Literary Beginnings – Ancient African Alphabets

I discovered this fascinating TED talk by Saki Mafundikwa. Topic: Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets. After spending many years abroad, Mr. Mafundikwa returned to his native Zimbabwe and opened a Graphic Design school. At the heart of his teachings is the historical relevancy of ancient African alphabets to today’s modern typography and design.

Good stuff here…

The Need to Read – The Grass is Singing

the grass is singingDescription: Mary Turner is a self-confident, independent young woman who becomes the depressed, frustrated wife of an ineffectual, unsuccessful farmer. Little by little the ennui of years on the farm works its slow poison. Mary’s despair progresses until the fateful arrival of Moses, an enigmatic, virile black servant. Locked in anguish, Mary and Moses—master and slave—are trapped in a web of mounting attraction and repulsion, until their psychic tension explodes with devastating consequences.

My Favorite Passage:

… A poverty that allows a tiny margin for spending, but which is shadowed always by a weight of debt that nags like a conscience is worse than starvation itself.

Dorris Lessing is one of those writers that have been on my “must read” list for some time. And after reading I can say I was not disappointed. This is essentially a gut-wrenching tale of a woman gone mad, bit by searing bit.

Actually, that is a gross oversimplification. Our lead character, Mary, classically transitioned her childhood trauma right into her adult marriage. At work here are issues of feminism, colonialism, the complexities of the master/servant relationship, as well as the realities of marrying for all the wrong reasons.

Mary is a character that while I understood the underlying emotions that led to some of her irrational actions, I ultimately found it hard to sympathize with her. A stark, at times depressing read, but a good one.

A Writer’s Take on Film – Elysium

elysiumIn the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium – but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.

I saw the trailer for Elysium months ago, and the sci-fi geek in me settled in to wait impatiently for the premiere. Well, the day finally came. I went to see Elysium this past weekend and I’m sad to say I left the movie extremely disappointed.

Spoiler alert. Continue reading A Writer’s Take on Film – Elysium

Opening Lines

I’m of the camp that believes you shouldn’t waste a lot of time reading books on how to write. It’s much more effective to simply read, and then write till you don’t stink anymore. With that said, there were a few books that I read as an early writer that I think are worth the read and one of those is Stephen King’s “On Writing”.

In this post over at The Atlantic, Stephen talks about the importance of opening lines. And here is a favorite opening line from one of my own novels:

Only under the vaguest of sentiments can these wingless bipeds be thought of as civilized.