The premise started off as very simple here: build a literary presence.
Interestingly, I am really enjoying the flash fiction genre and I think that it may have its own full place. Hence, I’ve begun publishing novella’s of ten to twenty of the Library’s stories on Amazon (see Volume I here) and, well, I guess we’ll see where all of this goes.
Of the few that I have received, this is by far my favourite customer review:
“For a moment, imagine that the Gods are borne out of human and animal imagination, a need to reconcile the unforgiving natural world through storytelling, manifested quite solidly in the perceivable realm as beings of vast powers, desires, and hungers. Gods of knowledge and portent. Gods of sex and lust. Gods of blood and gold. This novella takes the reader into the minds, histories, and hearts of gods who have been ‘forgotten’ in name, though remembered and ‘fed’ in deed, and play out their continuing drama of agendas and violence against the backdrop of modern Johannesburg, South Africa. I urge anyone who enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s book AMERICAN GODS to take this journey, because while the former is a seminal work of mythic genius, it is ‘safe’, and the Forgotten Gods of Jozi is equally genius and most certainly not safe.”
– Amanda Close
It is regarding my book, “The Forgotten Gods of Jozi” :
Amanda is perhaps partly correct in her comparison of my book to Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods“. I read that book of Gaiman’s many years ago and it stuck with me as a favourite, but it was more the timing of that reading than the reading itself that influenced me. The timing of reading “American Gods” was just after I had discovered the intriguing writings and thoughts of Austin Osman Spare that resulted in the alternative occult school of thought, “Chaos Magic“.
A thought that always stuck with me was Spare’s inversion of cause and effect that formed the basis of traditional religion. What if, instead of us believing in gods that exist, the gods exist because we believe in them. What if belief itself had the power, not the gods.
After Spare’s writings stirred a philosophical tickle in me, Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” struck a narrative chord with me that I have often contemplated.
I suppose “The Forgotten Gods of Jozi” was a naturally extension (many years later) of these underlying thoughts and, even if I did not set out to replicate, duplicate or fabricate similarities, they do perhaps exist.
That said, beyond the logic of the oldest gods existing in the oldest known settlement of man (the Cradle of Humankind), the “Forgotten Gods of Jozi” is also partly a self-biography of me moving to Johannesburg (about seven or so years ago). It’s chosen settings are (and often chronologically) the places I stayed in over the early years, the places and things that left impressions on me and my local haunts in those days.
And, in this sense, the tale has nothing to do with Gaiman or Spare. Rather it is actually quite a personal tale with creative license on the city I’ve come to love.
All said and done, the above must be my favourite customer review of all time. It is quite an honour to be compared with Neil Gaiman, in any shape or form! Thanks Amanda.
I am two thirds of the way through my next book’s rough draft, “The Space Between Ages”, and here is a mock-up cover for it:
Here is my opinion on the “controversial” FNB advert…
Before even voting, the electoral process and all the related paraphernalia of a healthy democracy, the foundation of the democratic system is actually the individual’s freedom of speech. The ability for people (and businesses) to say what they think offers the ability for a nation to have a national dialogue, discussing important topics, bouncing ideas around and sharing information. This is the basis of forming a “national opinion”, which the basis of collective decision making, i.e. the electoral process that most people think of when they think of democracy.
The freedom of speech also includes the ability to openly and honestly criticize Government without the fear of retribution. Those people elected into a public position must accept that they are there for the people’s benefit, not the people for theirs. Hence, public commentary (including criticism!) of those in public office is a reality.
If they did not want commentary on themselves, they should not be in public office. Those in public office cannot have their cake and eat it. It’s that simple.
Now I think the FNB advert is actually quite a positive, hopeful advert and had little (i.e. nothing) to do with the ANC, the Government and the “aggrieved parties”. But, ignoring what I thought, the ANC’s (and hence the Government’s) aggressive response is quite telling. Furthermore, the fact that FNB felt the need to pull the advert off air is even more telling, given the context I have set above…
With no true freedom of speech, we risk not being a democracy.
Those who know me, know that I that I have quite an eclectic musical taste. From classic rock into metal and goth, skipping over to electronic and pop and moving into rap and hip hop. It is of the last type that I wish to write of here and it is of a most underrated artist: Canibus (see Wikipedia entry here).
More important than the man, is what he has created. Meet some of his music: