Greetings

I purchased a Random House Word Menu a while ago (second hand, published in 1992) which I have not really put to good use. So many words, so little time, but I thought I would take the time to show you some of the greetings we use in every day life. We all have our own, customised sometimes, greetings and they might differ depending on the person we are saying hello to. Such a universal thing isn’t it? To greet? Here goes.

Ahoy, all hail, bonjour, glad to see you, good to see you, greetings, hail, halloa, have a good one, hello, hello there, hey, hey-ho

Hi, hi there, hi ya, hola, how are you?, how do?, how do you do?, howdy, howdy-do, how d’ye do?, how goes it?, how’s by you? Howdy-doody

How’s everything?, how’s it going?, how’s the world treating you?, how’s things?, how you be?, how you been?, how you doing?, hullo, how’s life

Welcome, what it is?, what’s happening?, YO, what’s up, sup, howzit

Strange how we tailor our greetings according to the person standing in front of us in order to either create an impression, a familiarity, to make small talk or to hide nerves. I cannot imagine greeting a new employer with what’s up (well, I suppose if my boss was a pimp) and at the same time I cannot imagine greeting one of my best friends with How do you do.

I find Greetings interesting. Not just which type of greeting is used, but also the emotion behind it. It could be a ‘Hey! (so happy to see  you oh my god I have really missed you). It could be a ‘Hi. (Shit, this isn’t weed mom, I swear). Or, ‘Yo. (Let me push my chest out so you know not to mess with this). What about, ‘How’s life? (Because I really want to tell you how shit my life is right now). Greetings are the okay, now that that’s out of the way, lets talk. The foundation on which so many conversations start and the launch pad for which emotional tone they will take.

Stay tuned for my post on Insults, Slurs and Epithets, where we will come across words such as bananahead, basket case, bozo, deadhead, dimwit, dolthead (really?), dodo, easy mark, egghead, shit for brains and the list goes on. We all have our own rage-words, but one can never have too many.

Greetings from Cape Town

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Ghost Story Suggestion

After another successful trip to my favourite second hand bookstore I arrived home with two books. A crime novel by Alex Kava and a smaller, thinner book titled, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. The latter looked old and the little book itself had been damaged some on the outside. I had not chosen it because I am familiar with the author or because I am particularly on a hunt for ghost stories (although now I might be), but because the cover intrigued me . A black background framing the black and white picture of the ruins of some house or castle. The title in red. Also, the price made me smile.

It tells of a man who travels to take care of the estate of an elderly lady who had passed away. He encounters things on his travels there that no man should. Dark, thick fog with hungry fingers, a woman not quite human but not quite dead, the sounds of pony and trap in the distance which never arrives, the screams of a young child being swallowed whole by muddy waters, the creak and thump of a rocking chair with no one in it, a malevolence in the air that penetrates anyone who comes across it.

So, if you are in the mood to chill yourself, give this one a go. I will be leaving the bathroom light on for some time to come.

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Freedom my friend, freedom…

I wake up in the morning. My eyes are still heavy with sleep and I sleepily stumble to the living room. There it is, every morning, my trusted 8cm, tobacco filled friend. Before food, before water, before shower, before anything really, the two of us need to have a serious conversation. Why? We haven’t spoken for a while, 8 hours average. Time to catch up. My friend is never absent, because I make it so. Now comes the ritual of flipping open the pack, sliding out a cigarette, searching for my lighter and stepping outside. I curl my legs onto the camping chair where we usually meet and I light him up. I give him a voice.

What do we talk about? Well I talk, he listens. I think, I hope. I take a drag and I am relieved, or am I? Not sure, my heart is beating a little faster. I go through my day, things I need to attend to, things I’m not in the mood for. I need to remember to buy another pack before work, don’t want to run out of smokes later today. I might meet up with Melissa (we’ll call her that for the purpose of this article, she is my best friend who smokes like I do, constantly) and when that happens I always need more. I stub out the cigarette bud and head to make a cup of coffee, lazily lounging about until the water comes to the boil. I pour a cup, mmmm a cigarette would be good with this. I head out to the camping chair again. I greet the neighbour who waves back at me with a smoke dangling between her fingers. See, I’m not all bad.

After a hour I am ready for work. I have another one before I head out the door. When I am in the car, I double-check my handbag to make sure my cigarettes and lighter are firmly in their place. Great, cigarettes, wallet, cell (notice the order). I leave for work (a very casual working environment) and have another one outside before I go in. ‘Hi, Hi, Hello all round, what’s up, what’s been happening’, etc. is what I say. I boot up my computer and it’s time for another coffee. I make one. I check my emails. One says that someone might be interested in purchasing a property (oh yeah, I’m a broker), I get excited, I tell my boss then go out for a fag, because I’m excited you see.

Melissa calls me and arranges lunch at our favourite restaurant where smokers are not frowned upon. The food isn’t great and the place smells like back alley but hey, we can relax here, we can smoke and chat and bitch and moan. So before lunch I have probably another 4 cigarettes, after replying to that exciting email of course.

Now it’s time for lunch. I am there first. A smoke because I’m waiting, I am not sure what else to do. She arrives. We are at that restaurant remember? The one that smells a little foul?  We light one after the other, unable to REALLY taste our meal, but it really doesn’t matter, because we are having a glorious time. We cough in between sentences and get serious about quitting these bad boys. ‘We really have to quit. Yeah, you have to be READY though. I just can’t do it now with the shit at work and all’. Blah Blah Blah

We discuss, AS we are inhaling the toxins, how much better we would be able to work out if we quit, we would be able to breathe better and have more energy. Then we fall back to talking about movies, or actors, or the book I’m trying to finish. Then we agree that most people who are creative have a horrible vice, all great artists were drug addicts (sometimes the news proves us right). So now we pay the bill and I am lucky enough to not have to work from the office so I head home.

I do some work online, have a smoke and head out to gym. I am ready to face the beast with a wicked playlist in hand (INXS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Annie Lennox, Mumford and Sons). On the treadmill things go okay at first, until I turn it up a notch. I struggle to breathe properly so I find it hard to get a rhythm going, I turn the speed back down and convince myself that walking is better for me anyway. I don’t really have the energy to do a full session so I stay 20 minutes (that’s not bad right?) and head home.

I have to write. I’m only on chapter 3 and I WANT to finish this book in the next three months. I have a smoke and think about the book, the characters, the plot. I write a little. I go to the loo and check myself out in the mirror, my face specifically, or even more specifically, the lines forming around and under and between my eyes. What the $^#&, I’m only 30! I have a smoke.

I’m done with work and decide to turn on the television, Crime Channel (my favourite, and inspiration for my novel, weird I know). I watch, I smoke, I think about my book. I need to write but I’m not completely ‘in that space’ now and I need to see who murdered this old lady, what a psycho. I wonder what’s wrong with some people. I think about all the evil people out in the world. It didn’t matter whether we wanted to believe that everything and everyone is sweet good goodness, that just wasn’t the case.

My evening is spent drinking coffee, smoking and reading. I read a lot. I enjoy sitting on the balcony on my camping chair with my smokes and my coffee and my book. Me and my 3 Goodfellas. I love reading, I adore it, I cannot get enough. It’s around 10pm and I need to brush my teeth. I do that, then have another smoke, standing out on the balcony, the wind throwing branch shadows from the trees onto the opposite wall. It looks and feels scary but I like it for some reason. The wind makes things come alive. I don’t want to go to bed yet, I’ll have another one.

For about ten years I have smoked roughly 20 cigarettes every day, more when I went to a party. At roughly 10 minutes per cigarette that makes 200 minutes per day (3.3 HOURS) of being unproductive WHILE killing myself. What a combo! Even though it didn’t seem like it, I was desperate to quit. Desperate with absolutely no faith in myself.

I have been smoke free for almost three weeks now. Granted, I had assistance (Champix). More than the health benefits, the thing I am happiest about, the biggest gain for me, is the freedom. I can go to any restaurant, I don’t need to freak out if there’s only one left. I don’t dread going for dinner with that couple because they don’t smoke (yeah, ridiculous). I don’t lie in bed at night worrying about cancer (I often did and it killed me, haha). I don’t need cigarettes to be creative. I don’t need cigarettes to have a conversation. I don’t need cigarettes when I’m sad or excited. I don’t need cigarettes to feel confident or sexy or busy. I DON”T NEED CIGARETTES!

