Archive | June 2010

GOD IS IN THE DETAILS?

My post yesterday raised some interesting comments on faith and spirituality and I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about the matter.

“A Creed for the Third Millennium” is a book by Australian writer Colleen Mccullough; I read it in my early twenties, having been blown over by her better-known novel, The Thorn Birds.

In short, the plot deals with a post-apocalyptic future world, a grey landscape and a joyless, dehumanised population who are governed by an Orwellian band of baddies. The government decide to create a Messiah, a media-whore if you will, to give the people something to believe in. It is a thinly veiled rewrite of the New Testament and the analogies are disappointingly bland: the Messiah character is named Christian and the chief baddie who eventually betrays him is Judith.

“Creed” proved to be a dreary book, but the subject matter is food for thought: mankind must have something to believe in.

I went to Wikipedia and got this:

A creed is a statement of belief—usually religious belief or faith—often recited as part of a religious service. The word derives from the Latin: credo for “I believe” (because the Latin translation of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed both begin with this word). A creed is sometimes referred to as a symbol (Greek: σύμβολο[ν], sýmbolo[n]), signifying a “token” by which persons of like beliefs might recognize each other.

Ergo I am left with the impression that creed = organised religion, which – in my experience – equates to institutions run politically with the view to becoming financially profitable.

Rather like a Customer Relations Management campaign in advertising?

I know I am rambling with this post, but I am left wondering what criteria I would include if I got that ultimate writing brief: if there is – indeed – an Ultimate Higher Power and an email arrived in my inbox from His/Her PR agency to write a Global Creed for this Millennium …

I think my first point would be Respect; for yourself first and foremost, in your every thought and deed. That should create a ripple effect that would create some good vibrations, don’t you think?

HUMANITY: THE POEM EXPLAINED

Today
I will walk in a place
where men burned a Bible;
but I will step carefully
so as not to crush,
underfoot,
my faith in mankind.
©Cindy Taylor 2008

My humanity is bound up in yours,
For we can only be human together.
Desmond Tutu

I posted this poem this morning and received the following comment from Loreen Lee:

“Appreciate your poem, and the thought in the following two lines.
I understand your thought to be that the Bible of Christianity? has been burned generally, but that you will be careful in a critique of religion even, (you will step carefully), “so that you do not crush your faith in mankind”. Are you saying that you will be cautious with religious criticism, BECAUSE you have faith in mankind. This may be a delicate subject for you. Just a little feedback for your to assess whether another has understood sufficiently what the poem is saying. Thank you.”

In 2008 South Africa was beset with a wave of violent xenophobia. Riots broke out all over, school children went on the rampage, making bonfires and burning books. I was saddened beyond words and recalled Heinrich Heine’s prophetic words from 1823:

“Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”

pic: Immigrant alight (BBC)

Sure enough, a Somali man was set alight by the mob and died. I was ashamed, I was afraid, my conviction that ‘good’ would prevail was shaken to its core. I use the Bible as a metaphor for faith, for the dreams and hopes that our youth will uplift themselves through education. I am agnostic and my belief system is one of trying to conduct myself with honour: a scrupulous sense of what is right; a high standard of moral behaviour or integrity.

My reference to ‘step lightly’ was to renew, despite the horror of the situation, my faith in a better future for this country.

I hope that gives you an adequate answer and thank you for your interest in my writing.

Related post: https://theonlycin.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/a-little-story-about-a-gardener/

WHO’S LINE IS IT ANYWAY?

Is there copyright to my title of this blog? Who owns it? Drew Carey? Warner Brothers?

How often have you said “Much ado about nothing” and wondered if you are violating Shakespeare’s copyright or blatantly plagiarizing him?

Towards the end of last year a friend directed me to a blog, with the alarming message that the blogger was ‘stealing’ my stories. Sure enough, there they were; a word or phrase changed here and there, but there was no doubt about it. It was plagiarism. My initial reaction was fury, but it was early morning and I hadn’t yet had Merlot and took the time to think about it. In the end I just let it go, I came to the conclusion that it was not my issue, it was the plagiarist’s; she had to live with herself.

But it did lead me to ponder – and I still do, daily – about the fine line between inspiration and imitation, or downright theft. Goodnight, and good luck …

If you seem me walking down the street
(the girl with kaleidoscope eyes)
when the moon is in the seventh house;
don’t forget to remember
that I’m living in the love
of the common people.

