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Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

Song of the Day


This may not work. But as a stress-busting technique, I have decided to compose a song a day (read: when I have time) to capture the feelings and events of Teaching Practice.
Here goes:

6am, waking up in the morning
It’s not even dawn yet, not even fucking dawn yet
I would like to eat but I have morning nausea
So I take my pills and try not to chunder
Drivin’ out and fast, everybody’s rushin’
Try not to hit a donkey
Watch out for the cow, I see a gooooat (a goaaat!)
Chillin’ in the staff room
Stressing in the copy room
Gotta make my mind up
Who will crap on me neeeext?

English, Drama
Panic attacks daily
Ms G is looking forward to retirement, expirement
Hockey, netball
How did I end up with this?
I should have told them I’m a paraplegic, no shit

Plagiarism, plagiarism (yeah)
Illiteracy, illiteracy (yeah)
Sparknotes, Sparknotes
Marking work is ever so much fun!


Does this sound like Rebecca Black’s Friday? Maybe it’s because I hear it sung on the corridors so often it’s gotten stuck in my head


Ms G over and out


Disclaimer: please read my disclaimer


What Just Happened

Hands up if you thought Ms G was dead?

I’m the first to raise my quivering digits. The past five weeks of teaching practice have been GRUELLING to put it in a gentle, splendid way. If I was to be crass and hyperbolic about it, well, there would probably be drawings of dead people. The dead people being me. I nearly died. I nearly DIED.

As you may have begun to notice, ever so perceptibly, I am no longer as close to death as I claim I once was. By “once”, I mean two days ago. By all this pompous wit, I mean I have been watching comedy by Stephen Fry (and his loveliness taints me, oh, but how).

So, let’s talk about my resurrection. I have come down with a Universe-cursed anxiety-vexed shit-load amount of issues such as mouth ulcers, enflamed and infected cuts, headaches, sore throat, croaky voice, blocked ears, nausea, bad things coming out of ugly places, pimples, dirty hair (ok that one is my bad), mess, unvacuumed floors, skipping meals, eating crap, eating food with MSG in it, ordering cake, not eating cake, THROWING AWAY CAKE – and herein would lie my darkest of sins…

…Except there is this one: I have fallen behind with my work – a sacrilege deserving multiple exclamation points!!!

I have fallen behind with my work. I, the Queen of Supreme Wisdom and All Things Organised, was photocopying worksheets five minutes before they needed to be distributed, I got in trouble with various grown-ups about various adulty things that I didn’t do, and most shamefully, I did not meet my own tip-top levels of perfection that I have been demanding since birth and THUS
I managed to add disease to anxiety and completely collapsed in the middle of the week.

So I took a day and a half off work to sleep. I ate three meals a day. And I SLEPT. Like a cat on codeine.

And now, just nine hours until I’m expected back at school, I can honestly say I feel better. And I no longer want to become one with my duvet. And I have worked my tits off so I can be three days ahead of schedule, as the grown-ups expect me to be.

The moral of this high-winded post? You can’t do it all. So panic less, and breathe more.

Don’t anyone tell me to work more, or to stress less, because I will hit you with a weapon made of dictionaries, filing cabinets and anxiety medication.

Myth-busting time: For all those foo’s who thought that teachers work only until 2p.m. I’ll have you know that Ms G (and most other staff I know) works well into the afternoon, way past 5p.m. Then I spend my nights marking, worrying about the increasing rate of pregnant learners, and debating whether I should do an impromptu sex-ed talk the next time someone asks me what contraception is.

Sometimes I look for that piece of paper thingy with the lines, and I find I have already filed it away neatly…

I think I have become a filing somnambulist.


(Also, did you notice: Ms G and MSG? Am I a monosodium glutamate? Ahahaha aha — oh dear.)

For two

University is supposed to be a time of epiphanies

I was going to write that sometimes epiphanies are about mundane things

But then I thought about it and I realised that if you let the little things marvel you, nothing is really mundane.



I’ve gotten used  to shopping for one, cooking for one, living breathing and being for one. for me.

Then comes two.

Two means bigger, two means louder, two means more of everything and less of everything – time money love patience space hands thoughts and hearts

It means using the bigger pan

and squeezing into the tighter bed

it means – even if it is just for two weeks – that iiiii in all my boundary-obsessed ways need to revisualise everything so that it includes your

shoes – your one humble pair making my twenty look goofy, ridiculous, i should throw them out

pressed shirt folded pants thin tie – they hang on the back of my door so that each time i pass i beam with pride and i ask if you’d like me to iron them

socks – there’s just something about a boy’s socks lying around

i don’t know what

but there is something to it

your piles of coins making ancient Greek pillars on my sidetable

reminding me that we too

are building up to something

starting with a R1.

“We too” – look at that use of the first person plural

A rarity among these lines I write


And then it’s time for you to go

Squeezing all your towels and shirts into a backpack

Kissing you goodbye in a parking lot

I always seem to be leaving you in cold parking lots where nothing is static, so the name never fits, and I want to rebaptise them as lots of loss.


I come back to my empty room

Full of your absence

My sidetable blank despite the hairclips headbands and brastraps

The back of my door is an empty up-reaching arm



As I cook my dinner alone

I get my doses all wrong

There’s enough salad for your bottom-less belly

And I left the corn out especially

My fingers hook onto two plates in the pile

And I pause for a second

to unhook that overestimating finger

and take out a single plate


I’m in no rush to fix the pillows, still side by side

like the lovers that lay there this morning.

