The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin

34964905~I didn’t even realize they had executed Wayne Ritter until I smelled his burned flesh.~

~And with that laughter, I realized that the State of Alabama could steal my future and my freedom, but they couldn’t steal my soul or my humanity…Everything, I realized, is a choice. And spending your days waiting to die is no way to live.~

~Anyone who had something of value ordered from commissary or left over from a meal passed it one to the other until it reached Henry. Nobody took it for himself. Nobody interrupted the chain of comfort as it wound its way up and down and around the row until it reached Henry.
We all knew grief.
We all knew sorrow.
We all knew what it was like to be alone.
And we all were beginning to learn that you can make a family out of anyone.~

~Some nights are just made for crying.~

~It’s hard not to wrap your life in a story – a story that has a beginning, and middle, and an end. A story that has logic and purpose and a bigger reason for why things turned out the way they did. I look for purpose in losing thirty years of my life. I try to make meaning out of something so wrong and so senseless…Every single one of us wants to matter. We want our lives and our stories and the choices we made or didn’t make to matter. Death row taught me that it all matters.~


Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble

36360073.jpg~It would be fair, at this point, to describe her relationship with Bernard [the Christmas turkey] as a love/hate one. She felt sure the feeling would be mutual, if Bernard didn’t currently have an onion in the cavity where his heart had once been. She’d certainly had more physical contact with Bernard than with anyone or anything else in the last twenty-four hours.~

~’You don’t think, my darling, that this is a bit more about you?~
[He] always looked pleased with himself when he said things like this – like he’d figured out something clever. Clever, insightful, emotionally continent [man]. She’d like to punch him in the face. The frustration of being misunderstood washed over her.~

~You can’t marry someone to be polite.~

~But she’d gone to Pilates this morning entirely voluntarily. It was much better than Zumba. Alone, unprompted with no one nagging her. Okay, so she’d chosen a pitch right at the back of the hall, and okay, so she’d lied through clenched teeth to the willowy instructor and said she could ‘feel it’ in her ‘inner corset’, which meant she was doing it properly. She was more of an outer-corset Spanx girl, and hadn’t felt all that much except stiff, and slightly anxious about the possibility of pubic farting. But it was a start.~

~”I’m quite homeless. I’m sad, lots of the time. I’m a bit of a mess, frankly. Most of the time you find me snotty and weepy…’
‘Wow. You should definitely not write up your own Tinder profile.’

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson

36114409.jpg~The earliest psychiatric hospital was in the Islamic world, built in Baghdad in 805 AD. These early hospitals were forbidden by law to turn away patients who were unable to pay for care.~

~[The teen] looks at the X-ray the doctor holds up, showing the size of her heart taking up too much space. She will not live. ‘I have too much heart?’ she asks.~

~There is a danger of forgetting what nursing is, what it means: the importance of providing care.~

~Domestic violence is the leading cause of death in Europe of women aged eighteen to forty-four, ahead of road traffic accidents; ahead of cancer.~

~After both world wars, plenty of soldiers were treated for shell shock – that is, post traumatic stress disorder. But nurses working in the war zones were not. Research about the mental-health impact of war has always been about the men, despite hundreds of women working as nurses, next to the soldiers.~

~We are taught, via the media, to be afraid of strangers. That strangers hurt and abuse children. My nursing has taught me something else: it is families who abuse their children, who kill them. Parents. Caregivers. Relatives. The people we should trust the most.~

~’Adoption is devastating, however you dress is up;’ a friend tells me. She was adopted forty years ago. ‘Helping a child is not saving a child. It is accepting that a child might not ever be saved, then loving them unconditionally anyway.’~

Writ in Water by Tiah Marie Beautement

Writ in Water, my latest short story for FunDza is live.


Chapter 1:

As the three suns crested the horizon, Nonzame woke at a gush of water. The liquid came from her loins, soaking the sheets, causing Lukaya to stir. She had to help him into his wheelchair before she could remake the bed. It wasn’t until she smoothed the sheets flat, that the tears began to fall.

“Come, my wife,” Lukaya said. He opened his arms, and she curled up in his lap. He stroked her braids, whispering words of love and comfort. The couple stayed that way until the suns had fully emerged.

The midwife was sent for and arrived an hour before Nonzame was due at school. The hunched woman examined her patient with a gentle touch. “I am sorry, my dear,” she said, “but your baby is gone.”

Nonzame sucked her teeth. “Gone where?” She fetched the soiled sheets. “Look, not a drop of blood. The child must be inside me.”

The midwife clucked, and shook her head. “Look at your belly. It has gone as flat as a virgin’s on her wedding night.”

A low moan escaped Nonzame.

Outside, on the porch, Lukaya winced. But when the workers on his farm looked his way, he waved them off. His and Nonzame’s pain wasn’t something that needed to be shared beyond the walls of their home.

Inside, the midwife hugged the grieving woman, rocking her to and fro. As the cries quieted, Nonzame whispered, “How?”

“Every decade, when the three suns appear as one, there is a risk to the children who dwell in their mother’s womb. Nobody knows where these babies go; we only know they are gone.”

