Tag Archive: Valerie Anderson


So one of my new favourite virtual [for now] friends, Dante, whose incredible Micropoetry can be found over at Original Dante, challenged me to a duel [well kinda, cos he already pulled his trigger in his own fight] which i had already kinda done in someone’s comment section, but there is no verifiable proof, so i decided to take him up on it…

OD is the reason i got interested in, and brave enough to try, Micropoetry and even though i still suspect my Micropoems are not short enough, they are WAAAY shorter than my regular poems [and getting there] so hopefully there is hope [ha ha, yes that!]. so how could i resist? And he already has a way too ridiculously nice nickname for me which also helps me to believe…

Step Away From The ‘E’

And the Rules to this No-Letter-That-Precedes-F-Or-Follow-D challenge are these:

The rules:

  1. Write a whole paragraph.
  2. Without any word containing the letter “e”.
  3. By reading this you are already signed up.
  4. Challenge at least five bloggers to do the challenge.

You should totally jump across the virtualness of space and go and check out OD’s submission, which was flawless.

But in the m antim , h r  is min :

Staring at cracks on a part of my wall I had not paid much mind to until this occasion, I thought about how much intoxication it might bring to a tiny ant, struggling to carry a biscuit crumb across its cliff-like contours. What quantity of obstruction would it vanquish or would this straightforward [from my outlook] provocation snap its will in two? In an instant though, I was shown that my lack of faith in my microscopic companion was without foundation, as it [I could not confirm if this was a boy or girl at this point] took aim and simply slid down a portion of flaking paint that I had hardly known was an option. As I was busy watching all this, my mug of Chai had grown significantly cold.

i would love to see the following people give it a try, just because i know they will totally own the challenge:

Megan Furniss

Dave Luis

Catherine Jenkin

Nick Frost

Valerie Anderson aka tbV

And she is probably way too busy for this nonsense but i would love to read the piece Jamie The Very Worst Missionary comes up with, and since she missed my book launch recently, i’m sure that this would be about fair, right?

Apologies If you’ve already been nominated before, otherwise If you haven’t, I hope you accept. Looking forward to reading your posts!

My lovely wife Val was of course the hostess for Friday's dinner and deep dive into Race, Boundary and Location conversation that i wrote about over here, and she shares some of her thoughts from the evening:

booklaunchvovotelohotwoman
The idea is simple: gather good people around good food and good discussion and see what happens. So we did. We turned off technology and tuned in to people. It was messy and it was chaotic, it was painful and it was personal and it was powerful. It was raw and it was redemptive. Some of us ate spaghetti with a spoon cos we ran out of cutlery. We sat on the floor and on stools and really close to each other – three people thigh to thigh on a chair made for two. We talked and told stories, argued and challenged, wrestled and sat in silence – the good kind and the uncomfortable kind. We left with heads and hearts aching, but full.

Here’s some of what I learnt:

1. White privilege is less about access to “stuff” and more about access to choices or, in Sen’s theorizing, capabilities – the real opportunities of being and doing available to attain well-being. Here’s an example: consider a priest who is fasting and a man in a famine-stricken country who is starving. The key element in determining a person’s well-being here is not whether both are experiencing hunger, but whether the person has access to food and is choosing not to eat. The functioning is starving but the capability to obtain an adequate amount of food is the key element in evaluating well-being between these two individuals. Having a lifestyle is not the same as choosing it; well-being depends on how that lifestyle came to be.

