Archive | August, 2011

What I Always Wanted

31 Aug

I remember waking up crying, when I was about six years old. I wanted a scooter!

Scooters were wonderful!  I’d watched with envy as my friends whizzed past, having the time of their lives.  My three wheeler bike lacked the excitement, the thrill of the scooter.

Could I have one for Christmas?  To pacify me, my parents said ‘yes’, but when the time came, no scooter appeared.  Had Santa run out of them?

Who knows what would have become of me if  that marvel of speed, the scooter, had become part of my life?

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My Fear: Drowning

31 Aug

It may seem a little incongruous that someone who declares their love of swimming may also express their fear of drowning, but believe me, the two can, and do, co-exist.

Unashamedly, I admit that I am uncomfortable in deep water. The two worst scenarios are: 1. a long way from shore, and 2. very deep swimming pools.

Undoubtedly, my issue with the  former lies in the fact that it takes greater time and effort to get back to safety than being close-handy. My problem with the second is linked to fear of heights. Swimming with my eyes open, looking straight down into the depths, spooks me severely.

First of all, let me say that fear of drowning isn’t baseless. Those of you who’ve ever suffered leg cramps can testify to their degree of incapacitation. Get a beauty in the water, and bingo! You’re in trouble!

I’ve learned to come to grips with my fear, and it’s all based on common sense. Firstly, I needed to practise doing it, but strictly under safe conditions, i.e with other, strong swimmers. Importantly, too, the conditions had to be right, both in the water, and in my own health. It can be counterproductive to push yourself too hard, and especially bad to swim when you’re unwell.

I guess what I’ve really done is to minimise my fear, harnessing it to controllable levels, and in the process, recognised that it simply isn’t baseless.

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Spring is Here!

30 Aug

I’d scarcely taken a few steps outside when it hit me: the air seemed different, was different. Why? Spring is here!

With every breath, my brain became infused by perfume, sweet and heady. From street to street, the same lingering scent abounded.

I turned my eyes from side to side, seeing trees laden with blossoms pink and rose. Once in a while, my gaze found its mark at near-ground level; the fragrant freesias had done their bit, too.

Yes, Spring is here, so make the most of it, before the punishing winds arrive!

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My Favourite Teenage Doll

30 Aug

I was just coming to the end of my time for playing with dolls when a new genre appeared, the teenage doll. Nothing along these lines ever entered my sight until I was about eleven or so.

The big two names were, of course, Barbie and Sindy.  Barbie, with her impossible statistics, sophisticated face and hair-do seemed a far cry from the pretty, rounded Sindy. They each boasted family and friends. Who could forget Barbie’ s liason with Ken, or Sindy’ s friendship with Paul?  Barbie’s long-haired sister, Skipper, shared her famous sibling’s slender waist,  though not her buxom build.  In keeping with their genetics,  Sindy’s young sister, Patch, was of more robust dimensions.

Swept up by their status, I had to own each. Fashionable figures, they  needed comprehensive wardrobes, which had no chance of being interchangeable. Barbie’ s generous endowment in a vital area ruled that out, as did her extraordinarily tiny waist!

In the end, Barbie won the day. The multitudes adored her, and still do. Sindy had her fans, but today, ask any doll collector: who is the icon? My guess is, the answer is Barbie!

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What’s Good About Losing?

29 Aug

Pondering this profound question, I feel like the devil’s advocate.  Everyone loves to win; everyone loves a winner.  Therefore, losing seems to be a lack-lustre  prospect, and therefore a hard one for which to go into bat.

I’ve given this some long, hard thought, and finally I’ve found the sunny side.

Losing, I believe, underlines our humanity. I cannot think of any individual that has attained the age of ten without losing something or someone. Therefore, it is a universal experience, and one which can trigger a positive outcome: character building. We are all going to face loss; and, unless we are superhuman, we cannot always win.

The experience of losing carries with it another plus. It heightens our appreciation of success. What sense of achievement, what glow of euphoria is there in winning, if that is all you ever do? No. If winning is the norm, then winning loses its glamour, and becomes just another mundane fact of life. I suppose some of you are laughing at this seemingly preposterous idea, but think it over.

All in all, winning is the aim, but even the ogre, losing, has something going for it.

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What is Happiness?

