All the blogposts I’ve known before


Just wondering if I’m the only blogger who has this problem.

Picture it: I’ll have this brilliant idea for a blogpost- usually it will come when I’m in bed ready to fall asleep. Inspiration will hit and in 15 minutes the whole post would have been written out… in my head. Then I fall asleep.
The next morning I will recall vaguely what I had been thinking the night before but since I’m a notoriously lazy person I’d be too indifferent to further recall the blogpost from my head and transfer it onto paper. And there goes another potential blog hit generator, lost forever in the recesses of my mind.

The sad fate of some posts... [Luigi Diamanti/Freedigitalphotos.net]

The sad fate of some posts… [Luigi Diamanti/Freedigitalphotos.net]

Sometimes blog post drafts ‘get lost’ or discarded for other reasons. Usually the post would have been written out (I like writing things out by hand before transcribing it onto Word processor) halfway but then life happens, I get distracted and I leave it aside waiting to finish it later. More often than not this does not happen; it never makes the finish line.

This happens for either of two reasons:

  • 1) the post itself might lose its relevancy due to the time lapse/procrastination on my part and I therefore lose my motivation to finish, so I just scrap it.
  • 2)And other times I realise that when I initially started writing the post, the idea for it was governed by my emotions not my head(this is mainly the case with rants). When I then look at the unfinished post later, I’m much calmer and I have a change of heart. Perhaps taking my anger out on that stupid writer/blogger/friend/tweeter on my blog is not such a good idea. So there’s another draft scrapped.
And you guys thought I made up shit on Twitter. See, I speak real-time truths.

And you guys thought I made up shit on Twitter. See, I speak real-time truths.

The perfect example of (2) above happened just last week. I might as well tell you beforehand that the English Department at the University of South Africa (UNISA) has been giving me the shittiest time this year. Immediately after my exams a couple of weeks ago, I wrote an extremely, LOOOONG letter addressed to the Department expressing my dissatisfaction (I haven’t emailed it yet, I’m waiting for them to mark my exam paper first). The length of the letter(nearly 5 pages) is an indication of the number of separate incidents I had with them. Given that in all my years studying through UNISA I had never experienced anything like this, I felt compelled to lay a formal complaint.
To further express my ire, I thought I’d blog about it too. I started drafting out the post with much vehemence when suddenly I get the news that our beloved Madiba passed away. Thinking about him made me re-evaluate my feelings and check my temper. I put the post away and proceeded to write the forgiveness post. Just for the record, I will still be sending that email to the English Department (possibly leaving out some angry bits) because incompetence and injustice needs to be dealt with. But I’ve since eliminated the idea of ranting about it (this doesn’t count does it? Oops).

So here’s a special tribute to all my blogposts that have never seen the light of day. Really sorry you did not get to experience the fame, but hey, better luck next time!

So will someone please tell me that all this resonates with them so I don’t feel like the strange Muppet that I am?

NM :)

( Because I get such a kick out of irony I even considered not publishing this blogpost, HA! Twisted, I know. )

The Magic of Forgiveness


As a South African I felt a personal obligation to write this. Call it a tribute or a lesson. Last Friday was probably one of the saddest days in the history of mankind. The weight of sorrow could be felt around the globe. The world mourned the death of a great man.

But what defines greatness? I suppose we could argue all day about the definition of the word. Many of us would have differing opinions, I’m sure. See, I think greatness does not only lie in great acts or feats. Greatness is not always something that has to be seen in a person’s actions. Greatness can lie in a simple thought or feeling.

There are many reasons why people think Nelson Mandela was great. Usually the reason has to do with his role as a freedom fighter- standing up to an oppressive regime; languishing in prison for 27 years for fighting for what he believed in; unifying and leading a divided country into a new era. You will also hear accounts of his humility from every person who has met him.

But for me his ability to unify a divided nation lay in a simple act. The act of forgiveness.

I’ve used the word ‘simple’ twice so far. Perhaps wrong of me since the act of forgiving is far from simple.
Why did I admire Madiba so much, why do I think he was such a great man? Well, because I’m the least forgiving person I know.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who can claim guilt. I think everyone harbours some degree of resentment when it comes to being wronged. We have all been wronged at some point in our lives whether it was by our former friends, best friends, lovers, colleagues, bosses, relatives or even by people we don’t even know. I, for one, have the horrible habit of holding grudges long after everything is over.

"What did you say about me while I was in prison? *POW*" - ...exactly what did NOT happen.

“What did you say about me while I was in prison? *POW*” – …exactly what did NOT happen.