Here’s another example. Consider a bike as a commodity which enables the functioning of mobility. Personal, social and environmental conversion factors impact an individual’s ability to convert the commodity (the bike) into functioning (getting from A to B).  If a person is physically disabled, never learnt to ride a bike, if women are not allowed to ride bikes, or if there are no roads, then a person’s capacity to convert the potential of the bike into movement is limited. It’s not enough to give someone a bike if they don’t have the ability, the capacity, the enabling conditions to ride it in a way that moves them forward (or if they don’t have access to a pump, if they cannot take the bike out without being physically threatened by a mugging, etc)

2. In a post-industrial/post-agricultural world, we believe that we too are living in the Information Age, where the primary means of production is Knowledge and the accumulation of knowledge (i.e. education) is the means by which individuals access livelihood, opportunity, resource, jobs etc. I simply don’t believe this is true in South Africa. I wonder if perhaps we are actually in the Age of Connection. Knowledge might be power, but it’s less about what you know and more about who you know. The primary means of production might be Social Capital – the contacts and connections which enable us to network, navigate and negotiate the economic landscape. Perhaps education is the capability, but the functioning is all about social capital – it’s the people we know, the professional contacts, the personal networks that enable us to actualize opportunity. White privilege is at its core all about social capital.

3. While I can sympathize with the pain and anger of black friends, I don’t think I can actually empathize. I can show compassion for, seek to understand, commiserate with, experience anger on behalf of but I can never really experience “from within another’s frame of reference”. As one of our guests so rightly pointed out “We do not and cannot experience EQUAL frustration. You had a choice.”

4. I need to shut up more. Perhaps one of our greatest failings as white people in South Africa is our inability to sit in silence. When we listen to the voices of our black brothers/sisters expressing pain, anger, frustration, or simply sharing their experience, we want to immediately question, clarify, push-back, argue, dissect, debate, wrestle, show the other side, point out the discrepancies or inconsistencies, locate within the “larger picture”, propose solutions, and find “action steps”. We don’t know how to sit – just SIT – with a rage that fills a room, sucks all the air from it, and leaves our friends shaking. We have ears but do not hear, and eyes but do not see.

5. Reconciliation is not the path towards Justice but rather Justice is the path towards Reconciliation. Until and unless Justice has been enacted we can not experience right relationship. (Thanks, Nkosi!)

[To read more reflections from the other guests, click here]

[For more from tbV, like this piece explaining her tattoo, click here]

Well, today is book launch day.

realbooks

This has been a long time coming. And then suddenly over the last few months and then especially the last four weeks, someone cranked up the speed and there was a loud WHOOSH and now it is here.

And tonite i will get to celebrate with largely friends and family [and perhaps some new friends i haven’t met yet]

Today is not really the moment-of-truth day – people who love you will buy and read your book. That’s the easy part. It’s getting people who don’t know you and love you to decide that they want to read your book that is the real challenge.

But tonight is largely about celebrating, and it feels in some way like the build up to a wedding – far too many people i want to get to hang with [Dreadlock Mike is coming! All the way from Durban! Super stoked!] all in a room for far too short a time and probably just enough time for a lot of hugs. And some reflection and sharing and introducing my ‘baby’ to the room.

In a room full of legends tonight, four people stand out for special mention in terms of helping get this ‘baby’ happening:

Kirsten Sims: My old friend, who is not actually old, jumped in during one of the most busiest thesis-finishing degree-completing times of her life to produce this more than incredible book cover which people are in love with and which really just adds some heart and soul and simplicity [which is what the book is all about] to ‘i, church’ – i cannot thank her enough but you can take a look at her site and some more of her incredible artwork and show all your friends: http://kirstensims.blogspot.com

Linda Martindale: An older friend in terms of how long i have known her, Linda was one of the two women [Heather Bailey in the UK who i know would be here if she could] who said to me, “Let’s do this thing!” and actually meant it. Linda is one of the most passionate and authentic people i know, with a huge heart for reconciliation and kingdom and without her jumping in i don’t know how this whole process would have gotten started. She has edited me for many years for Closer to God publications and did a final read through and helped catch a lot of stuff as we got closer to B day.

Susan Minne [nee Anderson]: It is such a bonus for me to have my older secret sister [as in most of my friends in Cape Town knew my younger sister Dawn growing up, but Sue left early and was often a cause for “Oh, i didn’t know you had an older sister” when i mentioned her] at the book launch during her short visit from Texas where she and her family live. Sue jumped in at close to the last minute, when a proofreader pulled out, to help with the final edit and proofread and after a speed course in ‘Understanding Fishwrite’ where she learnt the difference between intentional and unintentional mauling of the English language, she dived in and worked some hard and quick hours to make the book you are going to read a lot better and tighter than the one i gave her.

