Worldbuilding Wednesday – The Good, the Bad, the Diminishing

I ended the previous Worldbuilding Wednesday post with the death of Sifa which caused the world of Airtha-Eyrassa to fall and the Veil between the mortal and immortal world to be put in place.

This week I’m looking at the events that brought about The Diminishing, including the death of the Airus called Leralia. As usual, though, not everything is as simple as it first appears and there are good guys, bad guys, and a bad guy turned good.

To read the previous worldbuilding post first, click here (it will open in a new tab).

Both angered and saddened at the death of Sifa, the Airus took to calling Lewjan’s followers the Khaldun — servants of the shadow — and his followers revelled in their new name.

The Airus closed the passes of the Rhager Mountains to the Khaldun and tried to forget that they were of one kin, preferring to build a world separate of that of the Khaldun.

After twenty-one years had passed, the Leralia, who was one of the Airus, went to Lewjan and the Khaldun to ask them to let go of and forget about their rage and return to the Airus. But Lewjan would have none of it. Instead, he had her bound and stoned before delivering her death-blow himself. Then they burned her body and scattered the ashes in the wind.

And it is said that Lewjan and the Khaldun’s minds were changed when they slew Leralia and that hate and anger burned in them like never before, fed from Lewjan himself.

The Khaldun crafted many weapons for themselves and went to the dwelling of the Airus Elders, attacked them at dawn, and slew them all.

Witnessing this brutal slaughter, the Airus crafted their own weapons with which to defend themselves. Years of warfare between the Airus and Khaldun followed, and it was these deeds that started the Diminishing. Some took to calling this the Days of Mourning.

But there was one of the Khaldun, calles Hagtan, who would not lift a hand against Leralia. Seeing this, Lewjan ordered Hagtan to be brought before him. The Khaldun bound him and made him watch Leralia’s execution before beating him and taking him to one of the passes of the Rhager Mountains. There they told him to go to the Airus elders and to tell them what had been done.

Having no other choice, nor the will to fight back, Hagtan went to the Airus’ lands where he was found and brought before the elders.

Hagtan told them all that had happened and prepared steeled himself for death. However, he was shown mercy and taken to a room to rest and recover his strength.

Later, he would fight side-by-side with Eamund, but would be killed at the Battle of Achtarian.

Okay, so I guess that last sentence was a bit of a spoiler for next week’s post… oh well.

More news of The Ruon Chronicles

I’m still busy working on the outline for the series, although the past week things has been going a bit slow as I’ve been a bit ill and so try to save most of my brain power for work.

I did flirt with switching two characters around in The Knowledge Stones, and then luckily – before starting to write everything out – realised that there is no way that it would work.

What I did manage to do was switch some chapters around in order to let the reader meet Zala first (she is one of the main characters of The Knowledge Stones). The whole meeting Trevian (whose name is about to change, more on this later) first – while it worked for the first draft – did not fit anymore and I took quite a while to figure out where and how to let the reader meet Zala without it feeling forced.

That said, I also realised that I really need to change Trevian’s name. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the name; but it is far too close to Tarion (and I’ve already written a large part of another part of the series containing Tarion, so his name is more “set in stone” to me).

To top it off, I went and gave another character a similar name as well. And this may have worked had I not written a scene with all three together and realising just how close the names are to each other!

I have yet to decide on a new name, though. I think I’ve grown used to Trevian, so I’ll take a while to find another name that just “feels right”.

Other than that it is more the novella Grove of Graves that I’m changing than I’m actually changing anything on The Knowledge Stones.

I have to redo part of the map for The Knowledge Stones, though, and move some of the places at the beginning of the story further north. Otherwise I’m going to have another main character, Aaron, do nothing but walk for a few weeks. And that’s… well, it’s boring. The only way that I can make the story work after the new chapter 1 that I wrote, is to move places to the north of Heimfeie, actually. This, however, is not too bad, as I only spend two chapters there before moving on to other places in the world.

I should also be able to redo the map for next week’s worldbuilding post!

Next week I’ll also have a look at two of the main battles during the Days of Mourning, including the Battle of Achtarian.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Update and Other Stories!

