I wasn’t thinking of Halloween or planning on posting anything at all creepy until I almost stood on this guy today. Still got the willies – not keen on leaving my feet on the floor, and got me thinking about another thing that had me tucking feet under bum for weeks.
South Africa doesn’t really celebrate Halloween much. I’ve heard that it is growing in popularity a bit, but apart from those wonderful guys who will take any excuse for a party, I’m not sure that it would be a very good idea to go around knocking on doors around here dressed up as ghouls and such. Small scary creatures knocking on doors at night in South Africa are highly unlikely to get any sweets – probably only the visions of the backs of people running away smartly and screaming hysterically. Chatting to author friend Charles Yallowitz on his blog the other day, where he was discussing the sizes of various monsters reminded me about a little tokoloshe incident of my own.
I’ve been doing a little interior design work on the especially unpleasant hell that is home to the Nefandus – the demonic beings in Shadow People. I have a very vivid imagination, so I know that they don’t like it there at all, and are quite keen to leave. Their appearance of course, and their very specific methods of—. Well no – never mind that now. I will only say that they’re very, very, very, tall. All cultures on this world of ours have legends of demonic entities. They’re mostly quite similar in looks, which really should give us pause for thought. Black skin. Red eyes. Long pointy fingernails. They loom over beds, oozing icy malevolence, instilling immobilising terror, and often buggering about with the duvet, while giving their victims a nasty scratch or two. They throw things at walls. Occasionally these things are their victims.
So the whole demon thing is pretty disagreeable in general. Unless you’re another way inclined I suppose, then they’d just be invited guests at your party. Well. You enjoy whatever rocks your boat, is all I can say about that. I’ll be washing my hair on that night. Here in Africa we have quite a few gods and demons. Mermaids that are not gorgeous, blonde, and large breasted, but rather menacing and vicious whirling dervishes, that suck you down into rivers and drown you. Then there’s Nyaminyami – the god of the river. He’s a biggy. When the hydro-electric dam was built in the Zambezi valley in the 1950’s, the BaTonga tribe were forced off the lands that had been rightfully theirs from time immemorial into new settlements on higher ground. Angrily they vowed that Nyaminyami would destroy it, and to be truthful, over the years there have been quite a few large, unexpected, not easily explained, disasters and deaths there. So never be too hasty to disbelieve in legends.
We also have the tokoloshe. They are not so tall. In fact they’re about the height of a two year old child. But don’t let their short stature fool you – these are very frightening and powerful ooh-nasties. The method of choice to stop the evil little sods from hopping onto you as you dream, is to place lots of bricks under the legs of your bed. If you believe in them, this would be a wise thing to do, considering a particular one of their forms of attack. Not a cool way to awaken, I reckon. There are no character saving Leprechaunish pots of gold here. They’re murderous, terrifying entities if the thousands of stories are to be believed. I certainly wouldn’t like to meet up with one at all. Although once I thought I had.
Many moons ago, I was staying at the lake resort of Kariba in Zimbabwe – legendary home of the Nyaminyami by the way. I was sleeping off an overdose of one-armed bandit gambling, and various other youthful excesses, when I was rudely awakened by something tugging on my ankle. On opening a heavy lid, I locked eyeballs with two nasty little shiny black points of light surrounded by a swirling mass of hair. Lots of hair. Emanating from this horrible sight were some pretty odd noises too. I yelled at the top of my lungs and then did the cowering against the wall thing for a while. Apart from soft noises of movement coming from the adjoining hotel rooms, caused by my own screams of terror no doubt, I heard sharp nails scrabbling on the floor. Then a big bang as whatever it was squeezed out of the window in the bathroom before heading for the hills.
Needless to say I hightailed it out of there straight away to another hotel – with first floor rooms. The bleary eyed hotel staff had differing opinions as they poured several very large shots of medicinal brandy. The most sensible theory was that it had been a thieving monkey. Still – I didn’t like to think that a wild monkey had been yanking on my leg. And why would a monkey be doing that sort of thing anyway? It certainly hadn’t sounded like any monkey I’d ever heard either. More like that awful head spinning little girl in the Exorcist. Do they have scrabbling nails? My ankle was fairly badly scratched. I really don’t know. Even though they’re so clever, I’ve never been partial to them. My mother had an incredibly mean pet monkey once called Darwin, who she never believed used to bite me when she wasn’t around, and coo lovingly, and try and stroke my cheek when she was. Until someone left a window open my eight year old self was fairly traumatised. Not me, in case that’s what you were thinking – I wouldn’t want to harm them. I just don’t want them in my personal space, let alone yanking any of my limbs.
The other opinion was that it had been a tokoloshe, sent by the witchdoctor that had created it from the dead, to steal from guests. When I said that nothing had been stolen, it was suggested that it must have been planning something else altogether to begin it’s spree with, and I’d clearly had a very lucky escape. Indeed! The hotel manager helped polish off the bottle of medicinal, and was quite adamant that it had been the tokoloshe that had been swiping wallets, jewellery, and cameras off dressing tables for weeks. He further deprived me of sleep that night by insisting that now that it knew I had seen it, it would traverse the globe to hunt me down and kill me. That weekend was cut short for me right then. I spent the next few nights elsewhere, with wide open eyes, and fantastic and caring friends taking turns to hide under my bed at night and grab my ankles. Then I gratefully flew off to spend a few peaceful months in mercifully wild monkey free England. I haven’t seen anything remotely like that since. Maybe he’s still there, following my trail through dusty castles, and quite a few pubs as I recall, stuck forever in that lovely Kingdom, just waiting for me to return. Anyone heard of night-prowling monkeys in London I wonder? I do hope that my continued existence proves that it was just a monkey after all – it probably was – but then again, you never know.
