Thursday, January 27, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Cellphone Addicts

The best and the worst part about writing a book is waiting to hear what people have to say about it once it’s published.

My mom is my biggest fan. Half way through reading Cornelia Button and the Globe of Gamagion, she says to me: “Do I really have to finish this?” I say she does and she sighs her way through to the end. She’s very loyal.
But my favourite readers are the ones who review books for a living. There is this one who spells my name wrong, another who spells the main character’s name wrong and then there are the bunch who say I haven’t had time to read your book yet, but I’m sure you’ll walk me through it in the interview.
Reviewers - you just gotta love ‘em - or at least act polite when you meet them.
My all time favourites are those reviewers who email you twenty questions and publish your responses verbatim as “an interview with the author”.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I take a lot of hard drugs and sleep with unsuitable men in public parks.
Q: What can we expect from you next?
A: I’m hoping to assassinate some world leader and become a professional hooker.
I swear on the life of Teen2's dog Zwiggy I’m going to do it next time I get those twenty questions.
So it is that I look forward with much excitement to the responses from the readers of Confessions of a Virgin Loser when it goes live on cellphones in August last year courtesy of Mr Steve Vosloo and the Shuttleworth Foundation.
The one thing about cellphone addicts who read stories on small screens is that they have the craziest names. This one called $nuz+chick(H)$ has the following to say about the story: “I ddnt lyk da ending it wznt fascinatn sowri”

Well, I am sorry too.
Then there is this one young adult called [$(*ţìñ¤.çøm*)$]  (what on earth does his mom call him?) who has the eye of an entrepreneur. He says: “Awesum , i really like to see a movie based on this. A lot of teens will actually lose their virgni# . Or maybe not. And they will be alot party's goin on every , and someone whose runnin a condom business he/she will earn a profit!”

He's ripe for a fellowship at the Shuttleworth Foundation.

Then there is Ryan who says: I love this story its so dum and at the same time cool i love it” but a chap called Makoya says: “Ths stori sucks:[ “ – and he gives a sad face.

I know how he feels.
Apart from having spelling and punctuation issues, the young adults also have an interesting take on matters of a sexual nature.
L4U.COM@ says: “Nw ths is the chapter i was waitng 4,so i say bring on the chapter ,an thre nthng wrong with getng laid as long as ur using protection swt niblets ,cant wait”
But A+paragon+of+human+perfection says the thought of having sex for the first time is: Sheer horror and terribly scary not for the faint hearted”
Then there's the guy with the sensible name, Rushaan who says: “The ending needs work on. One should never end any story that abruptly.” – and he remembers his full stop, which is always a nice way to end a review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Place of Stories

There’s a place I go to in the Cape to get my groove back. Sometimes I go there to hang out with my family - like I do these past five weeks over Christmas - and neglect to write this blog.

And sometimes I go there to be alone to write books that quality bookshops hide behind their displays of Stephenie Meyers and Dan Browns.

This is the place I go to

I bought a small house in this place six years ago when my father was dying and I spend a lot of time afterwards sitting on the stoep with my mom knitting and crying and talking about him.

The house with the stoep where I sit and knit and cry

My first book that I get published – The Summer of Toffie and Grummer -  is set in this place and is about an edgy teen who tries to find a new man for her bereaved granny. It's a book about coming to terms with loss and allowing yourself to forgive and love again.

My mom is still pretty frisky and has all her teeth -  and we are still looking for her new man-friend.

I like this place a lot because it’s really beautiful and it has a mountain with waterfalls and a river the colour of rooibos tea. And because it’s a place full of people with stories.  

A place with mountains and a river

One of the stories these people tell is that their village has a very large Lake of Wine and I am obliged to do my bit my drinking as much of it as I can. So I do. (I don't have a photo of The Lake of Wine)

When I’m not drinking my quota, or floating up and down the river on my boogie board, I walk around the village and meet people - which is something I never do in Jozi where I try to meet as few people as possible.

One of the people I meet in this village is a woman who talks to fish. She doesn’t wear shoes and has hairy toes and when I leave this place and go home she jumps over my fence and feeds my goldies and guppies. (And talks to them)

The pond with talking fish

At the top of my hill live three sisters. They are very old and make jam with a label called Three Sisters. Last year two of them crossed the river and now there is just one sister left. But the jam label still reads Three Sisters.

One of my favourite spots in the village is the Charity Shop in the main street next to the bottle store (one of several trying to cope with The Lake of Wine).

It is here that I buy some awesome curlers.

Twenty awesome curlers

Yes, my mom had a set just like these. I put the curlers in Teen2's Christmas stocking this year and they make her laugh. And they make her hair all curly.

And at the Charity Shop I meet a man who is looking to buy a hat who says things like: “that idiot knows as much about real estate as my arsehole knows about shooting grouse.”

He also says I must do my bit for The Lake and come and drink wine with him at his house. But I don’t, because it is only ten o clock in the morning.

Last August, a month after I finish writing Confessions of a Virgin Loser  for Mr Steve Vosloo and his cellphone addicts, I come to this place with my family for the school holidays.

And I sit on my stoep and knit and think about writing another book. A book that will probably never be read by people who like to read stories on their cellphones. And I think about this and do my bit to keep The Lake from over-flowing.