It’s almost the fifteenth of the month! And I am not even a quarter of the way through The Knowledge Stones. Oops.
This happened mostly because I’m figuring out exactly what to put where in the first few chapters that is now completely new. I then also realised that I need to change one of the secondary characters’ fate completely and add another secondary character. Now, he actually does have a true purpose and wasn’t just added because he just pitched up! (Which happens quite often while writing.)
In short, the first chapter featuring Zala has been written – whoohoo! – and I’m now on chapter three. Once these are sorted, though, the writing should go a lot faster.
That said, one of my writer friends and I are going to try and write through the night on Friday (15 November) to see how far we can get with our stories and then basically just sleep part of Saturday.

Other stories popping up out of nowhere

I may have also started another short story (which needs to be done by the twentieth as I want to send it to a publication for publishing) and I’m also excited to be busy writing that. I also got a cool idea for another story. For that one I need to do some research still before I can actually plot the whole thing out, but it’s also going to be fantasy.
A third story I’m pondering writing properly is one which has been rattling around in my brain for a few years now. It’s scifi, but definitely not hard scifi by any stretch of the imagination. The story is rather treading that thin line between fantasy and scifi. The story will be an Afrikaans one (just because I feel like writing an Afrikaans one for a change!), while I also want to translate Pandjieswinkelgoed that appeared in Vrouekeur in 2018 into English and send that out for possible publication. But that will have to wait until after November, I’m afraid.

Also, be sure to check out my Instagram (@carin_chronicles) feed for more stories and updates on NaNoWriMo as I go along. You can also read along some parts of The Knowledge Stones on my Patreon page if you’re one of my Patrons.

That’s it from me for now – hope everyone has an absolutely awesome week!

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Writing Wednesday: “Ruon Chronicles”, “Porselein”, and “All the Things I Forgot”

I’m back from my birthday long weekend (during which I tried to do as much writing or at least planning as possible). Because thank you, headcold.  Here’s what I’m currently busy with and some exciting news for the release of All the Things I Forgot.

Ruon Chronicles — The timeline and The Knowledge Stones

I’ve been doing quite a lot of work on the timeline and rewriting some parts which no longer fit into the larger narrative of the Ruon Chronicles. Most of this has to do with the initial Knowledge Stone and how it was broken and the pieces scattered. I also needed to work on the timeline of The Knowledge Stones and The Grove of Graves as I moved everything closer together rather than having a 200-odd-year gap between The Grove of Graves and the book with the working title Charms of Life and Death. Action! Drama! Intrigue! Adventure! And, of course, embroidery!

Talking of which, I finally drew what I imagine the “hiding cloak” charm looks like:

Hiding Cloak Charm from The Ruon Chronicles

Now, picture a cloak absolutely filled with these charms and you get the idea. I’ve tried some other designs for charms, but I’m not quite happy with those yet. So far I haven’t had to specifically write about them, luckily, which makes things a lot easier.

Porselein & the Ghost Story

I’ve honestly not worked on Porselein in weeks unless you count a bit of research on medieval and renaissance guilds. I did put in some time on the radio drama over the weekend. The idea has changed a bit, but it’s still a supernatural/ghost story with the working title “Moet vergeet” (”Must forget”). The drama is in Afrikaans (like Porselein) and I’m still hoping to finish it in time to enter it into a local radio drama competition. That said, I’ll work mostly on this drama over the next few weeks and put Ruon Chronicles and specifically The Knowledge Stones on the back burner.

All the Things I Forgot

One of the great things about self-publishing something, is that making changes is a lot easier! All the Things I Forgot is not a new story, but a new jacket for Forgotten which, looking back, just didn’t work. The new title also suits the story a lot better, methinks.

Cover for All the Things I Forgot

Reading Update: Essays and Porcelain

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Essays

Uit die dagboek van ’n vrou, by Audrey Blignault, compiled by Marié Heese.

Originally written for Sarie (one of the staple South African magazines), these essays by a beloved South African and Afrikaans author gives a view into a life filled with happiness and pain and all the things and emotions that make up a life well and truly lived.

Audrey died in 2008 at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy of beautiful writing.

(Sorry, this book is not available in translation.)

Porcelain

The White Road: Journey Into an Obsession by Edmund de Waal

Originally bought as a research tool for Porselein, I’ve quite fallen in love with this book and its beautiful, evocative language. It truly shows the ‘la maladie de porcelaine or Porzellankrankheit’ (“Porcelain sickness”) that takes hold of people who work with and collect porcelain.

It really is one of those books that you don’t want to read too fast as is informative without reading like a lecture.

