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Consuelo Roland

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Cry a River

What now, sir?

Kerry Kennedy (Chair of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council, niece of assassinated USA president John Kennedy and human rights activist) said in an interview in SA recently that she believes that the moral courage necessary for those who uphold human rights is within us all. She tells of her children’s friend who saw something in a girl’s eyes he and some other boys were laughing at because she’d fallen with a heavy backpack and how he ended up going to help her with her fallen books instead.

I keep on asking myself where are all the adults who should have seen Morné Harmse’s actions coming? Why did nobody step in when he walked around the school grounds with a blackened face, a ninja mask, black gloves and a samurai sword?
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Adventures in cyberspace

Somewhere along the way I’ve become a book peddler. It seemed an infinitely preferable course of action to watching my novel THE GOOD CEMETERY GUIDE languish in a publisher’s warehouse. Being one of those people who suffer from excess optimism, otherwise termed ridiculous enthusiasm, I ignored the advice of all the sensible caring people in my life who told me marketing my own book was a bad idea and not to even think about doing a website around the novel, not even in my wildest dreams; that it would distract me, delay me, detour me; that I was a writer not a salesperson, a novelist not a web-designer, and in case I really didn’t get it, no writer ever made money out of a website and I should be concentrating on my second book. Not strictly true of course, some writers have done very nicely through their websites, but for the sake of argument they (those of good intent) were absolutely right. My 2008 New Year’s resolution to earn a living as a writer has been postponed once again to the following year. They did however forget to mention what seems most pertinent; that it would require endless painstaking hours of hard work. Doing a website is like writing a book. Any serious enterprise requires time. Writers never have enough time because we’re leading double lives; we live and work in parallel so just making the space to be aware of taking a breath (listen to/read Eckhart Tolle’s A NEW EARTH!) is hard.

The good news is it’s been a gas. Rollicking fun-on-the-road growing-up-to-be-a-real-writer stuff. I’ve vanquished shyness and expanded horizons by getting out to small independent bookshops in the city environs and in outlying country towns, and talked about the book and website to some of the countless readers circles, writers groups and book clubs that keep the book industry in South Africa humming. Along the way I’ve sold books. The readers of the kind of books I read and write finally have a face. I’ve written pages of content for the website in a different style to anything I’ve published before. I’ve experienced enormous crafting satisfaction from turning an idea that wouldn’t let go of me into a cyber space called www.goodcemeteryguide.com that dwells lightly on the interplay of life, love and death. Always with the hope that someday we’ll have those important conversations at the dinner table!
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