Ivor W. Hartmann, Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, visual artist, and author of Mr. Goop (Vivlia, 2010). Nominated for the UMA Award (‘Earth Rise’, 2009), awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (‘Mr. Goop’, 2009), and finalist for The Yvonne Vera Award (‘A Mouse amongst Men’, 2011). His writing has appeared in African Writing Magazine, Wordsetc, Munyori Literary Journal, Something Wicked, The Apex Book of World SF V2, Litro, and other publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar annual anthologies and AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers anthology, and is on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe.
Latest from my facebook page
25 February 2012
In 2010 I decided to start posting some of my own one-liner’s (well, mostly one-liner's) at my facebook writer's page. They are quite varied in source, some come from my side of conversations (real and digital), my works in progress, thoughts I had about issues or current events, personal insights, and poems. So I have been a touch late in this post mainly for 2011, but here they are, last to first:
The past is always at war with the present over the future.
Don't ask for what should be offered, and don't offer beyond your means.
Not only is truth stranger than fiction, it's often much more amusing.
There upon the gilded knife's edge, with the abyss on one side and mediocrity on the other, I found a kind of fragile peace.
Never underestimate the importance of a great first reader.
There is only one race, life. No one wins, and we all have to participate.
Most real adventures are only fun in hindsight.
It's a fallacy that writers have or develop thick skins (as that kind of insensitivity would get in the way of our writing), but we do bounce back quicker the more we get used to being publicly humiliated, heh heh.
The human body is much like humanity itself. We have parts/attitudes that no longer serve a purpose, and need to be dealt with in each successive generation lest they damage the overall progress of the whole.
Even if you don't believe in therapy, therapy believes in you. ;).
A writer's greatest inhibition lies in not allowing themselves to employ their own unique perspective.
We all, individually, change the world every day by our mere existence.
Of all the inadequacies we generally suffer from, lack of truly long-term survival strategies is probably the greatest.
For the most part what may seem to be insurmountable can be surmounted if you have the patience and perseverance to take one step at a time, and walk however many thousands of miles are needed.
There was a lady I knew in passing,
And she died, as we all do.
But death did not come sudden for her,
It came in parts that took away the whole.
The first was estrangement from her children.
The second a car accident;
Crashed into by a physically challenged driver,
Who ran a red light right into her car at speed.
The third from the second her job security,
From too many harsh words,
Whose source was misunderstood.
The fourth was a stroke;
She lay paralysed in her bath for four days,
Unable to shout or move,
Before her absence was noted by friends.
But this then came back to the first,
As her children did not then look after her,
They just took her back home and left.
The fifth, one week after the fourth, another stroke.
It was three days before they found her,
Slumped against her fridge, milk in hand, dead.
It was ten days before,
Her children cleared out her home.
And as they filed past burdened with her possessions,
I could not help but to wonder,
If the first could not have been overcome,
And overcome all five.
If you don't learn from the past it will possess your future.
One Won Once
I got a car out back,
One day I’ll get it running.
I got a roof over my head,
One day I’ll fix all the holes.
I got a bank account,
One month it’ll earn more interest than bank fees.
I got a job, more than one,
One month they might pay all the bills.
I got a wife,
One year we’ll have a real honeymoon.
I got two children,
One year they’ll go to university.
I got a good suit, wore it for my wedding,
One decade I’ll wear it in my grave.
I got a president,
One election I reckon he’ll really do everything he said.
I got a planet, as much as everyone does,
One time, when I was a child, I gave it more than callous thanks.
I got hopes, when once I had dreams,
One second was all it took, to put them away with my one suit.
Look at how minorities are treated/mistreated to judge the health of a society.
Challenge the stereotype, change the paradigm.
There is no house, village, town, city, province, state, country, continent. There is only you and I, all together on this world called Earth.
