Bookworm Minds in the Real World

 

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As a bookworm, people often accuse me of living in a world so completely far away from human reality that they’re not sure whether I’m real or not. Which reminded me of…

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“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Do we have to conform to the world’s expectations for a semblance of normality? Must we keep our authentic (creative) selves shut away tightly in a little box so that we can feel suppressed and suffocated till the day our bodies expire? Or can we just be. Be.

You be you. Me be me.

Free.

world
Art via Pinterest

 

Being free is a basic human need. Ideally, we should be able to feel free whether we have family duties, are in a relationship or a part of the working environment. Ideally. But people are always chaining and shackling, stifling others from expressing who they really are. Perhaps it’s a human thing. The desire to control or tame another. The desire to stay in safe spaces and never really feel alive. Maybe it’s fear. Bookworms tend to have an ability to subvert that though. Our imaginations extend to all sorts of weird and wonderful corners of this world and others, which lets us be a little more elastic than the average person. We welcome those spaces for others and ourselves to find and free ourselves. And if we happen to bring out the weird in each other, well then perhaps that is a part of our authentic selves too.

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Studying Children’s Literature, particularly through a psychoanalytic lens, gets all sorts of strange remarks from the ignorant and jaded shell-people of this land who zombie lurch through their lives. “Grow up. The real world isn’t a book or movie kid. That glass is empty.” Yeeeeah…unfortunately, as Goth as I can sometimes be, I can’t let go of my imagination. To me, imagination is inextricably linked to possibility and that beautiful thing called hope. It’s the essence of who we are. Living the humdrum life, we tend to forget to nurture it. We forget to dream. And we forget where those dreams can take us if only we’d open ourselves up to the little sparks (magic or energy?) calling our names. Pleading with us to find our potential. A potential that each and every one of us has.

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I like being a cartoon character. Or walking through my life like I just stepped out of a movie or tv series. I like structuring my deadlines according to building a DIY Millennium Falcon that has the Jedi fate balanced in my hands.

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I wasn’t procrastinating, I swear!

 

I like having my imaginative abilities to get me through the boring, the real or the just plain bland.

Sometimes life is full of suspense.

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Sometimes it’s funny. Brain and mouth often not connected.

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Sometimes it’s a little…dramatic.

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But mostly…it’s just super fun. Especially if you actually have a tiara and don’t mind the stares while you’re drinking your morning cup of coffee.

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And did I mention how badass it can be? Like when people don’t respect personal space in queues. #petpeeve

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So if you’re a bookworm or you have a colorful imagination, DON’T let anyone belittle you for it. You don’t need to conform, and you definitely don’t need to be like everyone else out there. Be yourself. And if you believe you have super powers that just haven’t been unleashed yet…well, as long as your particular type of crazy isn’t harming anyone then just go with it. Be the person who changes lives and makes living fun again. And maybe you’ll find others out there who remind you to take the rainbow instead of the train. 😉

Dylan: “You’re really gonna carry my bag? You’re that girl?”

Jamie: “No. I’m gonna change your life. I’m THAT girl.”

Friends With Benefits

There is Magic in My Bones

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Art via Pinterest

Do you feel that?

That’s ancient power running through my veins.

Do you hear that?

That’s poetry in motion

in time with the universe.

Do you see that?

Those are eyes where eyes should be

a mouth where a mouth has always been,

and a heart that will beat

like a drum against the moonlight.

There are spirits calling your name.

One by one

they have plans for you.

Pity.

I wrap the earth around my skin

there is magic in my bones.

I’ll

trust

my own path.

 

Neil Gaiman : A Love Affair of the Imagination

“Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’

Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.”
― The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

It’s no big secret that I’m thoroughly mesmerized by all things Gaiman. I think I’ve made it pretty clear in many of my blog posts. I’m fascinated. I’m intrigued. I definitely have a major fan-girl crush going on there too…but let’s NOT be creepy for once. 😉

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The other day, in one of my tutorial classes that I teach, a student genuinely showed concern as to why someone as “fun” and “smart” (their quotes) as moi is single and seemingly fine with that. But how do I explain to people that my imagination craves something more? That my creative side won’t allow me to settle for the first strapping, young gentleman that dares to venture through the thicket of thorns and awaken the sleeping princess. Honestly, I’d probably wake only to send a few curses his way about disturbing the excitement and enchantment of  my adventures in Dreamland. You see how human interaction (with me), dating or non-dating is a complete FAIL?