I’m sure many people would have behaved differently if they were in Madiba’s shoes. If they had just been released from prison after a very, very long time, and had the power he had, I’m sure the first thing they would liked to have done was to don their gloves on, use his well-known boxing skills and punch those captors in the face! Then I’m sure they would have gone to Malan’s, Verwoerd’s and Vorster’s and punched all of them in the face too! (Which would not make any sense since they were all dead by then, but you get what I’m saying here). While I was preparing this post, my boyfriend related to me the story(which I was not entirely aware of) of Madiba’s visit to Betsie Verwoerd shortly after becoming President. In a gargantuan step towards reconciliation, he defied logic by having tea with the wife of the man who was responsible for imprisoning him!

That is why Nelson Mandela was great. He came out not only forgiving his oppressors but embracing them too. It might seem like a simple human thing to do, but how many of us would have? It truly takes greatness and courage to make such a step.

After 1994 there was an aggressive aim towards reformation. Everything had to be changed- the flag, emblems, street names. Then there was the Springbok emblem debacle. Why was it a debacle? Because everyone wanted our national rugby team’s logo to be changed…except one person.

Rugby was not just considered a white man’s sport, it was an ‘Afrikaner sport.’ That springbok image came to embody everything that was associated with Apartheid. Yet our Tata wanted to keep it. Not only did he manage to convince the relevant authorities to keep the image, he would take it a step further by wearing it.

I can imagine a thousand years from now, legend will state that it was his act of wearing that Springbok jersey with Francois Pienaar’s No.6 on it that won us the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
Yes it’s true. An all white team (bar one player) represented us in the final that year. Did it matter? No. Because on that day Madiba rendered skin colour insignificant. It was one of those moments that were so magical Hollywood had to go and make a movie of it. As for the Springbok, it has since shed its pre-Democratic associations. It is now a symbol of victory and unity. The man managed to change the symbology of an emblem. That’s true magic. Madiba Magic.

And that’s what lies in the power of forgiveness. Nelson Mandela had no hatred in his heart and his attitude brought peace to this country. Imagine how the world would change if we all followed in his footsteps?

Unfortunately the likes of Nelson Mandela will never be seen again, not for a very long time at least. Such greatness in man is rare which is why our country, and the world, weeps.
 

 

Nelson_Mandela,_2000_(5)“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
- Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 1918 – 2013

NM :(

The Beast Of Gevaudan – an HML post


BESTIE~130 June 1764, Gevaudan, southern France. A 14-year-old girl named Jeanne Boulet is found dead in the hills near the village of Les Hubacs where she often tended to her sheep and cattle. Her body was found savagely maimed. Authorities attributed the attack to some wild animal. Given the girl’s youth and vulnerability they thought nothing more of the incident.

Within two months of Boulet’s death however, there were 6 more attacks in the Gevaudan (now modern-day Lozere) area. Those that did not survive the attacks were found to have sustained serious injuries to the face and neck and parts of their body appeared to have been eaten. Those that did survive gave an alarming description of their assailant: possessing the features of a wolf it was bigger than a cow, had giant teeth, an enormous tail and dark-reddish fur. It also had a terrible odour and some eyewitnesses claimed that they saw it walk on its hind legs…

What creature was this that was roaming the French countryside, devouring humans at will? To this day the true identity of the Beast of Gevaudan still remains a mystery…

The hunt begins…

By September 1764, the number of attacks not only escalated but became ever more violent. Some corpses were found decapitated as a result of their necks being torn out completely. These incidents caused such a stir that the reigning King Louis XV felt obligated to get involved.

In June 1765, he dispatched Francois Antoine, his personal Lieutenant of the hunt to hunt and kill the beast after previous searches by professional wolf-hunters proved unsuccessful. On 21 September, Antoine killed a large grey wolf which he believed to be the one guilty of the attacks. Everybody believed so too, and Antoine was hailed as a national hero. The animal was stuffed, preserved as a token of his achievement, and sent to the King’s Court.

Two months later however, the attacks started again and more deaths were reported. The Beast of Gevaudan was still at large…

Antoine shows off the stuffed wolf at the King's Court in Versaille.

Antoine shows off the stuffed wolf at the King’s Court in Versaille.

The reign of terror comes to an end

In June 1767, nearly three years after the first attacks, farmer Jean Castel shot and killed a large animal resembling a wolf. When its body was cut open, human flesh was found in its stomach. The attacks ceased completely after that day and Castel has become a legend –now known as the man who killed the Beast of Gevaudan. This heroic feat of Castel’s is shrouded in controversy however. Legend claims that Castel used a gun loaded with silver bullets and waited for the animal which approached him cautiously. The farmer was then able to fire at close range. This is apparently were the idea that silver bullets kill werewolves originated from.

Theories abound

Not surprisingly, thanks to historians, cryptozoologists and animal behaviourists, a range of theories exist as to the nature of the Beast of Gevaudan:

Not just one?

