The Shack – William P. Young

I think the first time I’ve read this book was in 2009. One of my friends lent it to me.

Last year, I noticed a copy for sale at our local library. I bought it and lent it to the guard at work. He loves to read and he loved this book.

I then decided to reread it, because I could only remember snippets of the story.

Unfortunately, not everyone will like this story. My grandfather hated it, because he couldn’t accept that God may take on the form of a black woman.

I’ve also noticed they’ve turned it into a movie. Wonder how that turned out?

Backcover:

Mackenzie Allen Philip’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his ‘Great Sadness’, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant ‘The Shack’ wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answer Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!

What I liked about the book: The book is essentially about forgiveness. God, in the story, wants to save Mack from himself, from his bitterness. He wants to release him from his burden, his ‘Great Sadness’.

It teaches us that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you forget or that you have to trust that person again. ‘Forgiveness does not establish a relationship’ (p.225).

Forgiveness is also a journey, it’s not instant and you may need God’s help to forgive.

What I didn’t like: When I first read it, I believed it was based on true story. When you read the story, you really want it to be real. But when I found out it was just fiction, I was disappointed.

First published: 2007

Rating: 5/5

 

The Villanelle from hell

Writing a villanelle
I’m stumbling over the fixed rhyme
the poem from hell

I’m thrown into a prison cell
my sorry efforts the crime
writing a villanelle.

The poet is under an evil spell
while the devil rolls the die:
the poem from hell.

How long now, who can tell?
Frankly, who has the time?
writing a villanelle.

Demons are sounding the bell
the poet maketh a frustrated cry
the poem from hell.

The awful sound of the knell
Ding dong the end is nigh.
Writing a villanelle
the poem from hell.

The Moonchildren Villanelle

The reason why I didn’t do Napowrimo this year, is because I wanted to challenge myself by trying to write a fixed rhyme poem. I chose the villanelle.

A villanelle is a French verse form consisting of 19 lines arranged in five three-line verses and a final four-line verse. Only two rhymes are used. Line 1 is repeated in line 6, 12 and 18 and line 3 is repeated in line 9, 15 and 19 (The Works 8 by John Foster).

Well, it’s not perfect yet, but here it is:

The Moonchildren Villanelle

Once a month, night turns to day
you will witness a curious sight*
the moonchildren come out to play

The moonlight is a sun’s ray
the moonchildren’s torn clothes white*
once a month, night turns to day.

Frolicking barefoot they stray
up to all kinds of mischief on the night
the moonchildren come out to play.

Not a care in the world, they go about their way
the full moon is shining bright
once a month, night turns to day.

How I long to join them. Do you think I may?
my dreams take flight*
the moonchildren come out to play.

Tell the Moon to wait, to stay
one day I might persuade, they might sway.**
Once a month, night turns to day
the moonchildren come out to play.

*These lines still need a little work.

I’m already working on my next poem about how I hated writing a villanelle, hahaha!

**Oops! I only realised the other day that I made a mistake. The rhyming scheme for the last verse should be abaa not 4 a’s! Here is the alternative line:

one day I might persuade, one day they might…

Slaughterhouse five – Kurt Vonnegut

I was somewhat disappointed. Maybe it was the title, but I expected it to be more horrific, gory even. I never imagined that it would read like a science fiction novel.

What I found interesting is the fact that the book is a meta-narrative semi-autobiography, because it is based on author Kurt Vonnegut’s own experience in Dresden.

I was confused and kept thinking that maybe, perhaps I had the wrong book in hand. But what are the chances that there are two books called ‘Slaughterhouse Five’?

It was hard to tell when the Billy Pilgrim character was telling the truth or hallucinating. Was he really abducted by aliens, was he really a time traveller or was it just all in his head?

I also kept thinking why ‘Billy Pilgrim’? Pilgrim creates the idea that the character is on a journey to discovery.

Backcover: Billy Pilgrim returns from World War II to a comfortable life and loving family, but the damage is already done. Unable to reconnect with his life, Billy has become “unstuck” in time and bounces from one decade to another, reliving moments of his life, unable to control where he will end up next. Slaughterhouse-Five treats one of the most horrific massacres in European history—the World War II firebombing of Dresden, a city in eastern Germany, on February 13, 1945—with mock-serious humor and clear antiwar sentiment (Source: sparknotes).

First published: 1969

Rating: 3/5

 

Women who run with the wolves – Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Back cover: The writer is a Jungian psychoanalyst and cantadora (keeper of the old stories), of many years standing. She reveals how within every woman there lives a Wild Woman, filled with passionate creativity and ageless knowing – but repressed for centuries by a value system that trivializes emotional truth, intuitive wisdom and instinctual self-confidence. Dr Estés’s extraordinary and enriching bestseller shows how, through her foremost interpretation of story and her psychological commentary, we can reclaim, and rejoice in, our true feminine power – how we can awaken within the depths of our souls one who is both magic and medicine.

Someone recommended this book to me, because of one of the stories that features in the book: The Skeleton Woman. She also told me to watch this adaptation of the story.

The first time I saw it, it was very spooky and unnerving. It’s almost as if something deep inside my soul was stirring and awakening. I dare you to watch it!

Some of the other stories that Estés touches on also feels somewhat familiar. Bluebeard is very similar to the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”. Not the Disney version though.

Also The Red Shoes also seems very familiar almost as if I’ve heard or seen the story before. Or maybe it is because when I was a little girl I had a pair of red boots once. I loved those boots. In The Red Shoes the herione becomes obsessed with a pair of red shoes, mostly because it is taken away from her.

Estés uses the wolf as a methaphor because according to her “healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: playful spirit, devotion, strength but also hunted and harassed.”

