Where I left Off!

Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence. Jorge Luis Borges

I’ve been silent about random things. Well, my word for 2020 has led to a number of split exercises. Unfortunately these “splits” are not as graceful as that of a gymnast. I’ll be honest, I resisted the word “expand” at first. Because I suspected it might stretch me in uncomfortable ways. Anyway, hereโ€™s what Iโ€™ve been up to:

1. Refocusing my content

I didn’t decide to refocus my content in order to rank up high in search engines, though that should be the aim, too. But it was to remind myself why I started this blog; to share my poetry initially. This remains my focus, even though I’m not “just [getting] the poems out there” at this point. Then there’s creative nonfiction, which I enjoy writing too.

2. The cleaning job

Towards end of last year, I started a series of Random Things. Even though I enjoyed, it felt haphazard and unfocused. I mean I didn’t even have proper post titles. I had to rethink it a bit and aim for some kind of coherence. So, this is my picking up from where I left off, and focusing on one or related subject(s) per post.

3. Consistency

Consistency remains a stretch. I enjoy interacting with you here, and also visiting and reading my favourite blogs. All this takes time. Therefore random things will be posted randomly and as time permits. But flash memoir will stay in place, i.e. every first Sunday of every month. Mini reviews of books I’ve read or listened to will be posted only where books are sold, even though I’ll continue to share what I’m reading here.

an expansive lake

4. Exploring other forms of storytelling

There are other forms of storytelling I want to explore or develop further. Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted as these (not-so) new explorations take shape.

5. Beyond this blog

One of the ways I’m trying to stretch myself is to tell stories beyond this blog, and to different audiences. This is already in progress…

So, my “unproductive” creative period turned out to be productive, after all. Because a writer is always at work, even when she dusts the bookshelves.

Now I’d love to hear from you. How is your writing or creativity going, more especially in this time of Coronavirus that’s affecting everyone and everything? We are working and studying remotely this side; video/conference calls and online chats are the order of the day.

But more importantly, I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy. Have a restful weekend!

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and blogger. Her blog focuses on poetry and creative nonfiction, and also features poets and their books.

33 Comments

  1. Khaya, I owe you big time and I feel ashamed of not living up to my promise. I really have n;o excuse apart form the fact that I almost always forget to do that write up for you. and when I remember, there is no time. One day soon my dear friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The virus just hit two persons in our country who have tested positive. We are all trying to stay safe. They are actually not Ghanaians. Oh dear!.

  2. Hey Celestine, I totally understand. Please don’t feel ashamed, I know you’ll get to it at some point. And if I’m honest, I’m also behind on some of the things I’ve committed to do. So, no worries at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the virus, it’s hitting hard in certain places than others. But what we can all try to stay healthy, until it comes to an end. No use panicking!

  3. I think your reflections and focusing are important, Khaya. We have to change or we become stale. And that applies to many parts of our lives and interests. Stay healthy, my friend, and keep up the creativity. <3

  4. I wonder what you are working on, creative writing. I had no idea you also write nonfiction. I’d like to read one from your previous blogs, please share a link.

    I’m South Africa today we have 24 people who tested positive for COVID-19. All arrived from Europe 7 positive were part of a group that travelled together to Italy. The rest were individual travellers wrong returned from Europe. One works for my employer. All if them arrived back in March 2020.

    Like Australia, South African epidemiologists claim between 70 – 90% of the citizens will get infected. The challenge is only to make it gradual (phased) so that we don’t all need medical treatment at the same time to avoid straining the health system to our detriment.

    I hope we never get to that.

  5. Khaya, lovely to catch up with you here……Louise Erdrich says that times when we are not writing are like times of gestation……….the words are always there when we come back to them. I am intrigued by your flash memoir every month. I will try to remember to come find you. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Nice to have our paths cross again. Smiles.

