How much is your time worth?

Silly question because you cannot sell your time. Not really. You can do things for other people and get paid for doing it but are you selling time? Never.

sands in hourglass
Look, the sands of time are running out – give them a quick count
What do you do with time then? You can’t save it, you can’t waste it. It just is. Now. This is time.

See, there it goes. It’s gone.

You wasted it. Now rather go do something else. Something important that could make a difference to you. Could be a nap. Could be a conversation. Could be writing a book, or not.

Enough silly questions, now a writing update.

Novel draft went 30 000 words forwards and 12 000 back. More clarity and focus was were (damn subject-verb rubbish) achieved. More writing needs to be done. It is going to take some time. Please let me know if you have any spare.

One step forward, two steps back

Old cover for Grizzle & Bone
Old cover for Grizzle & Bone under nom de plume Gerhi Feuren
Between 2012 and 2015 I published eight short stories through Amazon Kindle and some of the same eight through other channels (under the name Gerhi Feuren). I sold a handful directly and a mere four copies through Amazon. Clearly not a roaring success. But nevertheless a good process and learning experience.

But I have now unpublished all of my short stories, which may seem as if I am going backwards. Maybe I am but only time will tell. Maybe I will republish them here as free stories. I have not made that decision yet.

Have I given up on writing? No, I haven’t. On the contrary, I am now as committed as ever to keep writing. I am very close to finishing the draft of a novel. Very, very close but I don’t want to say more than that. But I do want to say that my focus is on writing the novel. That novel specifically and then the novel as a particular form.

When I have more information available I will post it here. But for the moment I am hunkering down to finish the first novel. Then other things may be said, or not.

A Ramble through January 2017

Hey, forgot to post this. Better late than never…

Gerhi Janse van Vuuren, 2016, Gradus Uno, oil on canvas
One of the paintings I managed to finish in 2016 titled Gradus Uno

At the end of last year, 2016, it started bothering me that I have a website but I rarely update it. Or if I do get inspiration I fire of a series of five posts in three days and then nothing happens again for three months. This year, 2017, I am aiming for a little more consistency.

I plan to do a monthly update on all the things I am busy with, working on, finished working on, abandoned or restarted in the past month. I will write this update somewhere between the 25th and the end of every month and it will mostly be a ramble around things. Yes, I know that instead of banging it all together in one post I can create a whole slew of shorter posts but I am going for consistent and regular updates here, not the posting championship of three short posts a day for every day of the year.

School

School started. With a bang. Last year I started the year working on a Class 11 play and I am doing it again this year. But I did not start there, I started with a Class 10 Main Lesson and as usual I have been unraveling the whole thing so that I am putting together a patchwork cloth rather than presenting a finely woven carpet. Not that it hasn’t been interesting and fun so far, it has been, and we have been making wonderful discoveries about colour.

But what I am really looking forward to at the moment is starting on the Class 11 play. We have our first workshop this coming Saturday and today I spent a fair amount of time working out a first draft for a complete rehearsal schedule. On the other hand, my colleague has worked out a detail plan for this Saturday’s encounter.

Between the two of us I am beginning to feel over prepared. And at the same time I started wondering whether getting prepared on this level might not help me get a whole lot of other things done.

Drawing

I finally figured out how to delimit the essay I have to write for my Teacher Training. I have been gathering information but it was all over the place with no clear focus. This past week I had a brainwave regarding what is said about teaching art in the high school. No matter what at some point when art is explained somebody will say: “…and in class nine we teach black and white drawing.”

Well yes, we do, kind of. But why? And how? And for what purpose? And how? And…?

As you can see, I have been thinking deeply about this. And I will explore it much deeper while I construct an essay about drawing in black in white in class nine. Don’t hold your breath for revelations however, I might still be as muddled about it when I am done as I am now. Though the current class 9s are doing swimmingly in their first forays into drawing in the high school, though it is more grey than black and white.

Painting

I have had great success last year with the class 10s and painting. But I felt that I had to take it a level deeper because I was a bit all over the place and I wasn’t sure where we managed to make the most progress. In flailing about for direction I came across the teachings of Herman Hersche.

Even a cursory overview convinced me that here was a method that is not only teachable but will also be able to produce significant progress and lasting results. The only problem is, I am as much a novice at applying the techniques as my students. This past week I attempted a demonstration of the first exercises and failed rather dismally to produce anything valuable.