Finally, and by no means leastly, tbV, the beautiful Val, my wife and life companion who was insistent on creating space for me both before we left for Americaland and since coming back to get this thing finished and out there. She has also largely been the driving force for how tonight is going to look and feel and i am very excited to see and experience all of that. i love that i have a wife that thinks about things eeply, that wrestles with the kind of easy answers that are often spewed out and who is up to fighting for things that are real and count and will make a difference. i am proud that she will be standing alongside me tonite.

There are definitely many more legends who will be in the room tonite, but these are four that deserved special mention. It seriously does take a village to raise a book and from people who gave me quotes about church, to people who journeyed with me through different expressions and understandings of church, to the many people who volunteered to read and comment on early drafts of ‘i, church’ and everyone who is helping out with today, Saturday and Tuesday [and any book launches that may follow] i am so very grateful.

Thank you for allowing this to happen. My prayer is that the words of this book will make a difference. Will cause people to think more deeply and challenge inherited understandings and practices, and more than anything to chase after being the kind of church that God calls us to be. Which is a body of people who are used in transforming the world through lived out love.

Let the games begin…

valbook

[For more information about the various book launches that we have going in the next few days, click here]

mc

Three book launches, three MC’s to walk you safely through them… and just TEN DAYS TO GO til the first…

Focusing on one of the strong themes of the book, ‘i, church’ that the church is far more about the people than the place, we decided that the MC’s of the book launches should reflect that. Thus i invited people who are both important and significant to my life to host the events from the front and help keep the times short, sharp and interesting.

Theran Knighton-Fitt

Theran Knighton-Fitt i have known ever since the day i was subbing in for his grade 6 afrikaans class and he came and asked me how to spell a particular word. i can’t remember what the word was but i immediately started spelling and he was carefully writing down the letters W…O…O…R…D…E…B…O…E…K… When i was done i said to him, “What does that say?” and he replied, “Woordeboek” [Afrikaans for dictionary] and i responded with, “Correct, go and look it up.” [Which is perhaps why i am no longer allowed to be a teacher]

i have always known Theran as someone who takes life and spirituality seriously, not content to be spoon-fed answers or ever satisfied with the status of the quo. He and his wife Debbie and their growing family have just returned from a long stint in Canada where he studied theology at Regent College and it is great to have them back in South Africa.

He [or at least his alter ego Faran], was also largely the inspiration for my silly Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect character, Brad Fish. So you can know you will be in for a fun, entertaining and philosophical evening.

Theran will be hosting the book launch at Vovo Telo, Thursday evening the19th, starting at 6.30pm – only 18 spots left and so imperative you RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com soon if you are hoping to make this one.

Arthur Stewart

Arthur Stewart is an American-African [my description!] who i met many years ago when he was running an intentional community up in Pretoria and i was interested in hearing more about that. Since moving to Cape Town we have connected on a number of different occasions from Warehouse events and Selah reflection days to Generosity Dinners and more. With a huge heart for pastoring and drawing alongside Christian leaders and others, as well as seeing the kingdom come in real and transformative ways, Arthur is someone who tbV and i share some substantial D.N.A. with.

Arthur also kindly stepped in and facilitated a time of listening and prayer with some of our favourite people, when we were looking for a place to stay, which really helped give us some direction and affirmation at an important time. So with Arthur the mood is likely to be reflective and thought-provoking.

Arthur will be hosting the Saturday 21st March morning launch at The Warehouse, which is at 12 Plantation road in Wetton and which will be starting at 9.30am. There is still considerable space at this one, but please stilol RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com so we know how much coffee to coffee.

tbV aka The Beautiful Val

Often referred to as ‘The Lovely Val’ by people who didn’t quite get the tbV memo, this lady probably needs a little less introduction, but my amazing wife Valerie will be taking on MC duties for the Stell/S West leg of the Cape Town launch.