  6. Corona virus is shutting down venues large and small here, but we will use the time to get other things done. Nature abhors a vacuum. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi Pale, regarding creative writing, I’m always working on something. ๐Ÿ™‚ Long-term, I’m working on longer works; a novel but the problem I face is that I can’t decide on a genre. So, I’m going slow and playing around with it. Short term, I’m working on poetry for an event in summer. But with Corona affecting everything right now, it’s sort of in a limbo.

    As for no idea that I write nonfiction. I hardly have any piece of fiction in this blog. That is the quote,
    โ€œAll art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.โ€ is largely true for my writing.

    To clarify further, I don’t share nonfiction writings in this blog. But rather, I write creative nonfiction. And creative non๏ฌction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these…” You can read more about creative nonfiction from this article, https://www.creativenonfiction.org/online-reading/what-creative-nonfiction, by Lee Gutkin.

    As for Corona, it’s wreaking havoc all over. We can only hope it will pass, in due course. Stay safe and healthy! <3

  8. Hi Sherry, so lovely of you to pop by. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like these wise words by Erdrich, they are reassuring. I’ll certainly remember them, when I hit another writing funk. Thank you for sharing them. As for flash memoir, it’s a continuation, really, of what I’ve been contributing in the past months to Writers’ Pantry.

    Yes, I’m happy too our paths crossed again, the blog-sphere is so wide and it’s easy to lose touch with one another. But I’ve bookmarked your blog so I can keep up with your beautiful and environmentally-conscious nature poems. Be well!

  9. That’s so true Lavinia, we’ll use the time getting other things done or at least, come up with creative ways to do the old in new ways. Stay healthy!

  10. I understand the need for focus, for wanting to keep our ink and living in a shape we recognize (and, perhaps, planned). I understand it because I’ve been struggling with the same–the batter hasn’t been easy for me. I know what I need to do, but… I seem to always end up doing something else. The muse has been rather flighty around these parts. I hope you find a comfortable state (then, I shall try to get there by reading-Khaya-osmosis. All right, I will work at it, too. But working at it is so much more interesting with a friend.

  11. Oh, and I got all excited when I read about your flash memoir idea. Because I’ve been thinking about the same thing. And (my) creativity likes company!

  12. “I know what I need to do, butโ€ฆI seem to always end up doing something else.” Ending up doing something else, I think it’s a good thing too, Maga. Because at least, I hope whatever wasn’t planned serves as a nudge to develop something new or old in that direction.

    As for the muse, it is as fickle as weather. Sometimes all we can do is wait. In fact, one wise writer I’m reading right now puts it well, “I have to hold space for my words to find new climbing trellises.” So, as I fret with my own poetry writing funk, I find these words helpful. And on that note my friend, we shall intentionally hold space for words to be given. ๐Ÿ™‚ I suspect the “Armageddon” might put the unfaithful muse to shame!

  13. My whole family is home. Both kids are doing remote learning and my husband and I work for a company that has lots of experience with employees working from home regularly (LOL, I’m typically work from home). I’m not sure how much writing I’ll be able to get done, but I certainly will try.

  14. Same here; working from home and having video chats/meetings left and right. And all the best with your creative writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Tell you what – you forgot to mention the contributions you are making over at our new SWW Magazine – and, I thank you so much for helping us!
    I have often mentioned the need for our new magazine to showcase poetry, short fiction and creative writing and you have blessed us with your unique creativity! Thanks!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  16. Hi Khaya, I’m so glad I stopped by today as I can relate to what you’re saying here. Refocusing, streamlining, and boundary-making have become my top priorities. Consistency while it used to rank much higher, in order for me to remain kind to myself I had to lower my expectations in this area. I think posts like this one helps many others as we as a community can admit our vulnerabilities versus the illusion that we have everything under control. If this pandemic is teaching us anything it’s that we need to step back, our survival may depend on it. Be well my friend!

  17. Hi Vossie! I haven’t forgotten about SWW Magazine. How could I! ๐Ÿ˜€ A post is coming regarding this, in due course. And many thanks to you for inviting me to be part of this wonderful initiative, I’m humbled and honoured.

  18. Thanks Khaya… you have just put a big fat smile on my face!! It is we that are honoured with all great folk who are part of the fun!
    ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  19. Hi Steph, I’m glad too you stopped by. Because actually, my refocusing was partly inspired by your 2020 A Year of Vision campaign. I like (and admire) that your mission and values are so clear for the outstanding work you do.

    I absolutely agree with you about lowering expectations. There is no way, with everything else I do, that I can blog more often than I do now. So, I’ve made peace with rankings. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head with admitting our vulnerabilities. Most times in this online space things tend to come up across as orderly and perfect, which in reality we can’t say they are. Because it’s only a fraction that we see. This is one of the reasons I take long breaks from social media, it’s easy to feel inadequate.

    And certainly the uncertainty that has come with this pandemic has forced me to step back and be more present in the moment. Stay healthy my friend! <3

  20. Well, I was starting 2020 with a new refocused plan for my studio… but life wasn’t working the way I wanted, and NOW this pandemic thing (where I’m spending a lot of time yelling at various family members for being stupid. Everyone else talks about having more time at home, but since I work at home I have LESS time, and I’m not even sure how that happened?!) I tried to stay with my normal art, and finally threw in the towel and started sketching out a new piece tonight involving plague/poppies/ravens/swallows… because it’s where my brain is at. So, it’s jerked my art in a different direction. We will see what happens!

  21. Hello Kyra, so glad to see you around! I can certainly see where you’re coming from with working from home and having less time to do so, now that everyone is at home. If it’s any comfort, ALL plans are messed up. And I can tell you (even without kids) this new way of working remotely and online, basically having meeting after meeting, notifications left and right from the phone, email and whatever else, is stressful. From time to time, I shut it ALL down and curl up with a book or go wander outside.

    But I’m happy to hear that you have accepted what is, and you’re now going with the flow. I believe it is a good thing too, to go (work on something different) where our minds and hearts pull us to as it might help channel all that anxiety, while fuelling a new creation. I’m looking forward to see the end result of your sketching.

    Be safe, and stay kind to yourself!

  22. You sound so disciplined and intentional! I’m not doing much writing these days. Trying to come back to it but much to catch up with in my personal life after getting the usual winter illnesses. Plus, trying to get around to other blogs.
    But I like to think that reading and thinking are also part of the writing endeavour, so you could say i’m doing prep work. Stay safe!

  23. Khaya, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m very thankful for you and other like minded people who are working to be our best selves while taking a stand against being cookie cutter people who feel the need to be perfect. Admitting my vulnerabilities has actually been one of the most freeing things I’ve done. And working to be more mindful is a constant practice that I’d like to think is helping me become a better person. Part of me thinks this pandemic is teaching us to stop, appreciate and enjoy the moment.

    You be safe to my friend.โค

  24. It’s so important to do a bit of housecleaning and re-focus! As for me, at first I couldn’t decide if I wanted to continue with what I’d been writing. It seems so insignificant considering corona; however, I had to remind myself that this is how we box ourselves in. Corona virus is important, but so is whatever else I want to express.

    Glad to see you back with us and looking forward to all of your works <3

  25. So true about writers always being at work. I’ve personally found that to be the case, as well. And glad to hear you’ve been so productive! Especially intrigued by your exploration of other storytelling forms. Best of luck with everything!

  26. THANK YOU so much Kathy for mentioning this, ” …considering corona; however, I had to remind myself that this is how we box ourselves in.” I’ve been pondering this “boxing” a lot since the outbreak of this pandemic. And basically wondering if it’s burying head in sand, if I don’t write about the current events, as everyone seems to be doing so. In the end, I decided to carry on with other stories I want to write or tell.

    Anyway, I’m still journalling my everyday struggles to keep afloat. Because Corona is important too, and has made me question things, as writers often do. So, behind the scenes I’m also working on my Why List. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Be safe! <3

Do leave a trace!

%d bloggers like this: