A Manual for Heartache by Cathy Rentzenbrink

27202332.jpg– Perhaps heartbreak is what happens on impact, and heartache is what we are left with as time passes, once the dust settles, when we are able to look up and around us but are still shrouded in sadness. –

– I wrote this for myself, but also for you, so that even as your heart breaks and aches, and you can’t imagine how you will ever feel better, you can know you are not alone. –

– Life will never be the same again. The old one is gone and you can’t have it back. What you might at some point be able to encourage yourself to do, and time will be an ally in this, is work out how to adjust to your new world. You can patch up your raggedy heart and start thinking and feeling your way towards how you want to live. –

– [On “Everything happens for a reason”] I’m not a violent person but being told this has always made me want to punch people in the face. It’s an attempt to mould other people’s distress into a belief system. If there is ever a time to seek meaning in tragedy – and I’m not sure there is – it certainly isn’t in the immediate aftermath. –

– It has taken me over twenty years of getting depressed to realize that, for me, depression is a process of disintegration and reconstruction. My jigsaw scatters across the floor and the, eventually, I build myself anew. –



Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist by Pumla Dineo Gqola

36027344– I write because it is the only way to fully be me. –

– The very act of rape is only conceivable as “artistic” when it is doubly mythologised: in the insistence that it be read exclusively as metaphor and in its distancing of the rapist into non-human form. –

– Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela [:] “[w]hat kind of uhuru is it if the exercise of the right to stand up means that we are exposing ourselves to potential abuse?” –

– To be a literary woman is to wade through the supposedly well-meaning cautionary words – be careful, do not dream too ambitiously, there are not enough readers, there isn’t enough time, the work is thankless – words laced with less well-intentional doubt and sometimes sabotage. –

– To be an African feminist writing, rioting woman on the continent is to be engaged in constant self-defence against erasure of an African feminist tradition, to begin anew, to be invited to refer to first / second / third waves which obscure and deny the long presences of African feminist movements and imagination. –

– She cautioned against praising [her husband] for being a good father for doing what is taken for granted when mothers do it. She was not questioning how good a father he was. She was reminding all of us that we normalise good, full-time parenting by treating it as normal. –


Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John

27214023.jpg– I have learned to tell lies to escape bad memories that come from telling my stories. –

– I hate it when a dictionary defines one word with another word I do not know. –

– Sometimes you do something and it is only after that you think of the why. Sometimes there is no why. –

– When our women and children can’t read and write, is this supposed to help them take over Nigeria? –

– ‘Were you wondering what the moral of the story was?’ he asks, turning around.
‘Yes, Sheikh,’ I reply.
‘There is no moral. I just felt like telling you a story.’ –


Last Night by Tiah Marie Beautement

moon-and-dragon-108761_64010th of September is Suicide Awareness Day. To honour the day, FunDza has published my story Last Night.

Story summary: Meet Hope. She’s got a nice life – two loving and hard working parents, a nice house, private school, and never misses a meal. But her mind has turned on her. She’s named the monster of depression Tar Beast. And to battle it, she created a dragon – her dearest friend and protector.

Chapter 1

“I was going to tell you a story from long ago. It was a tale with werewolves and magic, elves and goblins, and things that whisper in the breeze,” I said.

“That sounds nice,” said the dragon. My imaginary friend was curled up in the corner of my perfect and beautiful bedroom, with her paws drawn under her chin, watching in the dim light.

I wanted to get out of bed, ask her if I could climb on her back, go for a ride, have her take me far from here. She had wings. Massive ones, that, when spread out, would dwarf my house. I could have held on to one of the many black and shiny horns that that ran from the top of her head and down her mighty back.

But all I said was, “It is a nice story.”

“I believe you,” she said. “And as soon as you want to tell it, I’m here to listen.”

I tried to nod, but couldn’t. Not that there was any point. Wasn’t much point to anything, these days. I was too tired for any of it. Even sleep. Two years ago, I would have laughed at anyone who told me that a person could be too tired to sleep. But now I understood: a person really could be so exhausted from existing, that all there was to do at night was wait for morning.

Morning is for washing, breakfast, shiny teeth, and tidy hair.
Morning is for packing homework, tennis kit, and piano books.
Morning is for shoulders back, posture straight, and smiling.

Because everything was good. Great. Wonderful. “I’ve given you everything I never had,” as my mother always said.

“Be grateful,” as my father always said.

“You are ungrateful,” Tar Beast hissed from my bed. “So ungrateful.”

I stiffened, as my imagination shifted and my evil mental-nemesis, Tar Beast, took over. The sheets turned to sticky muck, sucking me deeper into the bedframe. I wildly casted about for my dragon, but she was fading into the floor, to dwell where my good stories now lived.

I used to be a great storyteller. The best.

“Hope is a little liar,” my mother always said.

“Hope has an overactive imagination,” my father always said.

“Worthless,” Tar Beast hissed from my bed. “Wasting your time, always wasting your time, when you could be using it for something practical.”

Tar Beast sent up a long thick tentacle, dripping with muck, and wrapped it around my ribs, pulling me closer to its lair. My breath came out in short sharp gasps – faster than if I were doing tennis drills. Flames licked my lungs, as another tentacle closed over my mouth, the suction cups fastening to my flesh.