Perhaps the most scary thing in writing is realising that you yourself have the potential to be your darkest characters, that they do indeed stem from a darkness in yourself. Accept and explore that fully (in the writing only of course :) without fear, and your writing will be true expressions and insights into real humanity and thus serve their purpose: to understand and reveal who we are in the bright light of truth.
Master the basics, and you can branch out into uniqueness with confidence.
Why is it so hard to comprehend that everything is in actuality free?
That the only payment is time spent, and the sweat of all our brows.
That were we to abandon the mental prisons we have built for ourselves,
Barred in the inequality of economics, money, and shirked personal responsibility,
We would still achieve all we have and much more besides.
And most importantly we would all be as free as everything is in actuality.
There is no greater truth about humanity than that expressed on the school-yard playground, for indeed we never really leave it.
There should be far stronger ties between Africa and South America, our similarities are so many as evidenced in the works of our writers.
There were things untold, words never said, an inextricable silence pounding with meaning. It was in these moments she learnt the most. Before, she had wasted time; plotting and scheming how to exit this nightmare that couldn’t be woken from. Now, there was only the dull axe of acceptance firmly lodged inside her brain, severing her former being from this one...
While tolerance is better than intolerance, it is not enough to merely tolerate without understanding. For tolerance without understanding all to often becomes intolerance again, at the slightest inconvenience.
One of the finer skills of writing is not in knowing what to write, but what not to write.
In our world of invisible giants, that seek to control our every move, we can only sense them by their footfalls; and hopefully have the courage to act when we do.
Yes, I am deeply flawed,
As crooked as the Limpopo.
I have grown and carved away,
The sculpture of my being.
To fit this space I create,
That stretches from you to I.
Where we all co-mingle,
At fractal edges.
With each to their own,
And owned by each.
A great story is always more than the sum of its writer.
If you're not making mistakes, you're not even trying. Success is built upon blunders, botches, bungles, and phenomenal balls-ups; so be not afraid of failure, for only in failure may you find success.
If you're not prepared to work on a story with an editor until it shines, then don't bother writing it in the first place. Have no illusions, writing for publication is very hard work indeed.
The greatest influence on your writing, should be yourself. Absolutely no one else has the unique perspective you do.
There is always a moment when writing a story (particularly a lengthy one) where you can only see the bark, never mind the tree or the whole forest. It is perhaps the darkest hour, when you have no idea whether what you are writing is a load of tosh or not. This is when ones first reader(s) are worth their weight in gold (for perspective), and what you have to do is keep on writing, and write you way out of it.
There's no doubt I'm a night owl. Living in, as I do, a busy city, the stillness of late night/early morning is always so perfect for writing. Zero distractions, and the words flow out as easily and as fresh as water from a mountain spring. The only other way I could achieve this would be to live very rurally (also a very attractive option).
If you want to see heaven and hell, all you have to do is look out your window.
As a writer, observation without empathy is fairly useless.
If you the writer become bored while writing a fiction story (first draft) the chances are so will the reader of the final product. It's better to abandon it and start another one, than waste your time any further.
If you're not an avid reader, odds are you'll never be a great or even good writer.
True freedom is an illusion, for we don't really know what it is and how to attain it, but it is something we must continually strive for until we do know what it is, and how to live it and keep it. One thing is sure though, we are learning what freedom is not, and true freedom must start with the rights of the individual.
"There is a spring to his gait I envy, an air of elicit excitement that can only be felt by the young. A time when breaking the rules has less consequences and far more satisfaction..."
We wait, and wait, and wait, until we feel like strangers in our own skins wondering who we are and where we came from. Our memories dim until one day we wake up foreigners speaking strange tongues and meeting strange people; living a life that seems to fit as long as you don’t look too carefully.
Hear the shrieks of antiques, wreathed in mystiques that reeks of foul techniques and power-freaks piques, whose foundations creaks from sneaks with winning cyber-streaks.
To be neutral is to be indifferent, and the orphans of indifference are legion.
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Copyright © Ivor W. Hartmann 2011-2012