Recovery

I am reading Russel Brand’s new book Recovery and I am struck by a few things already:

  • Brand is smart – super smart and articulate
  • Recovery is a word full of meaning and depth I did not recognise before reading the book
  • My life is full of addictions
  • Spirituality needs to be understood consciously and explicitly in one’s life

It has given me food for thought and for writing. It has already made me want to change my life.

Books

I just completed J M Coetzee’s Disgrace. On to the next one. I haven’t finished this many books since high school.

Read 10 minutes each night before sleep and you finish books! It’s a rad discovery.

J. M. Coetzee and Moving to Cape Town

Like pulling a massive tree out of the soil, a move of country and city is especially hard once you are older and grown up. The roots are longer, the trunk less flexible. The uncertainty is greater and the relocation more scarring.

One thing I was worried about when I moved to Cape Town was leaving the culture, the art, the vibrancy of our lives in Sydney, Australia. Living in Africa can feel like living in the past and in the outback at times, with outdated technology and infrastructure. Less trendy, less options.

At least, that’s what I thought.

The truth is, South Africa is as vibrant a place you could hope for – its present and its history are full of stories. The Silicon Cape initiative is thriving.

What makes me especially happy is that great authors have written stories set just down the road from me. I love relating to art on many levels, and one of the best relationships to have with a book is an intimate understanding of the geography. Much of “Disgrace” is set in Cape Town and in areas of South Africa I have seen with my own eyes. I am a quarter of the way through and loving it so far. So far the protagonist is an unlikable man, but his predicament is fascinating.

I think I will stay in Cape Town a while longer. At least to finish this book!

Family and the self

If you do something over and over not only do you get good at it, you start to expect it to happen and so do those around you.

Family is a beautiful thing, but starting one inevitably sucks your time and energy away from individual pursuits. I have to be careful here because I love my child and my wife and I love spending time with them…. but if I am not mindful of my time, I devote every second of the day to them and that is not healthy for things like creativity, relaxation, pursuing dreams.

So I have to start new habits and feed them into my family dominated routine drip by drip. I am now reading a book of my choice, just a little each night. I take time each night for myself and holy moly what a difference. I read better and then I sleep better. Not only that, but I can feel myself getting better at reading. The words fly off the pages and I reach that “zone” where I don’t notice the outside world much quicker than I used to.

All of this is probably for nothing as we are expecting another child soon – but til then I am enjoying regaining some of my lost time and reading some more good stuff.

Dune final thoughts

So I finally finished Dune – the sci-fi classic which has clearly influenced the likes of Game Of Thrones and most other popular sci-fi stories since. I had two final thoughts on why it is so impressive and resilient to this day as a gripping sci-fi story.

First – The characters are super, but the world in which they inhabit is the real star of the show. A character on its own merit, Arrakis dominates any event in the book. Just as ‘winter is coming’ in GOT, the extreme weather and awesome beauty of the desert planet is what the main characters have to come to terms with to fulfill their destiny. Though it is a completely different sort of novel, I am seeing a similar strong focus on setting and location in the book i am currently reading: “The Knowledge” By Steven Pressfield.

The impressive depth of the cultures, languages and religions created by the author in Dune are second to only Lord of The Rings in my experience. I marvel at the time this and dedication this must have taken from Frank Herbert. It gives the story authenticity and reflects back to the reader our own clan like behaviour and superstitions here on earth.

Dune is magnificent. Well worth the read and the reputation it has gathered.

A great reading list

In case you missed it – check out this excellent website dedicated to all of Seth Godin’s book recommendations over the last decade (hint – he makes great recommendations!)

As a Godin junkie, this is incredible. I am just getting used to my re-found Kindle too, so this is perfect timing!

I enjoy particularly the filtering options. So useful and makes the whole site more manageable.