Happy Halloween everyone!
It’s an honour to be on Sally’s Buy a Book for Christmas list. Sally is not only my friend, but her kindness to all indies and bloggers out there is my inspiration. Sally is both accomplished and well known in her field even though she never toots her own horn. Watch this space to learn much more about her from Feed My Reads SA. Thank you Sally!
Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:
This year I have had the honour to interview some terrific writers for the Sunday Show and as guest interviews. As a small thank you I am going to be featuring their books from now until Christmas.
Most are in E-version and can be bought right up to the last minute for friends and family. Whilst I still love to read a print book frequently, the introduction of E-books has meant that wherever you are in the world you can download a book immediately instead of waiting weeks for delivery and paying the postage.
I hope that you will make this Christmas a book buying festival and that you will enjoy the selection from my guests from around the world this year.
Jo Robinson – South Africa Jo Robinson wears a coat of many colours. She is a writer, blogger and artist with a love of birds and all wildlife…
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Originally posted on Lit World Interviews:
Write about what you know is pretty good advice. It is possible to write about what you don’t know, but whenever you do you’re going to have to make sure that your research is spot on. The wonderful thing about Google is that you have a world of information at your fingertips. The not so wonderful thing is that not all of that information is accurate. So when I’m looking for specific facts I always find at least a couple of different sources to be sure that I’m not using flawed or bogus articles.
Most of us have felt the gamut of emotions to one degree or another, so those are fairly easy to convey. I believe though, that there are some extreme emotions that would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible for most – not all – writers to communicate unless they’ve lived them. So all the research in…
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Originally posted on Life in Portsong:
I saw someone’s Facebook status today:
And I was immediately struck with anger.
At first, I wasn’t sure quite why. I get what they meant. It seems like Ebola’s everywhere! It’s constantly on the news, all over the internet, and everyone’s talking about it. It makes sense to be sick of hearing about it. We’re bound to get sick of hearing about anything that much!
But still, I couldn’t shake the discomfort that rung in my head over that status. Ebola seems far away, after all, it’s only been diagnosed four times in the US. It’s easy to tuck it away in your mind as something distant that doesn’t affect you and forget why it’s a big deal.
It’s even become a hot topic for jokes on social media:
Because so many see this very real disease as a far away concept, we find safety in our distance and it’s…
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Originally posted on writerchristophfischer:
Today I have the honour to introduce David Prosser and his very entertaining “Batsetshire Diaries”, including an interview with his Lordship himself.
“My Barsetshire Diary (The Barsetshire Diaries Book 1)” by Lord David Prosser is a wonderful excursion into the (fictitious) world of Lord David and Lady Julia live a modern day life with their recently inherited title as Lord and Lady. Traditions, British class system and formality meet shopping trips, exercise machines and mundane tasks and issues.
The book is full of situational comedy, irony and great wit and most amusing characters. Told in diary style, small snippets and events illuminate the challenges when two different worlds meet and need to work out their differences. I enjoyed the book very much and am sure you will, too – especially if you like authors and characters such as Georgette Heyer, Anthony Trollope, Stephen Fry, Wooster and Jeeves, Mapp and Lucia…
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:D :D :D
Originally posted on Behind the White Coat:
The man sitting on the exam table rubbed his finger slowly across his nose as he listened to me talking about his cholesterol and 10 year cardiovascular risk.
Why does he keep doing that?
I quickly rubbed my finger across my own nostrils.
Is there a hair sticking out? It has been a while since I last trimmed my nose hair…
He did it again.
Is he trying to tell me something?
I rub again. This time harder.
Oh my gosh! I have a nose booger. One of those dry crusties. I can feel it stuck inside my nose. What if it comes loose?
I try not to breath hard. I don’t want to dislodge it.
Then he rubs his nose again!
I rub my nose.
He touches his gingerly, circling each nostril.
Oh, lord help me! It IS hanging out isn’t it?
I twitch my nose.
He twitches his…
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Originally posted on THE CRAZY CRONE'S ARTY-FARTY STUDIO:
On 22nd November I shall be holding my first art exhibition at the Black Olive cafe which is near to where I live and has a large studio attached to it.
I intend to display art I created in Australia (mainly acrylic, mandala and vision board) and the digital art I’m creating here in North Cyprus.
However, I need some large canvas prints of my digital art and photography which is difficult to afford on an age pension. Also I can’t afford to import prints from the websites where I sell my art as the transport costs to North Cyprus are huge ($100 for one large canvas print, even before I’ve paid for the print itself). Sadly, transport companies consider Turkey as not part of Europe and postage costs skyrocket as a result.
I am – like many – not good at asking for help…
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