It’s split into five parts, following the story of porcelain through the centuries:

  • Part 1 – Jingdezhen
  • Part 2 – Versailles – Dresden (where I am in the book at the moment)
  • Part 3 – Plymouth
  • Part 4 – Ayoree Mountain – Ekruria – Cornwall
  • Part 5 – London – Jingdezhen – Dachau

Fiction and behind the scenes: Scorched Earth

If you haven’t read “Scorched Earth” on my Patreon page, you can read it below. The ‘behind the scenes’ starts after the story.

Scorched Earth

I watched as smoke from the burning farmhouse furled into the sky. Arguing voices pulled me away from the ghost shapes in the smoke.

Tante Maria was struggling to get onto the wagon while clutching the large family Bible in one arm.

“I’m not leaving it!” she shouted at the khaki-clad soldier, not caring whether or not he understood what she was saying. “Our family’s history is in that Bible!”

“Give it to me,” I said, forcing myself into the present with its horror of the burning house, the slaughtered animals, the false notes of the piano being hacked to pieces to become part of a cooking fire.

Maria paused and then handed me the Bible with shaking hands. She struggled to get onto the wagon in her long dress. One of the soldiers laughed at another’s crude joke and I clutched the Bible tighter, wishing it would bring me some comfort. Precariously seated, Maria reached down and took the Bible from me, placing it reverentially on her lap. She started reciting Psalm 91, hands clutched together.

“Ik zal tot den Heere seggen: Mijn Toevlucht en mij Burg! Mijn God, op Welen ik vertrouw!” Tears flowed over her cheeks as she watched her house burn to the ground.

I swallowed hard. I was supposed to have been safe here. Johannes promised me. Smoke blew in our direction and, for a moment, covered the stench of the animal carcasses.

I didn’t want to see the ghosts again, but here they were; fallen comrades who even in death remained with their brothers in arms.

Where in heaven’s name is Johannes? He promised the day he left he wouldn’t go far. Promised he would not let them burn this farm like the others. In my mind I kept on reciting the Psalm, trying to feel the angels and their wings around me, keeping me safe.

Johannes’ voice sounded in my ears as I turned to climb onto the wagon.

“Want Hij zal Zijn engelen vam u bevelen, dat sij u bewaren in al uw wegen.”

I looked around and spotted him standing some way off. Still dressed in simple clothes, he no longer held a Mauser in his hands. His chest was covered in dark blood and sand crusted his face. I wanted to wipe it away, to tell him it’s alright. I wanted to beat his chest and ask him how he could have left me. How he could let me go to the camps. How he dared recite the Bible to me.

I jumped when a young soldier touched my arm and I stepped back.

“Jy sien ook?” he asked, the words barely recognisable. “You see them as well?” he repeated in English, his eyes pleading.

“See what?” I shrugged and climbed onto the wagon, sitting down next to Maria.

The young soldier folded his arms around him, eyes darting from ghost to ghost.

I stared down at my soot-covered hands.

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Behind the scenes

Written originally as the May story for my patrons over on Patreon, it was supposed to be a simple historical fiction story, but it morphed into speculative fiction as I was writing. (No surprise there, actually.)

I had been filing some photos on my laptop and came across some photos of the memorial* in Bloemfontein (Free State), that is in honour of the women and children who died in the concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902).

The story takes place during the scorched earth policy on a farm being attacked and burned down. I didn’t want to paint a sweeping portrait of what was happening and why (this wasn’t supposed to be a history lesson, after all), and focused only on a small happening within the larger attack.

The use of language

This is, I think, the first time I used three languages in one story, but there wasn’t an Afrikaans translation of the Bible until 1933, and the Dutch Bible was used before that. I was also thinking of Engela van Rooyen’s book Vuur op die horison (Fire on the horison), in which she switches between Afrikaans and English depending on the character speaking, etc. (Stealing for fun, of course.)

Readers who aren’t Christian probably won’t know Psalm 91, but I knew that they would know, more likely than not, that Psalms is from the Bible. And that would convey enough meaning even though it is more poignant if you understand what she is reciting:

Psalm 91 King James Version (KJV)

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Supernatural elements

The supernatural elements that came to the fore came out of nowhere, that is to say, I didn’t think about putting them in until the character suddenly saw the figures of fallen soldiers in the smoke. And that is also when the other soldier, who can also see the ghosts, made his appearance. Which helped greatly as I didn’t want the soldiers to all just be the faceless bad guys.

