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 Рmaybe not every  monastic retreat, but definitely this one Рis 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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