Guaranteed Cure for Writer’s Block! (1074 unedited words can’t be wrong)

I hear it all over the writerly place: The muse has left me, I have nothing to say, I’m uninspired… I have the equivalent of writer’s pox – all variations of the malady aka writer’s block. When I hear those words, in whatever form they vomit forth from a miserable creative, I cringe. Because I know that the disease doesn’t exist. writers-block-Peanuts

However, there are similar conditions which are diagnostic possibilities that need to be ruled out, including laziness, losing the plot, not honouring your characters or the story, losing the plot, a Hemingway headache, losing the plot, and the only really valid excuse – death. Dead writers have writer’s block, make no mistake, and they have my sympathy.

[Unless, of course, they have received the divine promotion to the position of heavenly scribe – which is where I’m aiming. I cannot think of a better way to pass the timelessness of eternity than to sit in the throne room of Almighty God, and write stories to entertain the masses. Surely there will still be art and music and literature in heaven, so I have applied for the post of scribe. I will sit at a little school desk with a pad and a blue pen. And I will scribble away for 10 000 years. Then I’ll mess about with some paint (maybe Van Gogh will give me a few pointers) for a century or two, and I’ll go back to the writing.]

Where was I? Oh, The Block.

I used to think that I had writer’s block until I realised that it was merely a case of laziness or losing the plot. For me, it’s usually a toss-up between the two. And the cure in both cases is the same thing: sit down and write. That may sound circular i.e. how can you sit down and write if you can’t sit down and write? Well, you CAN sit down, so start with that. It’s a really good idea to move onto the next phase of the process, which may entail picking up a pen OR switching on your computer. I write better with a ballpoint pen. I triedchewed pen doing my first drafts on the computer, but it’s a bit iffy trying to chew the mouse while you’re thinking. And ballpoint pens are a dime a dozen. Literally (which usually means metaphorically, and that’s true for me because I live in South Africa, where it costs more than a dime for one, never mind a dozen – and we don’t have dimes). Computer mouses (or is it mice, somebody – please!) cost a little more, and you won’t find a spare one in the kitchen drawer or under the bed or between the couch cushions or in the car’s glove-box… Well, most people don’t have them all over the place. And if you have real mice in those places, your problem is far more serious than any writer’s block can ever be.

Now we move onto the most important (dare I say pivotal?) part of curing writer’s block – which is quite unlike curing ham. And here it is (ta-da): you write. Yes, it’s that simple. Okay, so you have no idea what to write after the murderous thief climbed out the window with the sack of blood-splattered jewels over his shoulder. Then don’t write about what you have no idea about. Write about something else. Let your imagination give you another scene in the story. Perhaps you have had something tip-toeing about in your brain for a while, but it’s still in the future of the story. Don’t let chronology cramp your style. I can pick a book up and open it anywhere I please and read the page. No one is going to prosecute me or judge me and God is surely not going to send me to Hell. Guess what? That counts for writing, too. You can write any scene you like whenever you like and in whatever colour ink you choose. Scary thought, isn’t it?

You’re a writer, (aren’t you?), which means you are the freest [huh, I don’t think I’ve ever written that word before – it looks weird and I just want to add another ‘e’] agent in the universe. Even the angels don’t do as they please. And painters have to worry about paint drying too quickly. But we get to create worlds as they suit us. Amazing thought just struck me (all the others weren’t so amazing): God made the grass and plants and fruit before He made the animals and man. Otherwise their first day on earth would have been a hungry one. Imagine Adam reaching the first evening and thinking that the grumble in his stomach was just the way life was going to be. So God even does things in order. Phew, makes me a little hesitant to say “Write your scenes in any order”, but I just said it.

Seriously, though, sometimes one scene wants to be written before another, despite the logical chronology. Sometimes we need to gain a new perspective of where the story is bobby ewingheaded, or why it is headed in a certain direction. So, forget about Bobby Burglar and write a scene about his wife at home in bed, wondering why he is taking so long to buy the late paper. She might be watching reruns of Dallas and trying to imagine what Bobby Ewing looks like now. Perhaps the dogs across the street are howling while an ambulance siren wails a few blocks away. Now she is scared, and she wishes her Bobby will return, even if he doesn’t look anything like JR’s baby brother. Her Bobby is always so kind and makes her feel safe.

Guess what, your initial scene just found the route it has to take. Bobby is going home to his loving wife. And there are a few logistical issues: jewels, sack, blood, and did he remember the paper? But first he fenceneeds to stop off at the fence (dealer in stolen goods – however, perhaps that will be next door to where he lives. After all, didn’t a famous poet say that good fences make good neighbours?)

