When my mom passed away from cancer, I was 22 years old. I was at the end of my time at university, trying to make sure I left with the degree I’d gone there for. I was working a few hours a week teaching English to South Korean teens who had recently immigrated to South Africa. And, I was about 3 years into my relationship with my now-husband. I was at my beginning.
I didn’t think much about time then, except that it always seemed to drag. Time passed much more slowly when I was younger. …
“What’s mascara in Portuguese?”
“What — like, as in Rimmel the cosmetics brand?”
“I don’t know.”
Thus began our Google search for which came first — the Portuguese word rímel or the cosmetics brand Rimmel. And what did we discover? That Eugène Rimmel, founder of the cosmetics House of Rimmel in 1834, invented mascara. So, the Portuguese word for mascara came from the inventor’s name (portuguesified, but recognisable all the same).
For someone who works with words, this discovery was a wonderful, unexpected gem. One for the notebook. And, how did it happen? It happened as a result of…
In my first year of high school, I switched a lackluster Latin for Art. I am no artist: I stand in the doorway of art looking in, admiring those that occupy the room, seemingly gifted with talent.
I wondered whether it was in fact endowed talent or if art was a skill that could be learned. I asked a final year art student in my hostel how she did it — paint such beautiful and life-like portraits — and what she told me has stayed with me.
She said, “it’s all about seeing.”
There’s a saying that no news is good news.
With social media, we don’t really have occasion to use this saying anymore to assuage our worries in the absence of contact. When they’re away from us, family and friends usually share photos and posts, keeping us all up to date.
No news is now a rarity.
When it comes to world news, the same is true. Unfortunately, it’s in keeping with that old saying. There’s always news and it seems to be an endless stream of the bad kind.
Rationally, I know that this doesn’t mean the world is a…
This pandemic has, for all its destruction and chaos, offered us an unprecedented opportunity to reassess.
We have been forced to live life differently: to be at home, confined with or separated from our loved ones, doing less, and spending less. It’s made us think hard and fast about what we really need to get by every day.
For me, it has brought bubbling to the surface feelings, or dissatisfactions, that I’ve had about the systems that govern our lives and society, particularly related to the installed economic system and the norms that govern it.
I have felt for a…
I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a lot of new vocabulary since the Covid-19 pandemic took ahold of the globe earlier this year.
Words like comorbidity and zoonosis hadn’t made it into my daily vocabulary. We’ve even added new words to the English language, like covidiot (a personal favourite) which, according to this article, refers to ‘any and every person behaving stupidly or irresponsibly as the epidemic spreads’. And, while their meaning is not unfathomable upon first sight, phrases like social distancing, contact tracing, and flattening the curve hadn’t really crossed my mind, until now.
Now, this is…
Books are special things. Pages of paper bound together and enclosed in thin cardboard, they are vulnerable — easily ruined by everyday stuff: coffee, rain, time.
In spite of their fragile physical form, readers will know that beneath their covers there lies great power: to transport, to educate, to heal, to comfort.
Books are portals. They are medicine, they are companions, they are coaches in life and in learning. With the right book in your hands, there isn’t much you can’t accomplish.
We spend a lot of time working on the nuts and bolts of writing, the crafting of sentences, paragraphs, and pieces that we hope will be read and enjoyed. Writing craft is very important, but it is only half of the greater whole that makes your writing interesting and enjoyable.
The other half has to do with what you have to say, what you have to contribute to the conversation — the content of your writing.
When we begin our journey as writers we almost always begin with the mechanics of putting words together in a way that is both…
Good writing is like a beautiful, knitted jumper.
Stitch by stitch, row by row, and section by section — if well crafted, they build on each other to form a beautiful piece of knitwear of your own making.
In much the same way, words, sentences, and paragraphs build on each other to form good writing. Well-chosen words and thoughtfully-constructed sentences and paragraphs can next-level your writing.
‘let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences’ ― Sylvia Plath
You know good writing when you see it. Some writers fill entire books with incredible wording. But every now and…
We create. It’s what we do. And when we create something, we hope that others will connect with it and appreciate it. We are social by nature: constantly in search of our tribe, our community, our people.
This is why we don’t hoard our gifts or keep our creations to ourselves. We are compelled to share them. Whatever your gift may be, whether it’s written, drawn, painted, knitted, sculpted, welded, carved, videoed, photographed, or performed creations; you’ve thought about sharing it with others.
These days, that inevitably means you’ve thought about online platforms and which ones to use. As with…