…and I ended it somewhere in limbo.

If you are tired of quitting stop starting over

Post content to go here.

Grizzle & Bone cover circa 2013
For some reason I love redoing this cover – Grizzle & Bone version 3.2

This post heading has been in my drafts folder for forever. I could leave it there until I have something really good to write or I can just go right ahead and write something to go with it now. Quick, 30 seconds of wisdom on not giving up.

If you are tired of quitting stop starting over. Wise words, isn’t it. It means that momentum is good and that you should treasure it. It also means that you can’t do everything you want to do. There isn’t enough time.

And with that 30 seconds is up and I have no more wisdom to dispense. Was that satisfying though? Is it going to change your life?

Are you a cat person or a dog?

Grizzle & Bone 2011 cover
The 2011 version of a cover I have redesigned half a dozen times since because I can’t make up my mind

Did you see what I did with that question? I asked you not if you are dog person but if you are a dog? Does it destroy the funny when I started explaining the joke? or was it not funny because I am hurting your feeling?

Don’t you just love dichotomies? I don’t. I prefer that there be at least seven different options to choose from and that none of them has any value attached to them. Sweet or sour? Intro or extrovert? Screaming lunatic or only sane man on the planet? Man or woman? Or no man?

Maybe I just hate making choices? How do you decide things?

Are you making progress?

Or did you forget to draw a line in the sand that you can look back to and see how far you have come?

Going in circles don't make progressMaybe you have not gone that far at all. It happens if you nail one foot to the ground and then keep on trudging in circles. Have you worn a groove in the ground yet?

Then maybe you are just not making the effort. Try it. Making an effort. But don’t get stuck on that. Everything is not supposed to be an effort. Except most things. They tend to be an effort.

Did you get that I’m going in circles here?

Are you bothered much?

Because it seems as if people that aren’t bothered much has an easier time at it. Or are they just slackers because everybody else has to pick up the worrying on their behalf?

bothered by the clockWhen do you start getting worried? When the clouds start gathering? When the first drops fall? When it pisses down? When the dam breaks? When the house floods with sludge and muck? Or not even then?

If you are not bothered what gets you up in the morning? It might be birdsong. Or an alarm clock. But if you’re not bothered at all your snooze button may be worn out.

Should you bother at all?

Making something old new

I have a story that I have republished with at least half a dozen covers. Call it my cover experimentation story. I have just redone a new cover for it.

Grizzle & Bone cover June 2017
A newly minted cover for Grizzle & Bone (soon to be republished)

This time not because I didn’t like the previous cover but because I’m shedding my pseudonym (Gerhi Feuren) and moving all my stuff to be published under my own name (Gerhi Janse van Vuuren). It is a consolidation exercise aimed at simplifying my world somewhat. I don’t think it is going to do that though.

Doesn’t matter. I’m happy working in obscurity still and will continue to do so. I’m not intending to brand my re-covered story covers or even to do them any good for whatever genre, style or secret code they are supposed to be managed by.

I’m just doing them because to get them done. Do you ever do things completely your own bloody way just for the hell of it?

Do you sometimes just forget?

My grandfather never forgot to milk the cows. Maybe because if he did they would have become engorged and then explode. Have you ever seen an exploded cow? Have you ever seen an exploded anything?

kitchen utensils
Are these dirty in the sink or shiny in the cupboard?

My stuff don’t go moo. They quietly go sit in the corner and sulk and die if I forget them. Or they become toxic ghosts of days past that gnaw away at my nerves. And still I forget.

I never do everything I want to do. I don’t even do everything I have to do. Or should do, or must do or not do. Is there anybody that does?

Do you manage to do everything?

When last did you walk into a wall?

Or don’t you do enough walking in the dark? Because if you don’t dawdle into the unknown you have little chance dumping over the edge.

Brick wall up close
Not this kind of brick wall

What I mean is, do you manage to get to the end of yourself? Because it is not nice to know you have ends. Being blissfully convinced that you can do anything you set your mind to is a precious kind of ignorance. Do you do enough to rid yourself of this delusion.

I thought I didn’t and I still fumbled hard into the brickness making me thinks my ends have moved closer to the middle of me.

Do you have any idea what I meant with that last sentence?