Sunday, 27 December 2015

Don't forget to make some art

So, as the final days of 2015 melt away into the South African summer, I thought I'd just pop in to leave you with these thoughts from Neil Gaiman:
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself!"

Monday, 21 December 2015


Summer is here. The air is so moist you can almost wear it on your skin like a tangible, physical thing. The house is thrown open to any passing breeze, the veranda becomes its heart. The kid reports daily on the approach of Christmas according to her advents calendar; the little one steals baubles off the tree, their sparkles too irresistible for her little reaching fingers as she toddles about. We bake on a mercifully cooler day, with friends, stars and moons and hearts with floury hands. A few days are spent in a rustic beach cottage on the South Coast overlooking the ocean. Salt, sand mingling, our constant companions. Rock pools are explored. The Indian ocean dragging at our feet, leaving sea life treasures in the coarse sand as it recedes momentarily. Time for reflection, for appreciating the year gone by, for a pause before casting eyes forward.  Words wind down lazily. Thoughts slowly disintegrate into the now.

Friday, 11 December 2015

The art of browsing

Image from here

There's something special about the act of aimlessly browsing bookshelves. That act of letting the eye glide over the bumps and ridges of book spines like they're some new and undiscovered landscape. That easy, inquisitive searching for something you're not sure of yet. The way you allow yourself detours and unexpected pauses and forgiving seductions in unfamiliar directions. There's a satisfying and restorative absorption that goes with it. Time folds in on itself, a creased moment sheltered from the rest of the day.

I thought about this the other day when I discovered The Reader's Corner, a new, independent bookshop in Durban, and allowed myself that pause to just browse a bit and think about nothing but reading; what I had read and what I still wanted to. The experience reminded me of how the significance of browsing a bookshelf often goes unnoticed and yet it represents one of the first steps of the journey into books. It entices fingertips to reach for spines and pull out unexplored treasures. Of course, there's an art to the act of selection that might overwhelm an inexperienced reader, but the thrill of the new and unexpected is still there. It's powerful. To see. To touch. To page through the possibilities.

It doesn't matter how extensive the bookshelf is, or where it is; if it's at home or in a library or in a bookshop. As long as it's there and provides the opportunity for reader and book to meet. It made me wonder if more people wouldn't become readers then...

Image from here

The Readers Corner is a charming, really well-curated bookshop and well worth a visit if you're in Durban!


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