Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The word

In the middle of a week's madness that, one day, I may look back on with some joy and humour. Last weekend was treacherous but exciting. I MCed at the Joy of Jazz Festival and, despite the cold, the chaos and the long hours, it was an experience I will always remember. Standing on a stage at a concert is totally different from performing as a poet. A poetry audience expects that and, therefore, it is easier to find a connection with that audience. Talking and doing poetry at a jazz festival is before people who seek music. Think it went down well enough. Tomorrow is another crazy day. I perform at a women's celebration for Sunday World and a corporate for Ernst & Young. Really looking forward to it and, hopefully, I will be able to do them justice. Anyway, just wanted to share.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On the edge of something

The days add up. Time keeps ticking. Life happens to us and we happen to life. I find myself setting new goals and finding new dreams but the word continues to flutter in the shadows whispering to me, urging me on. I've been quiet on the poetry front but active poetically. I write nearly every day and dream every night.

I have always felt like I'm on the edge of something. Like all I need is a little push. A little luck even. I have been performing and actively writing for about 7 years now, but never seem to make it beyond a particular point. The last few months have forced me to re-think and re-determine what it is I'm doing. This weekend I perform at the Joy of Jazz Festival which is a level above which I have been operating. I am also performing at an event for Ernst & Young. What excites me about all of these is that I had to write specifically for the events. It is always a creative challenge to write on brief; how does one control and direct creativity? When it actually works, it is a beautiful thing.

I have decided that this is the momentum I need to move things up a notch. I look to the heavens, I believe. In Word We Trust.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Daily Ramblings #8

Balance. So much about life relates to balance. Creating harmony between the different sides of who we are. I am a great believer in the faces we have have. Who we are depends on who we are talking to. When talking to a parent, we wear a different face from when talking to a friend or a lover or a person we meet on the street, etc, etc. There is an essence to who we are. There is a core essence to our beingness. But we change faces to protect that core. Some closer to who we are and some further. I do not consider it being fake but rather giving emphasis to a particular characteristic of us. Like Shrek and ogres, we are like onions - we got layers. The better we are able to find balance between these, the greater our peace of mind. And the greater our balance.

Balance is everything. Calm. It's like standing in the middle of a seesaw, shifting weight to ensure that the seesaw levels out. Balance between work and play, between serious and frivolous, etc. The greatest difficulty I find, as a creative, is balance between artistic endeavour and the formality of livingm

Find balance. The extreme, while eventful, can create chaos and confusion. Find your balance.

Just a thought.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Daily ramblings #7

I realise that a lot of what I think about is not new. It's not some innovative thought on the progress of mankind, but I do hope it has some relevance in being the thoughts of another human being. We do not share enough and without dialogue, there can be no progress. I believe in relativity as a state of existence. While there are universal 'rights and wrongs', much of what we think and do is in relation to where we are at a given point in time. Truth, your truth, depends on what is right for you at that moment. It is not written in stone and how often does one find themselves putting forward a thought that they once contradicted. The best you can do for yourself is acknowledge what you have and work with the information at your disposal. If that changes, then review your decisions and move forward. Truth is your own to decide. Stand by it.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Daily ramblings

I've gone and created more drama for myself. In addition to this Blog and my Imperfect Poetry blog, I have now added another task to my list. For about a week now, I've been sharing my 'thoughts' of the day with a small group of friends. As the easy way out, I am going to be adding some of thoughts to this space, so below, please find the first one:

Please allow me this indiscretion. For some time now, I have been encouraged to share my thoughts with those around me in a manner that might provide some element of clarity in this crazy reality. I do not assume that my outlook is of any relevance but I have been told, by some, that it does not hurt to share one's limited wisdom. I will be honest and say that this attempt has also been prompted by something I have seen.

Anyway, the people I am sending this to are individuals I consider friends and / or family and the intention is to share the odd thought, every now and then, around my moments of clarity in the hope that it might provoke some process. I do have my blogs and which serve as release points for me, and now I am adding this. If you do not wish to receive these 'thoughts of the day', please do not hesitate to inform me. Also feel free to pass them on, should they seem relevant.

Thought of the day

How do we define success? For those of us living in cities like Joburg, society seems to dictate a commercial and material outlook. It is becoming about 'the money'. How did our ancestors live? Did they define fulfilment in monetary terms or otherwise?

Somehow I feel we are losing our souls in this pursuit of financial gain. It seems like that gain can only happen at the expense of others. I believe otherwise. Definition of self is an individual thing. Therefore definition of success is about the goals you set for yourself and not what society dictates as being success.

Decide what it is you want to accomplish in your life. Determine where you want to be in 5, 10 years and work towards that. It may not always happen as you wish but that is life. It is hard enough without adding the shallow perspectives of this undefinable creature called society. Definition of your success can only be done by you.

Easy runnings


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Voices shall be heard

Life is taken some crazy turns and work has drained of moments of reflection. Add continued technological difficulties and my silence makes sense. But I don't really want to talk about that - though I wonder if this will actually make it through. Was posting to my other blog for a week before I realised stuff hasn't been posting.

Anyway, all fired up again. Went to Urban Voices Poetry Festival this last Saturday and was reminded of why I so love the Word. Urban Voices is always a difficult time because, while I have serious reservations about supporting an organisation (well, an individual) that continues to perceive and treat local poets as irritants and inferior beings, it is always an awesome experience because of the international poets that come through. I boycotted two years ago, out of principle, and then went totally my principles last year by performing. My reasons: it gave me the opportunity to meet Carl Hancock Rux (who I am in awe of) and the Last Poets. This year I actually bought tickets but that was because I had to see Suheir Hammad, Sekou Sundiata and Saul Williams; and I wasn't disappointed. I have the whole Def Poetry Jam and Suheir was one of the few poets I actually liked. Sekou Sundiata has quietly built a legacy. And Saul Williams? There are no words. Beyond ......

I must put in a word about Afurakan, a young poet I have worked with on various projects with and someone I believe has a great future ahead of him. He had to open the show and set the bar. He was off the hook. I have heard him so many times but Saturday he took it to another level and showed that we do have a voice and relevance as locally based poets. Maybe, one day, we will be allowed more than 3 - 5 mins at Urban Voices, compared to 30 mins to an hour for the internationals.

Funny thing was that there were so many faces that you would never see at a poetry event out because of the internationals. It's like saying that one's truth or words are more important because you are not from South Africa. Hell, that would mean that I should qualify as an international poet because I'm not from here. But I'm just from another African country, around the corner. And I consider myself a part of and representing South African poetry. It's all good. We shall find our place and space. Those who doubted the local poetry movement shall be the ones clamouring to establish their relevance when we reach those heights. And they shall talk about how they contributed to our development because they threw us crumbs once.

The life of an artist is such a funny one. How often do we hear about overnight successes when a person has spent a decade building the profile, working in the trenches, struggling to get their voice heard. And when they finally break that invisible ceiling, they are 'discovered'.

The hustle continues.