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Welcome to Even Butterflies Think

Hey! Welcome to Even Butterflies Think.  I'm Jazz, an avid book reader and one of the lucky people in the world working in my ideal ca...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

What happened to good old pen and paper?

WARNING: This may come over as a bit of a rant, and is probably not that well written. Maybe I am just weird and possibly the only person who even thinks the topic is worth writing about, so be forewarned.

I sit here this morning recovering from a splitting headache. I spent the whole of yesterday evening suffering because of the throbbing, stiffening pain behind my eyes. It would appear that I have to get another screen filter because all this computer usage is really destroying my eyes. And as I suffered yesterday, I asked myself, what happened to the good old days of pen and paper??

Increasingly we are giving our lives over to screens. It almost seems normal now to type everything as opposed to write it, but that is not where it stops. As a result of us having transferred all our writing, and everything else in our lives, to the screens, we now even prefer our literature on a screen, as eBooks and eReaders like Kindle and the iPad take over the reading experience, sales soaring. One may think it strange that someone of my age would not be strongly behind all these technological advances; well in fact I am. I can't deny that an eReader would have been much more pleasant than the burden of 2 bags full of books and notepads that I lugged around daily to college and then to university; yes, technology has its place and its uses. What worries me is my younger cousin and his generation with terrible handwriting and atrocious spelling who don't seem to care much because they do everything by computer anyway.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Review - King of Tuzla by Arnold Jansen op de Haar

King of Tuzla, by Arnold Jansen op de Haar, is the tale of Tijmen Klein Gildekamp, a soldier with the UN sent on an aide mission to Bosnia. It describes Tijmen’s physical and psychological journey through the former Yugoslavia, as well as showing snippets of the lives of others who Tijmen and his comrades pass along the way. It is told with the silent, humble authority of an author who has firsthand knowledge and experience of the scenes he has chosen to describe.

The novel is divided into five sections. The first three sections have Tijmen as an active soldier, awaiting and then partaking in his duties. The final two serve as a reflection of his final months in Bosnia after his return to his homeland in the Netherlands.

In the first section Tijmen is with a reconnaissance team in Bosnia awaiting a definitive mission, and we are intriduced to the sitation on Bosnia. Not only are the feelings of frustration and concern of the soldiers displayed, but also we are given glimpses of the civilians of both sides of the conflicts, of how their lives have changed, in the first of what I have coined the digressions. In various points throughout the novel the author jumps from the main characters, Tijmen and the soldiers, to other characters, to the inhabitants affected by the war. Starting with Galib Prolaz the Yugoslav, throughout the novel we briefly glimpse the lives of Lucia, Jasmina, Vlado Duric, Lazar Zekic, Ejup Delalic, and Hadija Ibrahimovic, real people on both sides of the conflict; real experiences that are not sensationalised nor glorified. We are allowed a glimpse into how it felt to be a soldier and a civilian in that war.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

What Makes a Good Writer/Blogger/Reviewer?

I love to write. I wish I could make that sound more exciting, but that is the plain and simple truth: I like writing. Reading and writing have been my true loves since forever; I cannot get enough of it. However, I have come to realise that loving something doesn’t necessarily mean you will be any good at it, even if you have been doing it your whole life.

So here is my dilemma, anything academic is a walk in the park for me. With my essays, research projects all that stuff, through school, college and university, I have had no problem making a decent impression on my readers. I know how to put something down on paper elegantly, how to make it have the desired effect, and this has led me into proofreading work also. All is fine and well until it comes to my own non-academic, creative writing and then it all just falls apart. I have so many really great ideas that have such potential, but when I am at the stage where it just needs a tweak to be perfect I draw a blank and I am not able to make that poem or story jump from pretty good with potential to really great. Perhaps I need the stress of a deadline, or the restrictions of a word limit to bring out the best in me.