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Cue Neil Gaiman. A most bizarre hero (and reason for my slackening attention span in most males) that pawed his way into my head and heart a couple years ago. I’ve honestly never been the same since. Reading Gaiman is like finding portals appearing in my reality. Portals to my inner Wonderland. If he wasn’t already married, I think I’d be plotting adult-napping so that I could keep him in my personal library and have stories fed to me everyday.  Of course I’d keep him well supplied with tea (I’m not culturally inappropriate after all) and have an endless supply of mythical stories of my own to keep him from getting bored. These are things that I honestly contemplate in my day. So you see how impossible it would be to answer my students’ questions without coming across as a recent escapee from a mental ward. There is no substitute once your creative buttons have been pressed.

Oh, did I mention Neil Gaiman loves cats? You had me at meow.

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Via The Cultural Cat Blog

I thought I’d write a post, not to make my craziness known, but to expand on the deep love that Gaiman fans experience. There seems to be a mad rush to read and re-read American Gods before the television series starts painting out visuals to the original words. People tend to refer to Neil Gaiman as the ‘rock star’ of current writers, others call his following ‘cult-like’. Some are in agreement about his unmistakable contribution to literature, others are perplexed by the worth of his writing. To the second group, I can only say it’s a case of unraveling your unconscious. Gaiman gives readers one of those lovers’ boat rides that you find at fun fairs or theme parks. As you hold your lover’s hand and your boat moves across the gentle waters, entering the cave, you’re suddenly aware of something more than the fluttering of your innocent heart. There’s something lurking…at the corners of the boat…in the water…inside you. And that is what Gaiman does to people that respond to his words. He lifts veils to the Other Side. He punctures any sense of psychological resistance one may have towards all those creepy, crawly things sitting hunched over his stories. Sitting hunched deep inside you.

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Via Neil Gaiman tumblr

My Master’s thesis attempts to psychoanalytically analyse Gaiman’s Children’s Gothic Literature (Coraline, The Graveyard Book). So I get to spend my days swooning over Gaiman books at coffee-shops while gaining deep psychological insight into the human inclination to positively respond to his writing. I’m finding a pattern between Gaiman’s texts and creative impulses…but that’s another blog post for another day.

You can leave the lovers’ cave in one piece, slightly annoyed at the perception of being invaded…or, you can leave fragmented and glued together with bits of magic, in the knowledge that glitter will be falling off you every step hereafter. He imprints on his beloved readers. He offers them everything they’ve ever silently wished for but could never find in the physical plane. He’s a psychical mastermind. A dream-catcher of words that leaves the reading encounter littered with fairy dust and monster droppings.

I dare you to tread a path into his world and not find something that jars you a little. Something familiar. Something unfamiliar. Something you’ve always quite never unknown. Or have you? 😉

Weekend Book Recommendation: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

graveyard book

For writing advice from the man himself, visit his website www.neilgaiman.com.  When I finally do pursue my PhD in the Land of Dreams (his current abode), you can rest assured there’ll be plenty of Gaiman posts in my search to get my favorite copy of Coraline signed. That and plenty of open-mouthed gawking.

trust

Romanticism. Life, Death, Age and Wonder.

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‘The Astral Pains of Love’ by James E Reads

” A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”  Endymion, John Keats

I finally have a day to unwind from the sudden stresses that have been whirling around me recently, and of course I have a cup of steaming coffee and Lana Del Rey’s new single ‘Love’ on repeat (constant repeat!). I’m at that stage in life where my mind is raging but my heart, body and spirit feel ravaged and over-exercised. There’s a quietness brewing inside me though…like I’m floating through the cosmos and there’s a gentle acceptance concerning life. I could try to explain it with my words, but this time around (for me) my words just won’t do what I’m feeling any justice. I think it’s something akin to what the Romantic poets must have felt. It’s this deep surge of intoxication for the sound of an ocean wave, the melody of a child’s laughter or the painful insight of a deep love that will never be reciprocated in this lifetime. It’s life. That raw, open feeling of being alive. And I love it. That I can feel so much. I spent a giant portion of my life numb (for reasons beyond my control that I won’t go into here) but I fought hard to regain my sense of wonder for the world, for the chance to breathe in it and be moved by the multitude of things in it.