The only thing that bothered me about these types of books is that with the last 100 pages you start resenting it. There is just too much information to work through. It took me a month to finish this book.

Apparently this book is meant for a study group or a book club, something you can read and reread over a long period of time.

First published: 1992

Rating: 5/5

 

Nopowrimo

I decided not to do Napowrimo this year.

But

I am thinking of trying to write a villanelle. If you’ve never wrote a villanelle, they are really hard.

Some people are lucky. It’s just 1-2-3 and they have a masterpiece.

Not me. It’s probably going to take a while.

Fingers crossed.

2 stupid dogs

Who remembers watching this show when you we’re a kid in the 90’s? There was always this random guy popping up whenever the two dogs did something stupid.

Awwww.. isn’t that cute?

BUT IT’S WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does this remind you of someone?

I was reminded of this random character in the first few weeks at my new job. Every time I did something wrong, my boss would look at me as if to say:

Awwww, isn’t that cute?

BUT IT’S WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Nils Holgersson se wonderbaarlike reis

Ek was altyd mal oor die kinderstories wat ons op TV gekyk het toe ek nog klein was. Nils Holgersson was my gunsteling kinder TV-reeks.

Ek het laas jaar by ‘n boekuitverkoping op die vertaling van Nils Holgersson afgekom en dit dadelik gekoop.

Groot was my verbasing toe ek die boek begin lees en besef dit stem nie ooreen met my herinneringe nie.

nils_holgerson05

NIls en Krummel op Martien se rug

Daar is nou wel baie verskille tussen die boekstorie en die TV-storie. Die grootste verskil is dat Krummel glad nie in die boek voorkom nie. Dit blyk dat die Japannese wat die TV animasie geskep het, daardie storie element ook geskep het.

Van die ganse se name is ook anderster. Ek onthou die TV-reeks is daar Gunar, Gustar, Ingrid, Lasse en Siri. Donsveertjie is sommer Donsie en Martien is Maarten.

Smirre is darem in die boek – of eintlik net in die eerste helfte.

smirre

Agtergrond: Selma Lagerlöf (1858 – 1940), Sweedse skrywer, onderwyser en eerste vroulike wenner van die Nobelprys vir Letterkunde.

selma_lagerlof

Sy het “Nils Holgersson” in opdrag van die Nasionale Onderwyser Assosiasie geskryf – hulle wou spesifiek ‘n geografie boek vir kinders hê.

Die boek is in 1906 gepubliseer. Dit was oorspronklik as twee boeke gepubliseer; die eerste in 1906 en die tweede in 1907.

Sy het baie ander werke ook geskryf, alhoewel “Nils Holgersson” die mees bekendste is.

Die Japannese TV-animasie reeks is in 1980 geskep. Die regie is gedoen deur Hisayuki Toriumi (1941 – 2009) van Studio Pierrot, Tokio. Die studio bestaan nou nog

Dié reeks is later aangepas en in die volgende lande gewys: Arabië, Kanada, Frankryk, Duitsland, Swede, Finland, Iran, Ysland, België, Griekeland, Nederland, Poland, Portugal, Romenië, Spanje, Slovenië, Hongarye, die Sjeggiese Republiek, Israel, Turkye, Italië, Hong Kong, China, Suid-Afrika en Albanië.

Ek beveel hierdie boek vir enigiemand aan. 5/5

 

Friends vs Facebook Friends

I think social media has created confusion on what the word “friend” means. Let me try to make it clearer.

A Facebook friend is someone who likes and comments on your posts. Who tags you when they upload a photo of you.

A Facebook friend thinks that by following your profile means that they are actively involved in your life.

A Facebook friend is someone who tells you “Happy Birthday” on your wall, but only when Facebook tells them that it is your birthday.

A Facebook friend is someone who you might have been close to earlier in your life but you have moved apart from.

A Facebook friend is someone who was really your friend once and promised to stay your friend forever no matter what, promised that you will never lose touch.

VS

A friend is someone who really cares about you and makes time for you. They will actually call you or message you or even come over to your house.

A friend is someone who knows your birthday and that you hate receiving flowers or plants as gifts.

A friend is someone who accepts you for who you are, but are not afraid to tell you when you are wrong.

A friend is someone who won’t reject or unfriend you.

So, you can just be my Facebook Friend or you can be my real friend. The choice is yours.

Why do we celebrate birthdays?

I have a confession to make: I could never understood why we make such a big fuss when it is someone’s birthday.

It’s only fun when you’re a kid growing up. Once you reach adulthood it’s somewhat overrated.

I wonder if Jesus ever celebrated his birthday? Maybe there is a reason why we don’t know Jesus’s exact birthday?

Happy Birthday

I also could never say “Happy Birthday” and mean it at the same time. But what does it actually mean?

Are we actually just saying: Well done! You’re one year older. Big whoop.

Who wants to live forever? I don’t. Who wants to grow older? I don’t. Celebrating birthdays is against everything the world and society stands for. Just look at all the anti-ageing products on the shelf.

Or maybe we’re saying: Congratulations, I am happy to have you in my life.

But I only see or hear from some of my friends on their birthdays. So… basically they are not really in my life… so what is the point?

There are people who believe that when you tell someone “Happy Birthday” your good wishes will keep them from harm. Which is actually bullshit, a superstition – nobody is that powerful.

 

What is the history of birthday celebrations?

Well, apparently the Egyptians and Greeks were the first people to celebrate birthdays – but only the days of the gods.

Romans were the first to celebrate their birthdays – well actually just the men. Women only joined the party in the 12th century.

It was originally considered a pagan ritual – until Christians decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

But a lot of people see birthdays as the celebration of the self or self-worship.

Conclusion

If it is done for the right reasons and when you are really in my life, I will celebrate my or your birthday with you. Otherwise, I’m not interested.