My Retreat

Quotations by the monk who led our writing retreat:

      “I’ve never been called crazy, but I’ve had friends ask me if I’m all right.”

      “Discipline is knowing what you want.”

      “Killing time is not murder, it’s suicide.”

      “In the beginning was the Word.”

      “Just move your hand across the page.”

      “If you trust the words they will begin to move.”

      “It’s hard to dance if you’re watching your feet.”

Is this knack of speaking in axioms and epigrams a result of being quiet when you don’t absolutely have to speak? I almost called the sayings ‘sound bytes,’ but there’s a difference: sound bytes do not always encompass an entire thought. Sometimes it’s just a cut-out from a conversation. This gives political opponents the opportunity to infer an entire pericope of meaning into it as a means of attacking the speaker.

Back to the retreat.

I am receiving so much material, hints and references that just about everything I’ve planned for my writing has been swept off the table.

As background, I’m planning one/one of two/combined novels: an African one and an ancient Roman/Germanic one.

At this time, it seems I’m going to have to make a choice between the Germanic and the African versions of the story. I do better with the African voice – I suspect that it what I am going to have to do. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough as a writer to pull off a combination. Guess I’ll just have to be, because I’m not willing to let go of either the rain queen or the massacre in the Teutoburg forest.

However that may be: a monastic retreat – maybe not every  monastic retreat, but definitely this one – is an enriching experience that will probably be unique in your life if. It certainly is in mine. I cannot experience real silence any more because of the ringing in my ears, but I can experience a silence of the soul and the blissful absence of people incessantly YAKKING about absolutely nothing.

Gerhard Venter

Author: Gerhard Venter

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