Let them stay –

I will sleep on my side tonight

as if you were still here



(on that note, happy five months, you incredible creature)


My sweating heart


There you go –

photo albums are filling up faster than I can annotate them

so please take this pen and help me.

I don’t want to forget a single thought.

Yes it’s cliché, but I breathe better this way.


If this is just a parenthetical blip —

Universe give me the strength not to evaporate

because I swear I’d lose all shape and space

if I lost you…


(this is how a lover muses

after the showers

after the bin-bags full of tissues, snot and vomit

this is how she begins to believe:

praying continuously

-not to god, because he moved to the bin-bag long ago-

but praying feverishly to the ceiling, to the sky, to Life,

that you will not leave

that all her epistemological musings on motion

might just have an exception

an exception with a name

a face

and an exceptionally warm tummy.)


Will you please

reassure my sweating heart,

Will you stay in this picture

Leave your hair on my pillow

And your breath in mine

Will you hold me as the trees disintegrate outside my window

Will you argue with the irrationality of my central nervous system

Will you tell it NO

I am staying

I am here

I am here

I am here.




09 June 2011



Next Year

It’s getting late

I’ve been scouring the net

for “a fun and friendly French family” who

“cannot wait to meet you”

the new au-pair who

would LOVE to live in your “8-bedroom castle”

or in my own semi-detached “appartement”

while looking after your perfectly dressed cherubim

with cheeky smiles and gorgeous bright eyes



what I would love most of all

is that fantastical coffee shop

(it’s definitely in the South)

(on a street corner)

(but there is no traffic. This is no Paris.)

where I sit eternally (because this is a recurring fantasy)

on my cute wooden chair

sipping my cappuccino

looking up suddenly, eagerly,

to catch your eye

watching you

cross the placid street

pull out the chair opposite me

and calmly


sit yourself down

taking my hands

in yours.

That, sweetheart, is what I see

when I hear the words

“Next Year”.

I bloody-well better be a prophet.

I’ll be damn disappointed if this is just a flashback from a corny French movie I once saw.

In essence, please love me.

My work is on the Jiggered website!

Last year I worked on writing some poetry on top of a few photos I had taken. You can see some of the originals here and here.


This year, they got published online by a wonderful independent magazine called Jiggered.

What I like most about them is their passion, above all, for art. This isn’t about money or egos. It’s about getting people’s work seen, encouraging creative expression and artistic interest.


You can catch Jiggered at www.jiggered.co.za

In a few weeks, those of you who are in Grahamstown will be able to buy the printed edition, which contains a (slightly adapted) version of my post on Risky Multitasking, explaining why I no longer drive while eating Steers ice-cream.


Yes, I am beyond stoked that people actually find me funny and are willing to put my words on paper and click Print and watch the computer freeze and click Print again until it actually works. Thank you 🙂


You can buy Jiggered at the Red Cafe on High Street, Grahamstown, as well as from the university’s Block House and from the Jehovah’s Witness door-to-door guys.

What. That IS what they do.

Uh, what’s this now?!

Look, Life.

I thought you followed the pedagogical approach known as scaffolding. I thought you introduced a simple concept, and then slowly built up to more complex concepts which reinforced this simple concept.

For example

This one time, I tried to eat yoghurt and blow-dry my hair at the same time, and I ended up with peach-flavoured hair balls.

Later on, I tried to write notes while eating fish, and ended up with scribble-licious hake.

Through this process, you taught me that multitasking can be very dangerous.

So then

This one time, I tried to have a real relationship with this kid. And he turned out to be an arrogant douche poop-head.

And another time, I met this really wonderful guy, and then he decided we should just be friends.

Through this process, you taught me that cats are my best friends, jerseys can never be too baggy, and hair can hardly ever be too dirty. Oh, and that I am going to die alone, surrounded by all the kids I taught, cats I fed, computers I broke and amateur theatre scripts I wrote, but absolutely no. true. loves.

WHY then. Do you bring this man in.

I had to rip off all my egocentric post-its

with mantras such as BE THE LONE WOLF



I’d gotten so used to

one coffee cup, one yoghurt bowl, one slab of choc, maybe two in the winter.

I can’t cook for two and I certainly can’t breathe for two either.

I don’t cry because I’m happy

and I can’t fucking write unless I’m breaking.

And no one breaks when their house is lit up and shining.

Still, he breaks me.

Rips to shreds my mantras,

Leans unknowingly against a wall,

doesn’t even hear the crash of brick upon brick of my self-imposed fortress coming apart.

The trust in my heart

running frantically from wall to wall because it KNOWS it is supposed to leave.

This is its cue

I taught it well

I taught it from experience:

this is the moment where you take your leave

and I close up my windows and I go to sleep.

You do not let in further

You do not give the keys

Shut up the shutters tight

Block out his speech.

So what do we do now?

My heart and I,

You with your soft hands, big eyes, blossoming heart.

I have no manual for this.

We are well beyond the mantras and the walls.

I keep waking up to you and you keep coming home to me and we keep walking in step and this is still and still and still happening-

I take another step

breathe in another of your breaths

and love – in all ways rushing around me totally – is here,


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