So, I know, it’s only been 3 weeks, don’t count my chickens. All I wanted you to know, if you are still trapped, is that the FREEDOM is the KEY. The FREEDOM is the pay-off. The FREEDOM.

“You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness” – Robert Frost

Lions, Pythons and Ice Cold Beers

First of all, a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you out there. I hope that when you read this, you have just woken up from a holiday nap and that you are not yet consumed by the engine of every day work.

I am writing this post from my parents’ home in Namibia. A medium-sized beach home community on the coast called Longbeach. It’s 4pm, the colour of the sky is a rich dark grey, the north wind is causing choppy waters and large container vessels are lying silently out in the big old Atlantic.

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I managed to enjoy quite a few things during the festive season. Since not all of you have had the opportunity to travel to Africa, I thought I would share some of the moments with you. A camping trip to Erindi Game Reserve (www.erindi.com) left us with some amazing images. Lazy lions stretching out in the cool afternoon (one of the males sneeking a feel, typical).

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Four Kudu bulls huddling together, a large bug devouring a not-so-large bug (freaky shadow) and a huge elephant (or the rear end of one at least).

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A short trip to our family farm produced an encounter with a python which is rarely seen. We got extremely close, absolutely worth it. Lying dead still, its skin glimmering in the sunlight, this big boy is not known to have caused many human fatalities, but best to keep your wits about you.

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I have always found giraffes

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Other than that, I enjoyed some time with the best friends and fiancé a girl could ask for.  Ice cold beers, braais (barbeque) and long naps. I feel rejuvenated and absolutely ready for 2014!

In 2013 NaNoWriMo helped me to write in the region of 22 000 words of my novel. Not the 50 000 as aimed for, but I’m happy with the result. Time to finish this bad boy!

xxxx

We have promises to keep – Robert Frost

I was watching a documentary on the John F Kennedy assassination when the narrator mentioned that President Kennedy loved to quote Robert Frost. He spoke specifically of the last two lines in the poem below.

Interpret it as you will. For me, today in particular, this poem inspired me to keep writing my novel. I made a promise to myself that I would have 50 000 words by the end of November, and I have that promise to keep.

Image: thewistfulmuse.com

Image: thewistfulmuse.com

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.  

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)

My NaNoWriMo Checklist

Courtesy of deviantart.com

Courtesy of deviantart.com

I am fairly new to the writing world and discovered by chance (or, or, I was MEANT to discover) this “thing” called NaNoWriMo. I read some posts by fellow bloggers and soon discovered that this is quite a daunting mission. A mission that has chewed up and spat out some of its best undercover agents. So, naturally, as we do, I decided that I need something daunting in my life.

Can I do it? What do I need? A roof over my head. Check. A computer (do people still even call it that?). Check. An idea. Half check. A constant desire to write with large spurts of procrastination. Check. Guilt for staying home and writing while drones of people scatter to their cubicles every day. Check. Fear of not completing my 50 000 word count due to lack of confidence. Check. A small puppy called TED constantly tugging at my slippers with his shark sharp teeth. Check. Enough coffee to see me through the drought with chocolate chip cookies for dipping. Check. Sunny weather with patches of gloominess and howling winds. Cape Town check.

Can I do it? Damn right I can and so can you. All jokes aside, I am extremely excited and scared and the combination of those two emotions makes us do what we do.

Happy NaNoWriMo to you!

My 100 Word Story

A while back I entered the Reader’s Digest 100 Word Story Competition. I thought I would share it with you (needless to say I didn’t win it, in which case this post would look a tad different).

Image Courtesy of csnamibiablog

Image Courtesy of csnamibiablog

They suspect there is a vicious murderer in these here parts. I have been observing the police the whole day now. Police officers perplexed by the torn limbs strewn over these sand dunes. Namibia is a country of vast spaces. Desert as far as the eye can see. Why would a psychopath go through the trouble of dragging their prey all the way out here? I laugh. They are fearful that the murderer might be lurking nearby. I yawn. A dung beetle approaches me. “What have they found?” he asks. “My lunch,” I reply. I roar. They run. I won.