Click HERE to Read Chapter 2

Sala Kahle, District Six by Nomvuyo Ngcelwane

-Sala-Kahle,-District-Six.jpg~It is seldom if ever acknowledged that Africans, too, used to live in District Six. People only know of the experiences of their former coloured neighbours.~

~We discovered quite a lot of things during story-time. In the lane next to No.22 we sometimes picked up what we thought were balloons. To our surprise we noticed that any adult who saw us play with these “balloons” would scream, “Throw that filthy stuff away! Immediately.”~

~Mzwandile was the very first black policeman in the area. This caused quite a stir. The coloured neighbours were amazed when they saw him in police uniform for the first time…They did not believe it possible that a black policeman could arrest a coloured person. This had never happened before.~

~Any adult who caught a child doing something wrong had a duty to perform–that of punishing the child on the spot and later reporting the incident to the parents. There was this belief that punishment immediately after an offence had more meaning that shelving it for later.~

~My mother and I scrambled into the lorry. Layton was going by bus. I sat squeezed in next to the window, waving at my friends as the lorry slowly moved down Richmond Street. With tears in my eyes I took a last glimpse at No. 22 Cross Street as we turned into Stuckeris Street.
“Sala Kahle, District Six,” I whispered.~

The Hum Of The Sun by Kirsten Miller

39863162~Within dreams we awaken, and in our waking we dream.~

~The longer you live, the less you expect things to happen the way you want them to.~

~Out here there was darkness, deep enough to contains such sounds, and the intensity of his own restless experience. Here, the air bubbled, big enough to carry his laughter with it. Here, his insides expanded endlessly, like the pacing, the walking, the surface of the earth that continued large and wide. Out here, he became a part of forever.~

~When the wind blew and pushed dirty foam inshore, Ash said it was the dried blood of old sailors grown light, blowing in on the wind.~

~His brother’s body was there, but he didn’t know where to find him.~

~The stars were never late. They had been visiting him, reliably, since the start of his life.~

~He learned that if things ceased to exist, he would remain in the space between, where the only sound was the hum of the sun.~

~Working for someone is like playing a game, and always letting that person win.~

~It’s bad luck to interrupt a man’s dreams. It leaves things unfinished. Half-formed.~

Book Bite for the Sunday Times:

Hunted by Fiona Snyckers

31959573_10157896043478636_1628233062670139392_n.jpg~Some people were good at hunting, or fishing, or baking. Eulalie was good at sensing danger.~

~He wants to be your cat.~

~In the beginning, you managed to maintain a level of dignity. You kept your complaints to yourself. Read men don’t whine. But that didn’t last long.~

~Only one thing interested her now, and that was saving the forest she loved and the people who lived there.~


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

27161156.jpg~This book is about…what goes on in the lives of real people when the industrial economy goes south. It’s about reacting to bad circumstances in the worst ways possible. It’s about a culture that increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it.~

~I have known many welfare queens; some were my neighbours, and all were white.~

~Hillbillies have a phrase–to describe those who think they’re better than the stock they came from.~

~[His grandmother on the era when she was a mother to young children]: “Women were just shit on all the time.”~

~People talk about hard work all the time in places like Middletown. You can walk through a town where 30 percent of the young men work fewer than twenty hours a week and find not a single person aware of his own laziness.~

~Mamaw apparently understood what would take me another twenty years to learn: that social class in America isn’t just about money.~

~Drug addiction was a disease, and just as I wouldn’t judge a cancer patient for a tumour, so I shouldn’t judge a narcotics addict for her behaviour. At thirteen, I found this patently absurd, and Mom and I often argued over whether her newfound wisdom was scientific truth or an excuse for people whose decisions destroyed a family. Oddly enough, its probably both: Research does reveal a genetic disposition to substance abuse, but those who believe their addiction is a disease show less of an inclination to resist it. Mom was telling herself the truth, but the truth was not setting her free.~

~The networks of people and institutions around us have a real economic value. They connect us to the right people, ensure that we have opportunities, and impart valuable information. Without them, we’re going it alone.~


The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa

36372566.jpg~People don’t understand that when your physical attributes are the most exceptional things about you, the sun orbits around your world, instead of the other way around.~

~Malcolm Gladwell said that if you spend 10 000 hours honing a skill, if you practise incessantly at it, you are more likely to be champion in that field. I’ve been charming the pants off people since the day I was born.~

~On thing that you can’t afford if you’re in this game is to drink too much. Aside from losing your looks, men will make a fool of you and take advantage of you, so always keep your eyes wide open…so you can keep your legs open at your own discretion.~

~I feel it’s part of my patriotic duty to always reflect an upbeat lifestyle and outlook.~

~Depression is often called the Black Dog because it’s always lurking in the shadows just out of sight, growling, vaguely menacing, sinister, dark and unpredictable. Lesilio – remember that character in the old SABC series? The zombie-like one who used to unleash his rath on the living? That’s depression.~

Heroines by Kate Zambreno

15893653.jpg~I am realizing you become a wife, despite the mutual attempt at an egalitarian partnership, once you agree to move for him. You are placed into the feminine role–you play the pawn.~

~It is like you have two selves. And you have no memory of the other self. You can be withholding, cold. You can be nurturing, supportive. I have two selves too. The me that lectures women on literature where husbands oppress their wives, and the me that secretly lives that life.~

~A definition, I think, of being oppressed is being forbidden to externalize any anger.

I am beginning to realize that the patriarch decides on the form of communication. Decides on the language. The patriarch is the one who rewrites.~

~To be a woman, perhaps, is always to be a foreigner.~

~Sometimes it seems impossible to be real friends with other women writers, we are all such trainwrecks, messes, it seems, but sometimes it seems impossible to be real friends with other women who do not identify primarily as writers. Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf: We spoke of silence.~

~Even if women in traditional roles in this era could rebel against their schooled selves, trained to experience shame and guilt for going outside of bounds, like Zelda arguably did, for a time, they couldn’t escape society, in the form of their husband, the doctors, their mothers. They couldn’t escape judgement and discipline.~

~ Perhaps the goal is not to be the next Great American (Male) Novelist. This is perhaps closed to us anyway. The point, perhaps, is to write–by god to write–to write and refuse erasure while we’re living at least–and to use up all the channels possible through which to scream, to sing, to singe. All of these things. To write because we desire to, because we need to–and to refuse to be ignored. Or stopped.~