Shooting from the lip
Show, don’t tell.
The golden rule in writing, I was once taught, long ago.
In journalism too. The reader’s eye sees the headline first, then the photo, then the caption, and only then the story.
I have to confess: I haven’t read to my laat-lammetjie nearly enough. I’ve been too busy showing her our exhilarating world.
Mainly by bicycle, together. In her 1000-odd days of being alive, she’s explored an abundance of country roads, forests and meadows.
Thrown acorns into dozens of sparkling streams.
Now that she’s seen so many of the world’s wonders for herself, maybe all the stories will mean more.
I’ve started sifting through boxes of children’s books, to read her. And also our family’s stories. As Brandi Carlile sings: “All of these lines across my face; Tell you the story of who I am ”
I search my memory, my library, my music, my soul.
In a special cupboard, I find a tiny, leather-bound book, filled with hand-written quotes.
A gift from my mother.
For years, she has quietly retrieved the book from my home, spirited it back to her house above the waves, and laid in my book bouquets of scented words.
In this precious little treasure-trove, I see a quote by a Buddhist master:
“When we have discovered the heart’s capacity to face any situation, the joys and the sorrows of existence as they are, we awaken to freedom.
“Then the golden lion speaks with a roar. Out of the mouth of the lion comes the undaunted voice of the truth, the liberation of the unbounded heart.”
I find Rabbi Hillel, who lived 2000 years ago: “I walk, I fall down, I get up. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.”
And: “ and those who were seen to be dancing were thought to be insane, by those who could not hear the music.” – TS Eliot.
Perhaps it’s time to start writing my little daughter’s own “Book of Life”.
I’ll start with three quotes: In the opening page, from a song by David Gray, my best line of all time.
These eight words, reflect the depth of my love for you, Beth: “Like a stone, I fall into your eyes ”
On page 2, will be the opening line of a hymn: “In the morning of my life, I shall look to the sunshine!”
And on the back page, this line by Chris Martin of Coldplay: “So whatever you do: Don’t let go!”
In the pages of your life, I hope these three quotes will frame your happiness.
With love, delight and resilience.