Let me tell you about
Texas radio and the Big Beat,
when a man
beckons you to enter his web of sin,
(but don’t go in)
don’t let me be misunderstood:
there’s gonna be a heartbreak tonight!

If a picture paints a thousand words
and you’re killing me softly with your song;
singing
“We’ll be together then,
you know we’ll have a good time then”;
You better be careful what you say to me
‘Cause it might turn around on you
.

©Lots Of People

This is just an experiment. Most of the words in this poem are ‘lifted and twisted’ from song lyrics. The issue here is; to what extent have I violated copyright and where does one draw the lines when it comes to ‘inspiration’?

Credits:
William Shakespeare
Edward R Murrow
Shirley Bassey
The Beatles
5th Dimension
Bee Gees
Paul Young
The Doors
The Animals
The Eagles
Bread
Roberta Flack
Cat Stevens
R Kelly

Et al…

A BODACIOUS WEEKEND

Bodacious can mean:

Remarkable, courageous, audacious, spirited
Bodacious the Bull
In CB radio jargon, a general-purpose word of praise
A variety of iris (plant)
Voluptuous, attractive, “hot,” appealing to the eye
Bo-Day-Shus!!!, an album by Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper.
So, our good friend Side View has used Bodacious as her theme challenge for this weekend, and it turned into a weekend where I was able to use the word often.

First off, Side View came over on Friday afternoon. Nobody she works with reads my blog, so I can reveal that she was playing hookie. We opened a bottle of reliable old Fish Hoek Merlot and started to discuss ‘bodacious’. I’d always assumed the word originated from reference to Boadicea, the Celtic Queen of circa AD 60. But it seems not, and I haven’t had time to investigate the etymology of ‘bodacious’. We decided it was a fine idea to go off in search of a wine which was deserving of being called bodacious.

Courageous, we entered the village and made a lot of noise in the bottle store and came away with two wines because we liked the unusual labels. I chose The Dark Side because it brought fond memories of a psychopathic blogger on my old blog site, and Sidey chose an appropriate mate; Matt Black Bilton. Both wines were dark as mud (excuse the bad photos, they are evidence of our enjoyment of the wines).

 

We watched a gory television programme after the football match, and decided we were never going to consider having plastic surgery. Ever.

My beautiful table  and lovely meal were a waste on Saturday night; my guests were travelling from Durban and were delayed by roadworks, they only arrived after 9pm, by which time everyone was too tired and cross to eat.

Sad condolences to England for being beaten so badly by the Germans yesterday, I expect very glum returning guests to my home today. I wonder if a robust, bodacious tamatie bredie* will give some comfort?

* a traditional South African lamb and tomato stew.

Now; while we wait for our next challenge over at the Kleine Zalze Ambassador blog, let’s get to know each other, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Where do you cook?

Related post: http://www.fortheloveofwine.co.za/458/lovely-lamb/

A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY MEMORY

 

Old Spouse and I had, for years, spoken about legalising our union. For one reason or another, we simply never got around to it and the years ran on and on until Original Bunn began to harp on the fact that she resented her status as an illegitimate child. She refused to accept our kinder term; love child.

Around this time, I was preparing to honour my promise to myself that I would retire from the advertising industry on my fortieth birthday and mark the milestone with a spectacular bash. Added to the fact that (because it fell on the 8th of January) all the important people would still be in Cape Town (my stepdaughter was here from Canada, all the homos were back from Plett and the Gauteng crowd hadn’t started their trek back to work) we made a spur of the moment decision to have a wedding instead.

With two weeks to go, I had no time to have a frock made, so I sped off to Cavendish Square and bought a shocking pink slip from one of my favourite designers. Old Spouse hates formal clothes, so I bought him a black T-Shirt and had ‘BRIDEGROOM’ printed in the same pink on the front.

We hired a museum in Simonstown harbour; the ship CS Cable Restorer and I had a field day decorating the interior with pink and orange flowers and enormous vases of sweets.

It was the party of a lifetime and it carried on until dawn. People wrote about it in local and overseas newspapers, on websites and in a magazine. What nobody could accurately communicate, however, was the prevailing current of strong love and friendship that flowed throughout the revelry.

I’ve never had a bad birthday, but this one was truly memorable.