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‘Daybreak’ by Bruce Holwerda

Yesterday was one of those rainy days here in my hometown of Durban, and driving to university is always a stressful journey for me. While I am an incredibly cautious driver, I can’t say the same for the peeps in my city. Despite the complete invisibility due to torrents of rain, people have no issues with driving recklessly and endangering the lives of others. I hate it. I hate that people behind the wheel have the audacity and arrogance to put other people’s lives in precarious positions. It’s the height of stupidity to me. Anyway, long story short, me and my small car were almost demolished into infinity thanks to that guy who decided getting to his destination was more important than my life…but I suppose my guardian angels decided I still have some good left to sprinkle across the world, so I live to see another day. And I am grateful. Incredibly. I don’t care how old I am, or how old I get…I think as long as you feel wonder in your heart, as long as you can love deeply and genuinely with no restraints, then you’re doing a good job at this whole life thing. Do you love who you are? Do you look forward to the life you still have to live? If you’re not answering yes to these questions…it’s not enough. Complacency is not enough.  It works for some people but not for me. My heart is too full, my imagination too thirsty…my curiosity for the profound that could exist out there too great.

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I might be a nutjob of note. I might be crazy. But there’s freedom in that. Genuine, beautiful freedom. Like Keats and Lana, I choose to soak in the beauty. To let it seep through my skin, into the essence of who I am. To mix with the light and the dark that exists within me, and let it make me feel young with every year that goes by. So that when Death comes to visit, I can be coy with her but give her a wink and say ‘Let’s dance’. Because I never back down from an adventure that could reveal to me the secrets of the universe…of life…and of love. And neither should you.

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“It doesn’t matter if I’m not enough
For the future or the things to come
‘Cause I’m young and in love
I’m young and in love.”Love, Lana Del Rey

Video of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Love’ via LanaDelReyVEVO on YouTube.

 

Ride. Just Ride.

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Art by Harumi Hironaka

” I was in the winter of my life, and the men I met along the road were my only summer.
At night I fell asleep with visions of myself, dancing and laughing and crying with them.
Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour, and my memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times.
I was a singer – not a very popular one, I once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken.
But I didn’t really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.
When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I’d been living, they asked me why – but there’s no use in talking to people who have a home.
They have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people – for home to be wherever you lay your head.

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Image via Pinterest.

I was always an unusual girl.
My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…
And if I said I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying…
Because I was born to be the other woman.
Who belonged to no one, who belonged to everyone.
Who had nothing, who wanted everything, with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about it, and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.

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Art by Free-man12 on deviantart.

Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people, and finally I did on the open road. We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art.
Live fast. Die young. Be wild. And have fun.
I believe in the country America used to be.
I believe in the person I want to become.
I believe in the freedom of the open road.
And my motto is the same as ever:
“I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself I ride, I just ride.”
Who are you?
Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies?
Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them?
I have. I am fucking crazy.
But I am free. ”

lana3
Image via Pinterest.

Words by Lana Del Rey ‘Ride’.

Click on the video below to experience the beauty of Lana’s art.

Video via LanaDelReyVEVO on YouTube.

The Gypsy Who Dared to Love.

gypsy-woman                   Original poem by Kamalini Govender. Art via Pinterest.

 

I lost all my words today.

But you’ll pay…

That’s what you do now.

…some way, some how

she whispered to the stars

as she wiped clean all her scars.

Little girl! Stupid girl! You know better than to wish ill

you go backwards with each word that you let spill.

The owl hoo-hooed.

 

I tried in vain to catch the lines

that formed like black ink on the wind.

Whimpers, whispers, whines

but my mouth had already sinned.

Too late, too late, hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo

now you’re in time for a very important date.

The color drained from my face

as I watched Her black hood and bony fingers of lace.

My heart stopped beating.

There was my life…fleeting fleeting.

The owl hoo-hooed.

 

I see him coming over the hill

with a sorry and a candy pill.

But he can’t see me. Not anymore.

Nevermore, nevermore.

 

He’ll find my body in a fallen heap

But I doubt this gentle man is able to weep.

He’ll shrug. He’ll shrug. He always fucking shrugs.

More pretty minds for him to break.

More pretty lies for him to fake.

I give him one last look of love

and then my Lady takes me up

up

and above.