Raising Jozi

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Regular readers will know I have been working on a novel for some time now… about 2 years really. This has mostly taken the form of research: reading, visiting places and reflecting. But it has also taken the shape of working on character development, structural plans and plot development. The notion of the narrative voice has been looked at, particular story lines teased out and the tone and voice examined, tried out and played with.

The major aspect that has been preventing me starting the actual writing has been the central story line: what happens in the book. And then yesterday, while I was running around the block a few times, I remembered a conversation I had with John Vlismas during an interview. He said something along the lines of  “Sooner or later you get to the stage where you can admit to yourself and everyone around you that all you are interested in is the work. Not all the other stuff, just the work of doing what you love.”

I had been very impressed with this expression of focus at the time, but during this run it fell into place with a whole lot of other thoughts and I began to join the dots. Thus the key missing piece from my jigsaw puzzle fell into place for my novel and I sat down to write this one paragraph… I hope you enjoy it!

“I woke up from the dream and realised that Jozi is the Mecca of the south, it is Bethlehem, Nirvana and Valhalla all in one. It is the ultimate Zen riddle. The place where all men flock for gold, in pursuit of work and riches. But in that work men find meaning and in meaning find their true selves and from their true selves springs peace. And in the peace these men truly reap the city of gold, enjoying enlightenment and wonder in a place far above the surrounding areas, where winter wind can cut like a knife and summer showers can wash away your sins and baptise you into a new life. And in the cry of the Haddeda and the constant hooting of taxi’s lie the call to prayer, the demand to focus, prioritise, cut your motivations to the bone and reveal your true values, where your soul really lies. In such mirrors lies the redemption of men.”

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