I did it. I cracked it. 50,000 words from some of the most bizarre places in my warped and rather more then ghoulish brain. Thank you so much for all your support and sweet praise and encouragement through it all!
In fact I still have two or three plot holes to fill in, a bit of back story and the spell checking alone will take several weeks. I also ended up with a Pentecostal Liberian Vodun cult and need to double check all my research and ensure that it doesn’t paint all West African forms of Vodun as Angel heart meets Bond’s Live and Let Die. Oooeee ( I am stretching – that noise is my back unknotting.)
I am going to edit and get it ready for the Amazon break out novel competition that the wonderful Susan from Stony River Farm (see blog panel..sorry have yet to figure out the linking thing) mentioned a few days back. If no joy then I’ll look into self publishing for any of you who might want a read.
In the gorgeous Times of Miranda’s blog (see side panel..sorry sorry) there are pictures of a rescued baby puku antelope that she, the marvellous Miranda and her family are trying to keep alive. It reminded me of my first experience of being close to such a beautiful animal.
My uncle was a game ranger in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in the 70’s and 80’s. He was a tough, strict, excessively bearded , silent man married to my mother’s sister . I was scared of him but at the same time I was fascinated that he was a game ranger. I thought that being with wild animals was the most romantic and fabulous profession that any person could possibly want. (I also was convinced I would one day be able to speak with all animals… at that age..I think I must have been 6..I was utterly convinced of this. And to be truthful I am still hopeful)
Our visits from Zambia to see relatives in Rhodesia were however usually tense and to us kids dull and difficult. I remember spending a great deal of time with nothing to read and nothing to play with and the adults miserable and aggressive. My mum and dad were intellectual, artistic and liberal; my father Jewish, my mother labelled a ‘kaffir butee’ a ‘black lover’, living in the freshly independent Zambia chock full of communists and hippies (hippos too actually). My aunt and uncle found them pretentious and unrealistic and didn’t hide the fact. My uncle was a ‘man’s man’ which even as a child I recognised as an excuse to be a bit of a bully but most of the time he just was ‘out’ of the house working in the veld.
And then on this one trip he bought back to the house a young kudu they had rescued. When he realised I was falling over myself to help he looked at me, head on one side and then did something so kind I still can feel the lift in my heart when I remember… he allowed me to feed the calf potato peelings from the kitchen.
It was so beautiful, it was sooooo beautiful.
Unfortunately I cried when the rangers grabbed it all long limbed and wide eyed in terror. They had to tag it’s ear before it went back into the wild but I didn’t understand and no one explained. I thought they were hurting it. My tears signalled weakness and my feeding duties ended but my dad managed to snap these two photos of me at a moment of immense joy.
Its strange to think that they were younger, my parents and my aunt and uncle, then I am today and the world was a different place especially in a volatile, emerging Africa.
I don’t remember much happiness on these family trips but this hippie chick will never forget the kudu.