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* Photos of the memorial taken by me.

Adventures in writing “Porselein”

Or, on building a new world

I have gotten so used to writing in the world of Airtha-Eyrassa, that building a whole new world for Porselein has come as quite a shock to my system! Suddenly I’m left with a complete blank page screaming “Here be dragons” and I’m not even sure if that world has dragons in it, or not. See, I have been building Airtha-Eyrassa for some years now. I know the countries and the people and the magic. And what do I go and do then? I start a whole new book and maybe even a new series before finishing The Ruon Chronicles. Because apparently I like living on the edge. What does help, though, is that one is predominantly English, while Porselein is being built and written in Afrikaans from the start.

So, what do you do when you’re faced with a blank page and a world you need to create? Well, in my case, you jump in right in the middle – with the magic of the world. Once I had a better idea of the magic that is present in the world, I was able to build around it by asking some basic worldbuilding questions. (You can read more about it in this post.)

What started out in my mind as a pseudo-Victorian-steampunkish world soon became a late Renaissance/early Enlightenment type of world. This meant more research (obviously) and trips to the local library (poor old me…). That change in the world, along with changing the names to turn it into a complete secondary world really brought the world of Nisamy and the other countries to life for me.

I can’t, however, say that the map I’ve drawn so far looks like much…

Capture-Nisamy first map

… it definitely needs a lot more work! But it is a place to start and gives me an idea of what I have to deal with.

At the moment I have the first draft of the macro outline of Porselein done and will be working on my homework for my writing course (for which I’m writing this novel) before I review the whole outline. That will also give my subconscious time to mull it over. Now you may be curious as to what I’m writing for the homework – all I can say is that it is a very important scene that takes place in the “store” of the Memory Sellers.

Though I am not 100% happy with my outline, a second and third pass should fix the problems. I just have to keep on reminding myself that what I’ve written in the first/initial draft or outline isn’t carved in stone.

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The last writing update of 2017!

With just half a month to go until 2018, I thought it best to give a last update on my writing for 2017 as well as looking forward to 2018.

Patreon fiction – The Box of Secrets and The Ruon Chronicles

The Box of Secrets have stalled a bit over October and November as I readied myself for NaNoWriMo (and then the pawpaw then hit the fan with a family crisis and me having severe anemia on top of all my other stuff…), but I am glad to say that part six’s first draft is finished, as well as the first scene of part 7.

Part 6 will be posted in January, and The Box of Secrets will finish in March or April 2018. (There may be a bridging part to link Secrets with Grove of Graves.) The Box of Secrets will then be ready by end of May 2018 to be put onto Noisetrade Books (yay!).

This will mean that you’ll be able to read the whole of The Box of Secrets in one volume – for free! I’m thinking of donating all the proceeds from, Secrets to either a Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s foundation, but I first need to figure out the ins and outs of that before I can give a definitive go-ahead on this plan…

You can read parts 1 to 4 on my Patreon page in the meantime.

Afrikaans fiction – Papier en porselein

Then, my dear NaNoWriMo project which failed dismally (in that I did not write the 50K words). I am going to work on this project over my December vacation and then start writing in earnest in January 2018.

This novel (if you are new to the blog) is an Afrikaans one that’s more urban fantasy than high fantasy, so it’s also kind of a new genre for me.

Looking forward to 2018

My main projects for 2018 will be The Ruon Chronicles (The Box of Secrets being first on the list followed by Charms of Life and Death) and Papier en Porselein, which I want to have finished by July 2018.

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Afrikaans Fiksie/Fiction – Labirint Twee

Die labirint se kronkelpad lei my al verder van die middelpunt en raak verstrengel met ander se paadjies. Die bol gare in my hande word al kleiner en kleiner soos ek deur die labirint loop en die gare, saam met ander s’n, soos ‘n web agter my laat. Om my is die groen mure, die baksteenmure, die ogies- en lemmetjiesdraad té hoog om oor te klim. As ek maar net die labirint van bo kon sien sou ek dalk antwoorde kon kry.

Is die labirint dalk ‘n ewigdurende sirkel; ‘n wiel wat slegs om en om beweeg waarin die eras, jare en seisoene hulle slegs herhaal? Of dalk is dit slegs vierkantig of reghoekig? Of dalk, soos die Nazca-lyne, sal dit prente vorm wat net van die wolke af gesien kan word en in geheim gehul is vir die sterflikes.

Maar ek stap steeds. Onder my voete is daar grond, gruis, gras. Herinneringe wat naderhand tot stof vertrap word soos wat hulle oor en oor en heen en weer in my kop ronddobber. Ek loop en loop deur die gange van my gedagtes terwyl die bol afrol. Iewers ver agter my is die beginpunt van die bol. Iewers in die middelpunt van die labirint. Iewers… maar ek kan nie fisies terugkeer nie. Die gare kan nie netjies opgerol en op ‘n ander pad geneem word nie. Dit wat reeds op die gare geëts is kan nie weer uitgevee word nie. Die wol kan nie weer wit gemaak word nie. En vir die hoeveelste keer wonder ek of daar net een pad uit die labirint is, of baie. Kan my voete al die tyd net hierdie een grond-gruis-gras pad volg? Kán wol weer wit gemaak word?

Ek stap verby ‘n lang gang vol portrette. Ek weet wie die gesigte in die olieverf is. Ek was daar toe elkeen omgekom het. Ek was die laaste een om hulle hande te neem. Ek was die laaste een wat hulle gesien het. Ek is die een wat hulle gare geknip het. Ander het dit dalk gespin en gemeet maar ek? Ek het net ‘n skêr gekry. Ek stap verby en kyk nie weer na die gesigte van dié wat onder my toesig deur die skoppensboer kom haal is nie.

Is dit reg dat ek – ek wat gare knip en weef en spin en sien hoe dit alles voor my oopvou soos ‘n fyn tapisserie – nou ook my eie pad moet stap om net aan die einde my eie gare te moet knip? Of gaan iemand anders dit knip?

Miskien gaan die gare net opraak.

Sal die uil ook vir my kom roep of die sterre vir my kom sing? Of wag net die skoppensboer?

Die gare word al minder en minder.

Maar my hande is nog nie moeg nie.

“Labirinte” kan verder gelees word op Wattpad.

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Die uil en die skoppensboer

Deborah het voor al die ander inwoners geweet dat daar dié aand weer ‘n uil op pad is. ‘n Mens se lewe bestaan tog net uit twee tye: voor die uile kom en ná hulle gekom het. Party se uile is altyd naby en sweef geruisloos saam met hulle deur die leed van die lewe – totdat hulle huil-huil roep al is wat weerklink wanneer hulle oplaas die nag nader roep en die laaste gare geknip word. Maar sý, Deborah, is die een wat – verstrengel in ‘n ander se gare – moet wag tot die môre toe wanneer die uil die laaste keer sal roep om die skoppensboer te verwelkom. Tyd vir die uitgekose om oor sy sondes na te dink terwyl sy lewensgare meter-vir-meter, minuut-vir-minuut, deur haar vingers gly.

Die hekse-uur roep die doodsuil, met sy kennis van wie sou sterf nader. Kennis van die dood, maar geen om op haar skouer te kom sit en die rede vir al die lyding vir haar te fluister nie. Om haar neem die naggeluide van die kompleks oor. Die gehuil van nommer vier se baba wie besig is om tande te kry. Musiek wat doef-doef uit ‘n tiener se kamer weergalm totdat die pa luid kom stilmaak. Onrustige troeteldiere. Insekte wat fladder om al wat ‘n lig is. ‘n Slak by haar voete wat blink patrone op die plaveisel verf. Sy, soos ‘n halwe standbeeld met oë wat stip staar, maar hande wat gare saggies knoop en weef terwyl sy op die uil wag.

Deborah weef sommer ‘n paar ekstra patrone in om die uitgekose sterwer ‘n nagmerrie te gee terwyl sy nou besig is en die uil nog nie te sien is nie. Laat hy móói oor sy sondes dink in hierdie laaste aand. Net dalk skrik hy homself ook nugter.

Wanneer die doodsvoël oplaas tot by die vuiluil se dak sweef, kan jy die mensevrees vir die donker aanvoel. Daardie vrees waarop sy so goed kan teer voordat sy die gare in die donker ure knip. Daar is tóg iets omtrent die geluide van die nag.

Die doodsuil, ‘n nonnetjiesuil, roep drie maal en draai sy kop sodat hy reguit vir Deborah kyk. Sy gesig is wit en spookagtig in die straatlig. ‘n Voël wat eintlik te mooi is om die dood aan te kondig.

“Laat daar net iets met daai kind verkeerd wees,” skel sy na die een op sy sterfbed. “Ek bring jou terug en maak jou met my eie twee hande vrek! Dan kan jy maar soos ‘n lewende dooie swerf totdat jy weer aarde word. Net ‘n hopie vergete herinneringe van ‘n ruwe man met ‘n te kort humeur.” Deborah werk die gare in patrone in. Sal hy ooit enigsins oor sy sondes dink?

Maar sy het oorgenoeg tyd oor om aan al háár sondes deur die eeue te dink. Die een sonde wat groter as die ander is, dink sy, en vou haar tjalie stywer om haar. Sy probeer sy gesig onthou. Donker hare. Donkerbruin oë wat plooitjies trek wanneer hy werklik glimlag en toeknyp wanneer hy lag. Sproete wat so lig is dat jy hulle eers sien wanneer jy naby genoeg is om hom te soen.

 

‘n Onvergeeflike fout, dalk. Maar ‘n keuse wat sy weer sal maak.

Sy vryf haar vingerpunte oor die sy van die tjalie wat nooit klaar gehekel is nie. Die res is in fyn gare gewerk – al haar gunsteling patrone deurmekaar – en lyk soos kant. ‘n Herinnering aan die gelukkigste tyd in haar lewe. En toe word hy siek. En sy onthou dat sy nie soos die sterflinge is nie.

Die uil roep-roep weer en weer en sy sien hoe sit ou vuiluil die kamerlig aan. Asof dit die doodsvoël sal wegjaag. Die dood so saam met die donkerte sal weghou. Maar die gare raak minder. Deborah tel die skêr op en bring die lemme tot teenaan die gare. Hoekom word party so baie tyd gegee? En dan is daar kinders vir wie sy nog skaars die gare opgetel het en dan moet sy dit alweer knip. Partykeer kan sy nie anders om die ma s’n – wat so om die ander een verstrengel is – ook te knip nie. Maar is dit nie partymaal beter so nie? Dat daardie keuse gemaak word. Dat jy dit wíl maak. Sál maak. Pynverligting.

Haar susters weet ook van die moeilike keuses. Hulle verstaan dis anders as om deur die stad te beweeg en net die eersgeborenes te kies. Daar is nie so ‘n vaste patroon vir hulle nie. Hulle kan een minuut of ‘n honderd jaar saam met ‘n sterfling deurbring en wag vir die skoppensboer om op te daag.

Roep-roep-huil-huil weerklink die doodskreet bo die verkeer in die verte. Huil-huil roep die doodsvoël al haar herinnerings nader. Die sterfbed. Die reuk van medisyne. Bloed. Uriene. Pynkrete wat die uil s’n uitdoof regdeur die nag. Opium. Meer opium. Een hand wat vir ‘n oomblik die gare wil los om tog nie net nog ‘n bietjie meer medisyne te gee nie. Net ‘n bietjie te veel. ‘n Hart wat breek wanneer die hand die gare vasklem.

Die dekselse uil wat huil en roep en skree en net met die dood dreig in plaas daarvan om die skoppensboer nader te roep. In plaas daarvan om die sterfling se storie af te sluit.

Maar die tjalie is nog nie klaar nie en daar lê steeds gare langs haar en sy wil die steke lostorring en die tyd terugdraai. Maar nou is daar te veel pyn. Te veel gare. En alewig die doodsvoël wat roep.

En vuiluil hou net aan en aan. Onkruid vergaan tog nie. Jaar na jaar. Sonde na sonde. Sonde sonder om om vergifnis te vra.

En dan sien sy hom weer. Donker hare en oë wat lag en kreukel en ‘n sagte stem en gekreukelde lakens en goed wat sy nie wil onthou nie, maar wat vasgesteek het saam met die uil se roep wat haar hartsvlees met skerp kloue deurboor. Die aand wat die skoppensboer steeds ver was en die uil steeds krokodiltrane huil-huil roep tussen die pynkrete deur. Die aand toe sy besluit het die tjalie is ver genoeg gewerk. Die aand wat sý medisyne uitgedeel het en ‘n kus saggies op sy klam voorkop en mond gedruk het. Te veel medisyne. ‘n Laaste kus. Langs die gekreukelde bed met die laggende-oë-man gaan sit het en die gare net geknip het nog voor die patroon kaar was. Met ‘n laaste roep-huil het die uil gevlug. Seker maar om die skoppensboer te gaan haal.