Writer’s Block? Rubbish! I sat down and wondered what I was going to write about. Granted, I didn’t write about much [although, my goodness, I certainly used enough words to say nothing], but if this wasn’t a blog and somebody was actually going to read this… I could easily slice it and dice it and make it relatively palatable.

Your turn!

What on earth made you read this far? Did you actually think I had the answer, or are you just passing the time while your Writer’s Block mutates into Writing News Bulletins for South African news channels?


Now we don’t have to wonder how he sleeps at night…

Strange how it’s okay to extract the president of a self-governing country if the country has large oil reserves. If Zimbabwe today discovered significant oil reserves beneath its soil, other concerned nations would hurry to liberate the people of Zimbabwe. Until then, who cares?

Watch this amazing video on YouTube. If you’re not into politics, watch it for the gorgeous interior design. And if you think that somebody, somewhere, should do something to help the people of Zimbabwe who suffer under the rule of a tyrant (am I allowed to say that here?), watch this! Hint! All links lead to the same video, but you may want to watch it more than once :-).

robert mugabe palace bedroom

And we wondered how he sleeps at night?

My apologies, Mugabe is 92 and not 90 as I stated earlier. And he is still alive!

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who last year became the world’s oldest head of state, recently celebrated turning 92 with an estimated $1 million dollar bash, broadcast live on local television. Organizers said that 50,000 people attended the party, which was held in a large tent at the Great Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo, a Unesco world […]

via How has 92-year-old Robert Mugabe managed to stay the world’s oldest president? — Quartz

Jacob Zuma Resigns!

Great post I just have to share!

Well, that got your attention, did’t it? It got your attention because a good proportion of people are hoping that the Excellency, the Right Honourable, the President of South Africa will do the honourable thing and resign. From Parliamentary sessions we have witnessed that a number of his peers have accused the Honourable President of not being honourable in his behaviour. Therefore why would we believe that this could happen unless for an epiphany.

Nonetheless, if we do express our concerns and disapproval of having a president who puts himself above the constitution – we may very well import Robert Mugabe?



source: 2/04/16

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Conspiracy theory #4509284… the plot to assassinate Robert Mugabe

That’s not very high up on the list, Mister President. Somewhere between the Voortrekker Monument being the TRUE site of the 1820 alien invasion that saw the arrival of the first white South Africans (who were actually from Planet Bollie-Wood) and the rumour (strictly speaking — not a conspiracy) that Jacob Zuma is not paying back the money because it would empty the state coffers and drive the rand even further down a Barberton shaft, which ought to be renamed Lilypit. And who knows how long it will languish there…

But that is a rumour, so please don’t quote me on it.

zimbabwe zapiro

 Sadly, this cartoon is no longer as funny as it was more than 7 years ago.                                           (Memo to Zapiro: If South Africans could actually vote for the president of their choice, you’d get my vote!)

So, if conspiracy theories are, as some claim, smoke where there is in fact real flames (it’s just a case of the smoke being so thick you cannot see the flames, cough!), then Robert Mugabe is one lucky soul to have survived so long. From MI5 to opposition party leaders to members of his own family to people who want his wife’s dairy – they have all been accused of wanting him dead.

I think there is in fact a conspiracy to keep him alive. After all, he is 90 years old, and the life expectancy of a Zimbabwe male is 57.25 years. I don’t know how to put that into a neat mathematical number, but it must be significant. But I can emphatically state that he has been alive more than 50% longer than the men in his country. Then it must be true that some force is trying to keep him breathing. Perhaps it is because Zimbabwe would thrive after his demise and South Africa would no longer be the money machine that presides over the southern tip of the continent. No, that doesn’t even make sense, so we can’t keep that theory.

Why is a third force, a mysterious and diabolical power, trying to keep Robert Mugabe alive when the rest of the world purportedly wants him dead? It must be alien, methinks! Who else could prevail against the combined power of MI5 and Grace Mugabe’s competition who want her dairy to fail?

Long live Bob!


A potholed detour through Zimbabwe…

Writers have to be focussed, churn out at least one blog a week, spurn writer’s block, still make a living while writing, and… oh, I forget the rest!

I think I am okay with spurning writer’s block and eking out a living while writing (‘making a living’ is stretching the truth somewhat, even for someone who is energised by fabricating lies and calling it fiction). But the remaining items in the above list are as far from me as my first book is from the NY Bestsellers List. But that’s okay, I tell myself, because I am still a writer. I write everyday, whether I feel like it or not. And that’s no big deal, because I always feel like it.

