I live in the wonderful and volatile city of Joburg in South Africa. Sometimes I get the urge to write stuff down. This is where it lives.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Some writing

This is a piece I did in the context of a writing group I belong to on e-mail. How it works is one person gives a 'prompt' and the others write whatever that inspires. The prompt for this piece was to use the song title or lyrics of a song - track 4 on the 7th CD on the rack. That CD on my rack was Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (naturally!).

I used the lyric "swimming is easy when you're headed for the deep, all you have to do is crawl" from the song 'Mainstream' as my inspiration...


I can’t remember when I first heard of it. The legend of the Deep. It may have been passed down through generations of my family. My memory plays tricks on me. I have flashes of being told the stories by an old man with a long beard. The room is lit by candlelight. But I don’t know the setting or the old man.

Sometimes I think it was just a dream. But that doesn’t explain the map. The light blue cloth had lain in a wooden box under my bed for as long as I can remember. I was told never to look at it, but to keep it safe.

I had obeyed. Until now.


The river was bright turquoise and surrounded by tall, thick trees. Without the map, it would have been impossible to find. Even with the map it had taken me six days.

Avery had wanted to come too, but I had begged him not to.

“What if it all goes wrong?” I said.

He started to cry. “How will I know if you made it?”

I smiled at him. “I’ll come back for you.”


The ground was wet and slippery, but I managed to manoeuvre down to the water’s edge within a few minutes. I looked across but couldn’t see the other side anymore. It looked as vast as the sea, but eerily still.

Glancing around to make sure I was alone, I quickly undressed. I laughed to myself at the absurdity of the situation. Who else would possibly be there? The place suddenly felt utterly deserted and a shiver darted across my neck.

What if it did all go wrong? Avery would wait and hold out hope - but for how long? And if I didn’t return, what would he tell the others?

We should have thought it through a bit better. But I had to leave quickly. Time was not something we had.

I dipped my fingers into the water. It was surprisingly warm. As I slid my arm deeper it seemed to get hotter.

I stood up and stepped down tentatively. The water covered my ankles. I knew it was too late to turn back. I waded in further until the water was up to my hips. My feet felt like they were burning from the heat coming off the riverbed.

I walked for another few minutes. The water didn’t get much deeper – it was only sitting on my waist. I looked back at the shoreline behind me. It was so far away I could barely see the spot where I’d left my clothes. How had I walked such a distance in a few minutes? Ahead I still couldn’t see the opposite side.

Then suddenly the riverbed dropped out from under me.


It was dark and silent. I realised my eyes were closed and tried to open them but they felt like they were glued together. I opened my mouth and tried to speak, but it felt like a velvet cloth had been shoved down my throat.

Than I realised what it was.

I was under the water!

I panicked. My eyes shot open and I reached below me to try get my bearings. It was pitch black and I couldn’t see a thing. My hands touched a smooth surface, which felt like marble.

I wondered for an instant if I was dead. Had I drowned? I was holding my breath and my lungs were starting to hurt. I figured I wouldn’t feel pain if I was dead. My instinct was to get to the water’s surface for air and I started to swim upwards. But there was no light above me and I realised I was in some sort of underwater cave. And I couldn’t see a way out.

I was going to die.

I had always wondered what it might feel like to drown. Your body’s natural instinct to keep fighting when you know it will be less painful to simply hold your breath until you pass out.

I decided not to fight. I opened my mouth and gulped the water in, hoping I’d maybe choke to death quickly.

And then I realised the strangest thing. I could breathe. I was underwater and I could breathe!

I tried to sit down on the marble floor so I could comprehend what had happened. It didn’t make any sense – even in the context of the legend. The story was that you swim down to the river’s bottom and there’s a doorway to the other side. There you can breathe and walk about like normal.

Maybe I had misunderstood it all these years? I had always assumed the other side wasn’t underwater. But maybe that was wrong. And I was already there.

But why was it so dark? And my body was definitely still being slightly swayed by the water – I couldn’t have just stood up and walked.

I decided I needed to move. It wasn’t going to help staying there indefinitely. I felt around with my hands and feet. The marble floor seemed relatively flat.

I would simply have to crawl.


My body was an aching mass. I had been crawling blindly for what felt like hours. But it might have only been minutes. The dark hadn’t dissipated at all, but at least I could still breathe.

Suddenly I heard something. It had been so silent that the noise sounded strange – not just because it had that underwater resonance. It sounded like it was coming from behind me, so I manoeuvred my body around.

It was still completely dark, but the ground suddenly felt different under my hands and knees. It had a roughness that seemed alive.

And then I grasped what was happening. The riverbed was crumbling beneath me. I pulled my body into a foetal position, closed my eyes and tried not to scream as I plummeted.


I heard the whisper from the depths of my consciousness. It felt like a dream. I slowly opened my eyes and saw dim light. I opened my mouth and knew I was no longer under water.

I sat up. I was on a bed made of wood. The room was lit by candlelight. As I looked down it seemed there was no floor underneath. Across the room I saw a shadow. As it moved closer I saw it was an old man with a long beard. He smiled at me and said, “I’ve been expecting you.”

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Photo dabbling...

So I've been playing with my new digital camera a bit. I never really felt much for photography (in terms of doing it myself - I love looking at it), but this new toy makes it so much fun. Of course playing around with the pics in Photoshop afterwards makes them even better!

This photo was taken in an awesome garden, then I messed with the colour balance. I quite like it...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

I'm on the WWW

It's finally happened... I've staked my place on the world wide web. I was inspired by a friend who set up her own blog - the Sagittarian in me couldn't be left out! ;>
Please check it out - Lisa's Art Blog - it's fab!