Was dit moord? Dalk was dit. Die gare was nog nie op nie.

Die enigste skuld wat daar was, was dat sy dit nie vroeër gedoen het nie.

Hoekom dan nie ook onkruid nie? Dis tog daar om uitgeroei te word. Die verswelg net alles wat goed is om hulle.

Sy tel die skêr weer op. “Laat die skoppensboer maar laat wees.” Geruisloos sny die lem deur die lewensgare. Die huil-roep word stil. Twee liggevulde oë staar na haar.

“Ek moes dit al lankal gedoen het,” sê sy vir die doodsvoël. Maar hierdie keer voel sy nie verligting nie. Sy frommel die stuk gehekelde lap op en smyt dit op die plaveisel.

“Nou kom sit dan hier en roep vir my!” skree sy. “Ek het mos ook sondes om oor na te dink!” Trane maak alles wasem-swart voordat dit oor haar wange rol en van haar ken drup. “Mag ek nie ook vrede hê nie? Om godswil kom roep dan net hier ook! Hoekom moet ék so smeek om te sterf? Is ek nie die een wat die lewensgare knip nie? Word ek nie die vernietiger van ‘n wêreld elke keer as ek die gare knip nie?”
Asof hy weet wat sy gevra het, sweef die uil tot reg by haar. Hy kyk stip in Deborah se oë en roep weer drie keer.

“Ja, roep die skoppensboer! Ek wou al lankal gesterf het. Dáái aand moes hy my maar ook gevat het. Wat is ek nou? Net ‘n leë dop. Ek moes daai aand my eie gare saam met syne geknip het. Maar ek was te bang. ’n Ma sal ek saam met haar kind stuur, maar my eie gare hou ek verstrengel in my sak. Te bang om dit te knip. Te bang om enigiets daarmee te doen. Eintlik ook bang dit raak op.”

Sy haal die verstrengelde bol gare uit haar sak.

“Is dit sonde om net by hom te wil wees?” vra sy die uil. “Sê my, is dit? Was dit sonde om sy pyn op daardie manier te verlig? Is dié lewe, nou, my straf? Of het jy toe al die tyd geen wysheid nie?”

Sy tel die skêr op. “Of dalk maak dit nie meer vir my saak nie. Niemand luister na stories van uile en vrouens wat lewensgare weef en knip nie.” Sy druk die skêr in die bol wol in. “Vanaand is ek die skoppensboer. Vanaand kies ék wanneer iemand se tyd verby is.”

Sy knip.

Favourite Music Thursday Header

Favourite Music Thursday – “Piekniek vir twee”/”Picnic for two”

This Afrikaans song, “Piekniek vir TWEE” (“Picnic for two”), by TWEE (“Two”) is so beautiful and the music video really does it justice. I don’t even know if a translation of the lyrics is really necessary. (But there is an English translation below the video, don’t worry.)

Check out TWEE’s pages and channels!

Translation – “Picnic for two”

I would give everything, everything now
For shade under a peach tree,
A picnic for two
How is your afternoon and where do you want to be
Tell me about your victories, I know all the fear

And, of course, we would always know
Whether you remember or forget
But somewhere the answer will lie
Or so you said

I think we have to go to the farm
There’s dust in your hair and sweat on your cheek
I swear I love you and I reckon you know
I just yearn a bit for everything about us

Do you remember that morning with the thunder
You clung to my body, we were one then
Your smile save lives, well mine for sure
I wish I could explain how much I miss you

Afrikaans lyrics: Piekniek vir Twee
Ek sal nou alles, alles kan gee
Vir skadu onder ‘n perskeboom,
‘n piekniek vir twee
Hoe lyk jou middag en waar wil jy wees
Vertel van jou oorwinnings, ek ken al die vrees

En ons sal mos altyd weet
Of jy nou onthou of vergeet
Maar iewers sal die antwoord lê
Of so het jy gesê

Ek dink ons moet plaas toe gaan
Daar’s stof in jou hare en sweet op jou wang
Ek sweer ek is lief vir jou en ek reken jy weet
Ek verlang net so bietjie, na alles van ons twee

Onthou jy daai oggend met die donderweer
Jy’t vasgeklou aan my lyf, ons was toe een
Jou glimlag red lewens, wel myne beslis
Ek wens ek kon verduidelik hoe baie ek jou mis
(These I got from TWEE’s Facebook page.)