So, she says, finally getting to the point… With Scarlatti done and dusted and awaiting greatness (and suitably impressed publishers), I feverishly began the sequel, Blackbourne. All was proceeding according to plan (pantser style), and then it happened: a detour loomed ahead in my brain. I was adamant I would not be side-tracked, distracted, or whatever else writers are accused of when they dump one book (in this case, most definitely temporarily), in favour of another nagging idea. Let’s face it, how do you know if the story that is just a twinkle in your eye (as opposed to the real words of Current Project before you) is any good unless you follow the trail of neuronal breadcrumbs that the birds might steal while you sleep (or, ahem, write something else).

And the twinkle grew until it was a searchlight backed by a bullhorn. So, I am blameless if I cannot focus on Blackbourne anymore. I have every right, nay, duty, to preserve my sanity. is a jaunt through African politics and human rights and what ifs. If that sounds clever and important, you’ve been misled. was first attempted last year, but it was not its time, as the stewing process that precedes my books was not yet complete. However, when I picked up my pen again (after trashing everything else I had written in a previous manuscript), the story had spawned a life of its own. The previous attempt had not left a story filling my brain. But, now normality has moved out to make way for things that should be unthinkable.

For instance, should anyone assassinate a tyrannical leader to save a nation? Is it morally reprehensible (as I suspect) or is it a good deed? That is the basic thought behind the story of Would the international community be prepared to pay some kind soul to bump off a political wart that just won’t disappear, no matter how many times you blow it to the moon and wish it away?

Sounds like serious stuff, right? But three sisters in rise to the challenge, in a manner of speaking. Actually, a couple of bottles of wine land them in some deep dung and they are too scared to backtrack, in case they get into other kinds of trouble — including fraud. So they embark on an adventure that they are not prepared for.

Then there’s Androcles, the five-year old Zimbabwean boy whose dying mother (the last adult in the remote village) says that she prayed to God, and a man is coming to help to take her son to safety, beyond the dangers of the village that is run by desperate and dangerous children. Who is this educated old man, Freeman? I asked myself the same question for a couple of days as I wrote him in, and I was surprised and delighted at the answer.

Enter Zimbabwe, a beautiful country filled with beautiful, friendly people and amazing landscape. I know this from experience. But I do not know as much as I should about the complex political situation. And this is where I plan to, finally, put blogging to good use. I want to find out as much as I can about Zimbabwe, and then to chew my cud (I hope that animal-husbandry terminology is correct) publicly on my blog. Hopefully one or two of you will correct me where I am wrong, or cheer me on when I get it almost right.

Regardless, thank you for reading this far. Hopefully I’ll see you around in the coming weeks. And I pray that Robert Mugabe lives at least until I finish the book. After all, he is already 90 years old, and completing the book after his death will seem stoopid, at the very least.

Long live Bob!!



Yep, time machines do exist! Where do you end up?

They surely do!


This morning, I heard the song above playing on an obscure radio station that possibly plays to people who are in the same ballpark age group as I am…

And I was transported in my little time machine to my first kiss. I was in primary school and the ravisher of my lips was a boy named Ian. It was an odd kiss, as I was more concerned with the mechanics (should my eyes be closed? At what angle should my head be positioned – because it probably looked as though one ear was directly aimed at heaven, waiting for that loud call from God. God usually stood in for my father, so when my daddy wasn’t there, the expectation of God showing up did a pretty neat job of keeping me unkissed!)

But, God must have been otherwise preoccupied that evening and, as Blondie crooned in the background, I discovered that the first kiss is always the most memorable. Not because it is the greatest kiss, but because there is nothing to compare it to at that stage.

So I hunted down the track and played it again – and the nostalgia rose up again. It seems that this time machine has a repeat button. But I know that only the old adebbie harry.jpgre nostalgic, so I hit the 2016 button and dragged myself from 1980 back to the present, and when I arrived back here, I suddenly felt old. And I wondered if Debbie Harry was still alive. She is, and is 71 years old this year.

My dad, who eventually let go and let God struggle with his daughter, always says that getting old is easy – you grow into it. I guess it’s a little like the frog in the pot of water. The rapture the frog is waiting for is far removed from the one I held my Beechies breath for decades ago.

Anyhow, today will be a good day to dust off the eighties albums. I will hunt down some neon green socks and cool Madonna glasses and bright blue eyeshadow. Sometimes there is a blur in my memory and I’m not sure where the 70s ended and the 80s began. ‘Cos I’m so tempted to dig up a pair of gym tights (still in wrapper) and pretend they’re the footless tights we loved so much.

On second thoughts, perhaps I’ll just do some work and then pop out to the shops later to buy a jar of night cream. At least I’ll feel younger when I climb back into my time machine, and perhaps I’ll even meet someone there who – like me – looks old but still feels as though it all happened last week Saturday.

Where did Blondie take you? Or perhaps you have never even heard of her.