Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Counting my (literary) blessings

I've had a really good year. Yes, it has had its challenges. Working in the education sector was never going to be easy. But it has also been richly rewarding in ways I thought only existed for people who go to India to find themselves. I almost can't believe that in a month from now I'll be starting a whole new adventure, in a completely different sector. Maybe it's the start of this one month's notice that is making me feel the need to take stock...

I got into this introspective mood yesterday when I was talking to Sowetan Education about (among other things) my career and my love for my work. It's sounds weird but I only realised fairly recently how totally nerdy I am. I love books. Not in a superficial, romcom kind of way. It's a weak-at-the-knees, love-of-my-life kind of feeling. I've had it since I was five years old and books have been the only I ever wanted or needed for my sanity. If I could read and write, I was happy. I didn't need other people, I didn't need friends or food or outside. I had books.

I'm meant to be talking at Read Educational Trust's book clubs' forum on Saturday morning. I'm meant to be (again) talking about my career and my love of my work. I'm meant to be talking about 'girl power' and how girls should read. But all I want to talk about are the five books I've read in the last week and a half. That and how I came to need people as much as I need books.

Also: I feel really blessed to have had some awesome people behind me and my work this year. There's no real way to thank them without being chessy because the truth is, they have given me a life of books and that was, honestly, all I ever wanted. I'm going into another long-held dream job now and I'm feeling so so grateful. Not many people get to have all their dreams come true before they're even 25.

Like the saying I've seen on so many Tumblrs goes: you don't find yourself, you make yourself. So today, inspired by Jason from 'The Truth About Forever', I'm making a list of everyone who has helped me make my(professional)self*:

1. Colleen, Ben, Peter and Elinor. No one could ask for better mentors. You're all the but Elinor is honestly one of the kindest, most lovely people I have ever met.
2. Stéphan-Eloïse Gras. She is a kick-ass human being and somehow she conned Institut Francais into buying me a ticket to Brazzaville. Best. Weekend. Ever.
3. Sefi Atta. So much wisdom is such a short space of time.
4. Nangamso Koza, Craig Wattrus, Jayne Southern and Lynn Joffe (!) who have Stéphan-Eloïse levels of faith in me and/ have let me suck them in for hours of debate about the education crisis we're in. So thanks for that.
5. Awesome volunteer super-people who should be paid so much for all they have given to this sector: Dani Favis, Madelein du Toit and Nikki Mcdiarmid. So much love.

I've got to start writing what I've got to say on Saturday. Now that I have procrastinated on the interwebs and felt happy and blessed, and totally forgotten to eat dinner or go to the gym. I've got to start writing but I feel like, if the last year is anything to go by, I'm probably just going to go read instead...

*I have a feeling that friends and family should already know how I feel about them. If they don't, I'm doing so many things wrong with my life.

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