Eyes, Fish, Writing and Painting

Several paintings, a book cover, and a swirl of tropical fish.

Dear Reader,

Over the years I have had many people ask me why fish appear so often in my poems, short stories, novellas and novels. These include those written under my own name and the two books written under the pseudonym of Craig Carden. A lot of my paintings and drawings include, or wholly involve, fish. Why? The answer lies in my early childhood and involves something my mother did during a time when I was experiencing severe eye problems. Here is the story:

My fascination with fish, often bordering on the fanatic, began as a young child. Between the ages of three and a half and nine, I had to undergo several operations to my eyes. At the conclusion of each operation, my eyes were heavily bandaged. I could not see for about a week after my first operation and for two weeks after the second. Whenever the time came to remove the bandages, I was always filled with a great deal of expectation. Finally, I would be able to see again. It was strange to be looked after in hospital by people who I learned to recognise by voice only. As I lay in the dark, I spent a lot of time imagining what they looked like.

Following my second operation, as was done after the first, the bandages were removed in an almost-dark room so that my eyes, unused to the light for some time, would not hurt. The hospital room had blinds and they were slowly, slowly opened to allow more and more light to filter in. Even though this was all gently done, my eyes felt as if they were being stabbed. The first thing I saw after the bandages were carefully removed, and the blinds were close to half open, was a bowl of colourful fish. They were being held by my mother who had bought and then carried them into the hospital for me. As I got used to looking into the light again and the pain began to subside, I concentrated on the moving colours right in front of me: red, black, orange, blue, silver gently moving in and around brilliant green water weed.

The bowl with the little fish stayed beside my bed until I was ready to be discharged about two days later. They were two guppies and two red wagtail platies, and they made the journey back with me from seaside Durban to rural Zululand, a place of rolling green hills, citrus trees and sugar cane. The car was a station wagon and I lay in the back all the way home. Every hour we needed to pull over so that ointment could be administered to my eyes. We also used this opportunity to check that the fish, placed in a plastic bag for the journey, were okay.

To this day I have never been without fish. My mother had unknowingly begun a lifelong hobby. Today, many, many years later, I have several tanks in my bedroom and the fish are the last things I see when I go to sleep and the first when I wake up.

To those of you who write and paint: happy creating.

Andrew Pender-Smith

You Will Follow Us

sunrise-morgenrot-skies-bird-59967

You Will Follow Us

We are birds in a tree.
Shooting, trapping, pollution
and building have destroyed
most of our kind.

For the moment, those left
sing happily,
but one by one we are going,
going, going…

One day you will not hear us sing
and another sound will be heard –
it will be of the world caving in,
not bit by almost invisible bit,
but with a tired roar,
and you will have followed us into
oblivion.

Andrew Pender-Smith

One of my greatest concerns is of the need to conserve the environment. Those of you who read Green Monkey Publications posts may have read ‘Popping Off’. If you have not yet done so and you would like to read it, you will find the poem by scrolling down. 

 

 

Miss Whoop Whoop! and the Jumping Pumpkin

Miss WW A+ (3)

‘Miss Whoop Whoop! and the Jumping Pumpkin’ by Craig Carden. Set in two of the most buzzworthy nightclubs ever invented, ‘Miss Whoop Whoop! and the Jumping Pumpkin’ is a wild romp of unusual characters, fun and games, and catch-me-if-you-can theft and deception. As the partying goes on, including dancing, gaming, talent contests and much more, a brilliant mind is at work. Someone extremely clever is outwitting the owners of the Jumping Pumpkin and the Ice Castle. Crime after crime takes place and the identity of the thief becomes an increasingly frustrating mystery. Just who is this most bizarre of thieves and how are they managing to crack the club’s security codes?

In reading ‘Miss Whoop Whoop! and the Jumping Pumpkin’ you will find yourself on a mind ride like no other.  See where it takes you. It has also been made available through Draft2Digital to ten other publishing platforms. I hope you can join me and Craig Carden in wishing the story of Miss Whoop Whoop! good fortune.

 

 

 

Finding and Using Your Own Voice

turquise voice

Finding and Using Your Own Voice

The best writers put themselves into their writing. They may learn from other writers, and use what they have learnt, but their best writing comes from within them. This is because they have found and used their own voice. Discovering and using your voice can be difficult but, ultimately, the truer the voice, the better the writing. To those of you who write: the best of writing times to you.

An additional note:

Why this particular image? The photo of the sea and sky taken from high above symbolises freedom and openness. In this instance, it is the freedom to create and to be. This applies to people in the other arts, too.  In finding and using your own voice, you will be at your creative best. You might find it difficult and, at times you may think it impossible, but if you work at it, the reward could well be yours and that of any one who engages with your work.

Happy creating,

Andrew Pender-Smith, Craig Carden and Sebastian de Vervet.

Green Monkey Publications

How Goes it?

How Goes It?

Yo, I’m still swinging here.
I’m still swinging dere.
So, how goes it wid you?
Me, my bro? I’m mighty fine.
Creatively, I still move here
and I still move dere.
An you, my bro? I hope it’s
so with you.
Don’ lose de rhythm of creativity.
Let your imagination go wild.
Let your imagination fly high
like one mighty swinging monkee
over a big banana tree.

Your art won’t happen if you just
sit around.
Get your feet and your behind off
the ground.

Loop-de-loop. Swing by de tail of Art’s
best thing.
That will be you, my bro,
if you let what’s in you grow.

Sebastian de Vervet

It has been a long time since the inimical Sebastian de Vervet wrote a poem for the Green Monkey Publications website. As so often before, he once again encourages individuals to believe in their own creativity and to do something positive with it. Sebastian chose these images to go with the poem because he loves pink and because he thinks those who created the images have more than a flair for creativity. How is the creative in you progressing?

In Poetry

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In poetry I have found many teachers. Yes, I have. Over the years I have read a tremendous amount of poetry. These have included poems from centuries ago to poems recently written. One of the reasons why I have gained as a reader, thinker and communicator is because I have not restricted myself . I have spent years enjoying poetry in different genres dealing with a wide variety of subjects. Reading and discussing poetry has helped me to think better and express myself with greater accuracy. How much reading of poetry are you doing? If you haven’t read many poems, I urge you to start now. You will grow.