A popular theory was that a pack of wolves were responsible not just one single animal. It could explain how the attacks stretched across a vast distance of 90sq kilometres across the countryside. Although survivor accounts always seem to state the presence of one attacker.

Asian Hyena?

Some experts are adamant that the Beast of Gevaudan was not a wolf but in fact the Asian(now extinct) or Striped Hyena. They argue that no breed of wolf, even a large one would be able to able to bite through human bone but the hyena can (however it should be noted that hyenas tend to have distinct markings (stripes/spots) on their bodies, which the Beast did not).

Mutation?

Some claim that the Beast was a mutation of some sort, a hybrid of a wolf and another animal. Animal behaviourists state that its behaviour was very unusual for a wolf. Wolves generally fear humans and are known for attacking domestic animals and livestock. Why attack people but leave their cattle (which were clearly in plain sight) alone? Its appearance might have been that of a wolf but its behaviour suggests some other DNA in its makeup.

Human Involvement?

Plaque dedicated to Jean Castel in the village of la Besseyre Saint Mary in Lozere where he killed the 'Beast'.

Plaque dedicated to Jean Castel in the village of la Besseyre Saint Mary in Lozere where he shot the ‘Beast’.

A theory that is quite popular is that Jean Castel was somehow responsible for the attacks, the human agent that was controlling the Beast. If Castel’s story of how he killed the Beast holds true, then the animal’s behaviour towards Castel comes into question. Castel managed to get awfully close to it without it attacking which was unusual for the Beast. Theory goes that Castel kept the Beast as a pet or possibly reared a wolf pup to become a killing machine. Although as to what Castel’s motive could have been in setting this monster upon the citizens of Gevaudan has not properly established by theorists.

Werewolf?

And what sort of mystery would this be without a possible supernatural explanation? Even if cynics do call out the overactive imaginations of superstitious 18th century peasants, they would still find it hard to explain the exclusive tastes of the Beast. Why did it only attack humans? What also added to this theory were the accounts of bipedalism in the animal from some eyewitnesses.

In three years, there were over 100 deaths attributed to the murderous beast and a hundred more people who were attacked but who escaped with their lives. The events from 1764 to 1767 were well documented yet almost 250 years later it’s still a topic of debate.

So, my perceptive readers, who or what exactly was the Beast of Gevaudan? Was it an ordinary animal with extraordinary strength? Was it a crossbreed, a mutation? Maybe a human agent was involved, controlling the beast. Were a pack of wolves responsible? Or was it in fact a werewolf???

NM :-)

All images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

REFERENCES

Breverton, T. Breverton’s Phantasmagoria: A Compendium of Monsters, Myths and Legends, Lyons Press, USA. 2011.

Smith, J. Monsters of the Gévaudan: The Making of a Beast.Havard College, USA. 2011.

Wikipedia-Beast of Gevaudan

Other interesting sites:

http://www.unknownexplorers.com/beastofgevaudan.php

http://cryptozoology.wikia.com/wiki/Beast_of_Gevaudan

http://cryptidchronicles.tumblr.com/post/26205872354/beast-of-gevaudan

So what, exactly, is in that name?!


Recently I’ve come across some movies and books, the names of which have left me scratching my head.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m one of those types of readers who, in the course of reading a book, will always think of the title and what made the author choose that title (given of course that it’s not something obvious like the name of the main character). And there are times when I even anticipate the point in the story where the meaning of the title is revealed. I guess I do the same for movies.

Last week I watched a movie called ‘Abduction’. Wasn’t a bad movie but afterwards I was slightly annoyed. Nobody was abducted or kidnapped in this movie. I tried to look for a symbolic meaning in the title. Nope. Nothing there either. I was left with a similar feeling after finishing The Old Curiosity Shop. I kept wondering why it was called that when not even a hundred pages into the book Nell and her grandfather leave the shop and the rest of the story chronicles their journey away from London. Was the great Charles Dickens just being lazy? No. I had just had an epiphany while writing this blogpost. Since The Old Curiosity Shop was initially printed as a serial in a magazine, on starting it, Dickens had to give it a name. And since the first parts were set in the shop he probably thought it was the best name for the story. (This is my theory, I’m trying to give the genius the benefit of the doubt here…) Of course looking forward this title doesn’t make any sense.

Now perhaps the name of a story shouldn’t influence your enjoyment of it but I have to admit that sometimes for me, it does.

A good example is Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. This title is an intriguing (if not mysterious) one to someone who hasn’t read it. As I progressed through the novella, I anticipated what this title could mean and how it tied in with Holden Caulfield, the main character. When that point in the book came however, I marvelled at the symbolism Salinger employed and despite the melancholy tone of the story, the revelation of the meaning behind the title put a smile on my face. It’s one of the things that I’ll never forget about that book.

I understand that in some cases, coming up with the title for your story can be more time-consuming and brain-racking then writing the story itself. I know this firsthand too. Some will definitely argue that this shouldn’t be the case and that the story is more important, not the title, but I guess I just find it irksome when no intelligent thought is given to names of things or worse, when the title makes no sense.

So does a terrible, silly or ingenious title affect your enjoyment of a book? And what’s the most confusing name of a book or movie you’ve ever come across?

NM :-)

Updates and Comebacks


Contrary to what you might think, I’m not too proud of my long absences on the blogosphere. The fact that these absences coincide with my occasional writing hiatuses is probably no coincidence. Nevertheless I have resolved to start blogging more regularly again because, well, I miss it.

Anyhoo, I’ll start with updating you on what’s going on- in my life and cyber-wise. Firstly I have a bit of good news. My application to study for that teachers’ qualification I told you guys about, has been accepted. I was feeling a bit apprehensive before as I heard a few horror stories of people not being accepted but anyways…WOOHOO!

The bad news is that my novel has come to a standstill, again (although, when I get time or when I get that writing itch, I work on a subplot or flesh out a few characters). But remember that short story collection I finished a long, long time ago? Well I plan on hiring some beta-readers really soon to check them out for me just to see if they’re actually worth anything (by the way, if you would like to be a beta-reader for yours truly, let me know).

Thirdly, my contribution to the Artipeeps website- my Classic Friday pieces, has sadly come to an end. Artipeeps is evolving and moving in a new direction hence the changes. I want to just personally thank Nicky for allowing me the opportunity to write for the site and to wish her and Artipeeps all the best for the future. 

On the bright side: since Classic Friday is no longer, my HML posts will be making a comeback. Weeeeeee!!! Expect the first HML article (in a very, very long time!) in early October.

Speaking of comebacks, I’ve returned to Twitterville you guys, so follow me if you haven’t already.

@nm_angelfaery

That’s it for now. So, (in my best Joey Tribianni voice), how you’re doin’?

NM :)

‘Classic Friday’: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott


Nisha:

My book review for Ivanhoe…

Originally posted on ArtiPeeps:

Classic Friday

Welcome to Classic Friday with Nisha Moodley, your monthly journey into Classic authors and their Literature!

Nisha MoodleyNisha is a South African writer, blogger, amateur historian, mystery-chaser and former ghost-hunter who, with a completed collection of short-stories under her belt, is currently working on her first full-length novel.

http://nmwritersbloq.wordpress.com

I hope you enjoy this ‘Classic Friday’ entry and I’ll be back next monthfor some more.

_________

ivanhoe-penguin-classicsTITLE: IVANHOE
AUTHOR: Sir Walter Scott
GENRE: Historical fiction
DATE PUBLISHED: 1820
NO.OF PAGES: 550 (My copy: Penguin Classics)

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This novel has been credited for influencing our current perceptions of the Middle Ages. A romantic medieval indulgence, Ivanhoe is also noted for perpetuating the famous Robin Hood legend and giving us the now popular attributes assigned to the famous outlaw. As a result Ivanhoe is probably the single most influential novel in the historical fiction genre.

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Brief Synopsis

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Set in…

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5-minute grammar lesson, anyone?


I take solace in the fact that it is impossible to know absolutely everything about our trade, whatever that trade may be. And no matter how much we learn, there is always room for improvement and more information to be acquired.

As writers, language is our main tool but I’ll be the first to admit that my English grammar is not perfect. I do break grammar rules and I like to think it’s on purpose but most of the time, it’s due to ignorance.
Often when I learn something new, either one of two things happen: 1) I’m absolutely fascinated or marvel at this new piece of intelligence or 2) I berate myself for not having known that piece of information.
Cue Microsoft Word, who you can always rely on to point out the mistakes you make and to make you beat yourself up afterwards.
While working on a project recently I was beginning to get annoyed as my Word document kept underlying the word womens’. Surely Word has lost its marbles, I thought. So I did a check.
Nope, I was the one who was wrong.
See, the word ‘women’ is already in the plural form so there’s no need for the apostrophe after the ‘s’. The possessive will therefore take a singular form eg. Women’s rights, children’s toys.

See, even professional signwriters get it wrong. Image: My own.

See, even professional signwriters get it wrong.
Image: My own.

Well, boy howdy. What d’yer know? All this time I was writing the apostrophe after the ‘s’. Embarrassing but I learnt something huge there. And I probably have a lot more to learn.

So, how good is your grammar? And be honest. Was there any grammar rule that eluded you but made you want to crawl into a hole in the ground when you finally learnt it?

NM :)