27 Aug

Just about everyone wants to be happy. We’re wished ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Happy Easter’, ‘Happy Christmas’, ‘Happy Anniversary’, and ‘Happy’  just about anything else!  But, just what is this universally acknowledge aim,  happiness?

Clearly, it’s a feeling; an all-pervading emotion brought about when things go right. Is happiness most profound when, despite the odds, events turn out well?

On another level, people often say they’re happy when they stand back from their lives, examine it, and reach an agreeable conclusion.  Although probably less acute than that experienced when, out of the blue, they win the lottery, a promotion, or better still, a heart, it still is a wonderful feeling.

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Why Do I Write?

27 Aug

I suppose all writers have asked themselves at some stage, “Why am I doing this?”

Equally, I guess, there’s been a diversity of answers;  hence, the reference to myself personally in this title.

Writing is an affirmation of self. That is to say, it validates the existence of the writer, confirming them as a human being;  and,  unarguably, unique, since every human differs from the next person.  This concept applies even to identical twins,  since they are individuals first,  and twins, second.

Similar to photography, writing attempts to seize life, and put it on paper, or, these days, on a screen. Perhaps this can also be seen as a validation of life, for it seems to fall into the same categories:  proof of existence, and an example of self and subject at that particular time.

Apart from all those deep concepts,  writing can be used as a way of shaping society’s opinions and ideas, and motivating people to change.  By getting it off their chest, writers can also feel that they have unburdened themselves, and at least tried to make a difference.

Why do I write books?   Well, my books of Short Stories are composed to entertain, and to shed light on human nature, irrespective of whether or not the reader approves of the outcome.  At the very least, the theme of each story is planted into the reader’s mind.

Finally, I must concede that I write in the hope of getting some credit for my work, and, hopefully, make an honest dollar or two in the process.

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Can You Live Without Your Computer?

25 Aug

I’m a late starter to computers. Two years ago, they were little more than a peripheral part of my life.  Once in a blue moon, I’d ask Ron to send an e-mail for me; equally rarely, I’d enlist him to set it up for letter-writing, or look something up on Google.  In short, I knew of their existence, but…

Enter Authorship!

Almost a year ago, it entered my head that I might write a book. Having been trained in Short Story Writing, it seemed logical that my best chance of success lay in a collection of this genre, and so I set to work.

Enter The Computer!

From that moment on, my life seemed to revolve around the computer, that is, Ron’s computer. I guess many of you computer-wise people shudder at the idea of sharing with your literary spouse, but that is exactly what happened.

Naturally, there were times when one computer seemed one too few, but nevertheless, we’ve both managed to complete our tasks. Ron does his thing, and I’ve just completed my fourth book.

So,   back to my question:    can you live without a computer?

Answer: Yes, you can, but only prior to them becoming a part of your life. Once you get into the habit of communication via this technology, it would be one of life’s greatest challenges to reject it.  The speed, efficiency, and empowerment associated with them gives them immense and unique status in our modern society.

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What is Success?

23 Aug

Undoubtedly, there are plenty amongst us that spend a large part of their lives striving for success. This ambition can extend into all areas of their lives: work, leisure, sport and social. But what actually is success, and how do we measure it?

I suppose success can best be described as the achievement of a goal, yet intrinsically there are many levels of achievement. How does one compare the levels of success of, say, a top athlete, with that of a rank amateur who strives hard yet doesn’t quite measure up? Are they, in effect, equally successful in that they have both done their very best? Does society see them as equally successful?

Judging by the high profile given to professional athletes, and particularly to winners, it seems to me that these people achieve a kind of status that the ‘also ran’ can only dream of.

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Roll on, Summer!

23 Aug

What a long winter we’ve had! My last swim in the ocean is but a distant memory!

Mind you, this ‘last swim’ took place during the last week of autumn; not optimal swimming conditions, I can assure you! By then, the water temperature was pretty low, about 14.5degrees Celsius, which may seem steamy to true  ‘icebergs’, but not to this very slim, middle-aged woman!

It didn’t last long: only a few minutes: but nevertheless, it counted as a dip in the briny! Oh, how glorious the warmth of the sun seemed, afterwards, as I struggled to thaw out.

What I’m truly looking for is a beautiful warm, but not too warm, day; the sun shining, the water sparkling, the waves caressing. And then, I’m going to swim for ever! Well, until I run out of energy, in a bit over half an hour. Then I’ll emerge, refreshed, full of vitality, and alive!

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