Help, I wanted to shout. But I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t groan. Air – snuff, snuff, snuff – made it through my nose, but it wasn’t enough. My heart picked up the pace–

“Relax,” Tar Beast purred. “Let go, just let it all go. You didn’t want to grow up to be a doctor, anyway.”

True, but the words remained inside me. Trapped by that thick, slimy, tentacle, sucking my face, robbing me of my voice. So ‘True’ was left to sink into my soul, sending out its inky poison, reminding me of all the ways I had failed.

“They didn’t spend all that money for you to throw it all away,” Tar Beast sang, dragging me further into the muck. “They deserve a daughter who appreciates the things they provide, a child who gives one hundred-and-ten-percent.”

True, I thought. I hadn’t even tried to speak this time. No point. Because I knew there was no way I’d live through the night. It hurt too much.

Click HERE to read Chapter 2

The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8) by Ann Cleeves

35963210.jpg– Sometimes it felt as if her whole life had been spent in the half-light; in her dreams, she was moonlit, neon-lit or she floated through the first gleam of dawn. Night was still the time when she felt most awake. –

– Vera was restless. She couldn’t sit still and she’d never seen the point of walking around outsidejust for the sake of it; she watched the hikers with their boots and walking poles who strode past her cottage and thought they must be mad. –

– Seagull? What’s a seagull? There are herring gulls, black-headed gulls, common gulls. But there’s no such species as a seagull. –

– It seemed a sort of magic: all this information from a heap of bones. –

– I do like a sense of humour in a villain. –


Bad Seeds (Jade de Jong #5) by Jassy Mackenzie

35658635.jpg– The lobby must have been redecorated in the eighties, and the receptionist Looked like she was about to audition for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. –

– Humans are like rats. You can’t keep them out of anywhere they really want to be. –

– Diet and exercise sounded like foreign words. South Africa might have eleven official languages, but this was a twelfth, and she was reluctant to learn it.

– There won’t be transparency. There never, ever has been with nuclear energy in South Africa. The apartheid mentality is still alive and well in that regard. It’s secretive, it’s corrupt and it’s not going to provide the benefits we need. –


Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

35914169.jpg– We are inescapably physical, drawn to the inescapably human. But if we are defined by our own bodies, we are entwined by the bodies of others. –

– Suspecting Gwen was male at birth, these men cornered her at the October 3 party, stripped her naked, strangled her with a rope, and beat her skull with a frying pan. Her last words were, “Please don’t. I have a family.” –

– The student’s mother said, “Saying a lunch box is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. –

– A friend “kindly” suggested the perhaps Nicole was transgender because her parents had given her dolls at such a young age.

“Are you kidding?” Kelly asked. “So what you’re saying is, every man is just one doll away from being a woman?” –

– She didn’t want a genderless society; she just wanted to be recognized for the gender she knew she was, the one that allowed her to have all the same experiences of being female that other teens girls enjoyed. No one could argue that equal rights for all religions would result in a religionless society. It was about the law, and the law should be blind to differences when it comes to handing out rights and privileges. –

– Bodies hold our stories. They connect us to the world because they are the instruments by which we experience the world. Nicole finally needed to make that connection right. –

Washington Post Excerpt

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall

33606120.jpg– He thinks that there should be a place in every town where people could put rescued or found things. Not just objects, but snippets of forgotten languages, or misused time – an hour that can never be lived again. It would be a place where lost faiths could be collected…extinct animals and old wives’ tales…unfinished songs, discontinued books, deleted texts…All this would be remembered: missed opportunities, mislaid friends, the smile of a wife. It would be a place for lost things. –

– He is slightly embarrassed by how much he enjoys weeding words, or pruning back an ellipsis; a poet trapped inside a gardener’s body. –

– Mozart once said that the music is not in the notes, but the pauses in between. –

– How much does paper bend? –

– Jonah has become a witness to his life from a different perspective, his past rewritten by a different author. –

– When all beliefs have been smashed what is left of a man? –


Shrill by Lindy West

31423180.jpg– “Shrill” is a gendered insult: calling a man “shrill” makes as much sense as calling smell “tall.” To be shrill is to reach about your station; to abandon your duty to soothe and please; in short, to be heard. –

– Desexualization is just another form of sexualization. Telling fat women they’re sexless is still putting women in their sexual place. –

– In a certain light, feminisim is just the long, slow realization that the stuff you love hates you. –

– This is just a wacky idea I had, but maybe it’s not a coincidence that, in a country where half the population’s normal reproductive functions are stigmatized, American uterus-and-vagina-havers are still fighting tooth and nail to have those same reproductive systems fully covered by health insurance that we pay for. –

– There is nothing novel or comedic or righteous about men using the threat of sexual violence to control noncompliant women. This is how society has always functioned. Stay indoors, women. Stay safe. Stay quiet. Stay in the kitchen. Stay pregnant. Stay out of the world. If you want to talk about silencing, censorship, placing limits and consequences on speech, this is what it looks like. –

– They’d attempted to demonstrate that comedy, in general, doesn’t have issues with women by threatening to rape and kill me, telling me I’m just bitter because I’m too fat to get raped, and suggesting the debate would have been better if it were Jim raping me. –

– Thanks to Internet trolls, I’m perpetually reminded that the boundary between the civilized world and our worst selves is just an illusion. –