Of Writing, Gardening and Hope

After years of work, of living the story rather than merely writing it, my family saga Where ‘People Still Dance’ is closer to being read by others. Originally, ‘Where People Still Dance’ had the working title of ‘Where People Once Danced’ but the long and sometimes turbulent story of the Craighall’s turned out to have a happier ending than I thought it would, and so ‘Where People Still Dance’ became the title. Whether the saga that involves four generations of the Craighall family, and moves from late Victorian England to present-day Zululand, South Africa is as fully realised as it needs to be is a matter of which I am not entirely sure, but I am confident that the Craighall’s, those living and those no longer with us, will let me know if I have left out anything that still needs to be told. I am sure they will communicate if needs be. My journey with them has been a fascinating and, often, an exhausting one.

At the same time, Craig Carden’s intimate love story ‘What the Sun Saw’ which unravels in Oman, India and England, looks as if it is nearly done. It has its brilliant, happy moments under the sun (and the moon too) but also its deeply sad ones. Has all that needs to be told been told. Craig Carden is not entirely sure and merely says, “We shall see.” In between writing, the garden gets attention. As four of the photos show, winter in KwaZulu-Natal can still be colourful. This large orchid (seen here during the day and at night), the poinsettia, the crassula, and the azalea are all flowering now. The Indian Hawthorne and the amaryllis tend to flower in early summer. In time, may ‘Where People Still Dance’ and ‘What the Sun Saw’ come to bloom just as brightly.  I live and work in hope.

To those of you who write and, indeed, all who create – Happy creating.

Andrew Pender-Smith and Craig Carden


Happy New Year

This is by way of saying ‘Happy New Year’ to everyone, and most especially to all those who visit or follow Green Monkey Publications. May it truly be a creation-filled 2022. From Andrew Pender-Smith, Craig Carden, and Sebastian de Vervet of Green Monkey Publications.

At least two new works, one from Andrew Pender-Smith, and the other from Craig Carden, are due out this year. We will let you know about them later in 2022.

Image credit: Igor Kasalovic on Unsplash Free Images

You Will Follow Us


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

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. 



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

In Poetry


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. 

Between Plots and Characters.


The last time I posted, I talked of gardening being one of my favourite activities when not writing. The photos were of a pink and white amaryllis and an orange one. The white one, pictured above, flowered later. I had five blooms on the end of a rather long stem. Gardening gives me a break from hours of typing to produce a story. It is a great help if I have become too tense about an aspect of my writing and need to stand back for a while. Some of the knowledge I have learnt from gardening, and also as a member of a local horticultural society, has found its way into a few of my stories. 

To those of you who write: Happy writing. 


When I’m Not Writing


I am often asked what I do when I am not writing. One of my favourite occupations is gardening. Bonsai, succulents and orchids give me a break from the story on which I am currently working. Amaryllis also make it onto the list, especially at this time of the year in South Africa. Both the amaryllis pictured have been in our garden for some years. They live in pots and are brought onto the front verandah just after they come into bud.  


COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature

CCM Teaching English

The paperback version of ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ has just been released. I hope you will join me in wishing it well. 

Dear Reader, ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ is full of ideas and examples to help you become a better teacher of English language and literature. It is a ‘How To’ book specifically designed to assist teachers new to teaching this discipline. If you are interested in improving your skills in the creative teaching of literature, grammar, various forms of writing, public speaking, forum discussions, debating, team speaking, visual literacy, media and much more, this book should be of great help. There is special emphasis in ‘COLOUR ME MORE: Teaching English Language and Literature’ on how to use colour to help students learn.

With good wishes,

Andrew Pender-Smith