want to spend time around see my personal power as a positive. I see it as a positive, because at the end of the day, as Leo Buscaglia "pharaphrasingly" says, I'm nice. 

Though with all this said, I've had some incredible times. Drama was the best subject I ever took (mortifyingly only for two years). It took me out of my head and into my body and gave me a place to ooze creative dramatic expression. I had the chance to be an enigma on stage, and on stage it was revered. I could be strange, weird, harsh, angry, sad or elated and whimsical, and it was all good. Wow, I loved Drama. I had the chance to work with many amazing actors and actresses in my class, particularly my two friends Marianna and Marina. Our drama group performance was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. Our Macbeth Three Witches contemporary piece was absolutely awe-inspiring; We were so in character that our breathing synchronized. 

I also enjoyed immensely our matric events; Carnival Day. The Matric Swim and Matric Run. Valentine's Day.Our Matric jackets. Matric dance. These really were a set of fantastic experiences and events scattered between what seemed like an unending year of studying.

It was also in school that I received wonderful encouragement for my writing by my English teachers, particularly my matric English teacher. They were the first bunch to show interest in my writing, always supporting me to be a creative artist. For that I thank them from the bottom of my heart. 

Oh, and should I even mention the final exams? (Chuckles) Some of them were definitely challenging -I mean come on, they were the finals. However, most I found very manageable and rather (don't be too shocked) fun. I was so prepared by the end that I couldn't help but feel elated when I knew my work while answering. 

Want to know the key to good papers? SLEEP. For the future matrics, don't buy into any of this all-nighter and late-nights=extra-studying hogwash. All you end up with is a tired and dull mind before the most important set of exams of your schooling life. It is vital that you give your body the necessary care it needs while you're doing what amounts to three months of abusing it by long sitting and reading hours. Study hard, but when you need it, take the break. Good luck for next year.

I'm in mourning. I am; We all are, us matrics. It has been the death of an era for us, the death of something by which we defined ourselves. Getting our matric results is only the cherry on the top -a very scary cherry indeed. After tomorrow night, the real divergence begins. Some will go to medical school, some to actuarial sciences, some to drama and some to the good old (though so valuable) Bachelor of the Arts. Apparently in the day or two after tomorrow night we will all be receiving some much anticipated phone calls from our chosen universities. 

However regardless of the paths we all follow, let us celebrate, high five, thumbs up, hug, kiss and all that beautiful stuff because we did it! It's over and we did it. We made it through to the other side, and (as my one friend put it), we are now currently unemployed. 

As for my plans, those are to be revealed officially in my next blog. 

Wish me luck for tomorrow. And also wish my fellow matrics.


P.S Found this on Tumblr. Hilarious.

Finals Week
Here’s how my finals week usually goes:

Stage one: I’ve so got this

Stage two: Did we learn this in class?

Stage three: Those moments of panic when everything is overwhelming

Stage four: I want to crawl in a hole and live off Doritos
Stage five: I feel like all of my Professors are saying
Bonus Stage: Waiting for final grades to be posted


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oh Green Snake, the Shadow.

Oh Green Snake, when I hung you around my neck and stroked your cold, pulsing throat, I must have been severely misguided. That’s right. Misguided, off the rockers, ill-advised or just plain masochistic. I know now that in a time I cannot remember when I was a being I cannot conceive, I made a contract with my current shadow’s soul for some transformative affliction. At the time it seemed like a great idea. I needed someone to help me down here learn a few hard lessons and find my Light through a bit of pain, and she, Green Snake, my Shadow, volunteered. I was excited! I was going to be born and already I had a friendly soul offering to help me. However, we agreed that my lessons needed to be a surprize – eternal souls have wonderful senses of humour- and thus as we descended down to this lovely planet, I wrapped my Shadow, now green and coiled, around me, and then, we forgot.

We forgot our eternal selves, our Light and we forgot entirely of our contract. Born apart, we both grew along our different paths. Mine was the life that would shape me to who I am now. My Shadow on the other hand found a fate of misadventure that would mould her into the serpent she’d promised to be. When our time of meeting arrived, I would be unaware of her existence, and she would be armoured in arrowy gold scales, gold to draw me in, arrowy to draw into me. We are drawn to our Shadows. We find them enthralling in some way or another. We put them on a pedestal. At first their true soul purpose with regards to us is hidden in the underbrush, but at some point we indefinitely (innocently) share a piece of our being that we love with them.

I was pulled in by my Shadow’s seeming “openness” and intellectualism, and so I thought that my beliefs were valued. So I poured out a part of my soul to my Shadow, beloved Green Snake –and she bit me. “et tu, Brute?” I asked, aghast. I felt attacked and utterly horrified. But she, my Shadow dear, merely hissed at me, remorseless and nonchalant. 
I was wounded, but before I could really process her bite, and her, I found 
my Shadow tied to me. The contract still stood, and so I was coaxed into discounting our first real introduction. It was if I was compelled by our celestial contract, as if I were being guided to bear the pain my Shadow would bring me, like I needed it, like I –my soul- wanted it.

I’m convinced we have no idea about the small, constant abuses and injury we would endure by the hands of our lovely Green Snakes. If we’re aware enough, we become acquainted with our Shadow, know that they are our Shadow. However, if you’re a human being, you’re probably still being driven mad by their presence. I’ll be open here about this because really, my Shadow irks me, annoys me, and downright infuriates me. 
I feel like I am a field of mouse traps and she is the sadistic, quick little mouse that triggers everything in me that I don’t want to see. She is a Shadow after all, the being placed specifically on this earth to reflect back for us all the uncomfortable truths and lessons we’d rather not acknowledge are necessary for the growth of our soul. Our Shadows 
haunt us because they hold a piece of our puzzle. I’ve considered for a long time what 
my Shadow could possibly hold, what piece of my power.

I have a sense that compassion is a given lesson of our Shadow. When I am around my Shadow I feel my heart, which is truly so filled with love, harden like a suspicious stone. 
I try to soften my rigidity but all I feel is this deep tightening. We must practise acceptance of this tension. Our tension is actually holding up an arrow in the direction of a point of new awakening.

Also, our Shadow brings out our ‘meany’ self, our inner shadow. I know that my Shadow triggers my inner meany into a space where Meany is putting all sorts of big, vicious labels all over the length of Shadow’s glinting body. My Shadow brings out a side in me that is both harsh and vulnerable, both being parts I now recognise that I squash down. But that’s also what a Shadow does. Bring out the worst in us so that we may face our darkness, and in doing so, illuminate it.

In part I lament that such a thing as a Shadow should exist to torment us. I’m certain our excited souls up in the ether had no idea what a fantastic job our Shadows would commit to. Some part of me wants to hand in my letter of resignation, a respectful uncoiling of my Green Snake for the foreseeable future, and then, indefinitely. But I’ve come to see more and more that Shadows, as painful and exacerbating as they are, are like a universal nudge in the direction of our own Light. Our Shadows are people who manifest in our lives as instruments vitally important to our journey of enlightenment as beings. They trigger our darkness, and they trigger our light. We are afraid of both. And that is why we, I, am mad. It is up to us really to come to understand that our Green Snake’s hiss, which we may find still partly unnerving and unsettling, is rather a whisper saying, ‘Remember. Remember. I am your friend.’


Saturday, May 10, 2014

I am a writer, and I want to be a writer

It took me about a month to train myself to say "I am a writer" when people asked what I wanted to become. I guess traditionally in the career market, perceptions about one's future career was always something that you would become some day, something you aren't now, but will be eventually, but I don't think that's right. People, especially young people going into university, are becoming more and more conscientious about what they truly want to do in life, what impact they want to have in the world, big and small. It's not about becoming a lawyer, or an accountant, or artist or pianist for that matter. It's about being the lawyer, the accountant, artist, pianist, because only upon really believing that we already are our Calling deep inside ourselves can we manifest our purpose in a more on-hands being.

 It's like standing on the edge of a canyon and calling out something people generally shout at the edge of canyons like "Hellooo!" and hearing your voice echo across the sandy-red cliffs. However, in this canyon it receives your message and sends it right back to you even louder that your eardrums can manage. If we send the message out, it will return to us even grander that we could ever have imagined.

So I am a writer. I decided a long time ago that I am not going to be hypothetical about my Calling anymore. It was a self-sabotage tool that I used to keep myself back from full actualization. I will admit to even hesitating to say that I wanted to be a writer. If I had to get a rand for every time I've told someone that I wanted to be a writer and have them give me some facial expression between "oh honey, you just keep dreaming" and "Great Scott, do you know what kind of measly paycheck a writer gets? Why don't you rather do something like engineering or medicine?" I think you know the result. 

The truth is that I don't care if people don't really like my Calling. It's my Calling and I'll believe in it and love it, and it's really not anyone else's responsibility to love it for me. That's fine. All I have to do is adore my purpose and what I do. I found that once I started saying to people that indeed, I am a writer and if as I said it I felt it down to my  core, others started feeling my excitement too. People looked back at me with fewer funny stares and more warm smiles that said "I believe that". It all started with a decision I made inside, and then the outside saw that and grinned. 

I'm going to let you in on a secret. I've been planning something big and huge and ginormous and universal and cosmic and radiant. It's something that feels absolutely right, or write (haha). I'm not going to tell you what it is, no spoiling the surprise, but know this. I plan for it to be better than discovering Tutankhamen buried in your back garden. However, this and the fact (not a bad one, but a reality) that I am in my final year of school means that I'm going to blogging a whole lot less that I would like to be in the coming months. Please understand that I'm not leaving or purposefully neglecting my treasure of a blog. I believe there has to be a practicality when it comes to keeping up blogs, and currently it just isn't one. I'll check in soon, I promise.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

If I can-can, you can-can!

I'm sure you are all familiar with the amazingness of TED Talks. I reaffirm that the world is entering into a new era of higher consciousness. No longer do we welcome isolationism -of both mind and being. TED talks are most definitely a testament to a generosity of our world's knowledge that we are kindling in our society. They allow everyday people to simply go onto Youtube and see the pioneers of our planet, see that they are people just like us -but most importantly, see that we can achieve our own greatest heights just as they have theirs. 

I don't consider myself a fanatic TEDer, but I do adore the occasional video. I have just watched a talk that I found so inspiring, especially in the space in which I'm currently. 
I'm in my final school year and of course, university and life plans in general are hot topic. I have honestly been feeling a tad flummoxed by a few tough decisions I have to make, but after watching this video I look at all that I have and all that I am, my health, my education, my life, and I see that all I can actually handle it all, and that everything will turn out as amazing as I envision it to. I can-can (wink).

It lends a certain perspective afterwards to your own life, doesn't it? It made me zoom out like a bird's eye view and see that I am actually completely equipped and okay to handle my future endeavors. We all are actually.


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.