Val has been hugely supportive in creating opportunities for me to finish the book [pre-Americaland] and then touch it up, finish it off and get it into book-resembling being’ness and it will be an absolute pleasure having her as one of the MC’s. Her tendency to challenge ideas and refusal to settle for the way things have always been has been hugely helpful in terms of formulating some of my own ideas on things as far as church is concerned and we try to figure out this thing together. With tbV at the helm, expect light-hearted, provocative and eloquent all rolled into one. [And maybe even a foreign accent if we’re lucky!]

Valerie will be hosting the book launch in Vlottenberg on Tuesday 24 March at 6pm at Clubhouse, Digteby Estate, Vlottenberg, Stellenbosch.

So there you have it – the clock is ticking and we are so looking forward to hanging out with all of you – please feel absolutely welcome to invite friends and anyone else you know who might be interested in hearing what this is about. Just please get them to RSVP to brettfish@hotmail.com so we can expect their arrival… see you soon…

[To see a little bit of the journey from Surreal to “Hey, i have a book”, click here] 

if you stopped reading after the ‘b’ this becomes a completely different post… so don’t.

the beautiful Val, in case you didn’t know, and yes only i get to call her that and really mean it in the way i do. [you can of course refer to her as ‘tbV’ th0ugh, and i love it when other people do, but it has also been fun to me through the years how so many of you have mistakenly changed it to ‘the lovely Val’ – which is also true]

we are on the way to having being married for 5 years and in that time we have transitioned three times [if you leave out the time Val left family, friends, home, church to some degree to move out to Stellenbosch when we got married – a huge ask!] from Stellenbosch to Philadelphia to Oakland [if you exclude lengthy stays at Che Houston in Kenilworth] which may not seem a lot [especially when you compare it to how many times her parentals moved in their first 20 plus years of marriage] it has been a whole lot for us. ‘

New place to stay, new country, new friends, new church, new food, no mayonnaise [to speak of] and so on.

So it has not all been easy and has definitely put strain on us as a couple of intense, seize-life-by-the-throat-of-its-balls, passionate people. But it has been an adventure and there is much more of that to come. Especially as we know that another transition looms ahead [with Americaland specifically asking us to be out by early August] and are not too sure of the specifics thereof. Or therein. Or therein of? Something.

And there have been so many, and i don’t have pictures of them all [which to some extent i am completely stoked about – some adventures we capture, some we just live] but i just wanted to take a moment to celebrate my beautiful lady. i love being married to you Val and these pictures are just a glimpse of some of the memories we have put together…um together… and looking ahead to many more.

i love and celebrate you, tbV:

 

As i have said before and will no doubt say again, being married to the right person is one of the greatest things in the world [and discovering more and more that you become the right people as you continue in your commitment of marriage to each other] and because i have such a heart for those in marriage doing it well, i have created a lot of space on my blog to focus on doing just that and so lots of amazing marriage resources, compiled by a whole big bunch of amazing people, are waiting for you over here.

is an oxymoron!

And for those of you struggling with the English language I am neither calling my wife an ‘ox’ nor a ‘moron’ and in fact the ‘oxymoron’ part should be informing you that i am not calling her ‘lazy’ either.

What she is, is [the less offensive word for ‘bloody’] amazing.

All this happened today. Firstly she sanded and painted and put together this amazing bench that she got for FREE off Craigslist [we like to think of Craig as this uber generous person we know with a list of things he is just waiting to give us] and then she rose to the challenge of our ‘one new dish per month’ meals and created this masterpiece, starting with a recipe as a ‘rough guide’ and then tbV’ing it up a notch til it reached quite close to perfection. Best meal we’ve had in a LONG time.

So uber proud of my lovely lady and excited to see what she does next…

Twitter fight

then, in case that was not enough, i got involved in my first ‘fight’ on the Twitter… [i know, too many people surprised it took me this long, it is possible i just forgot any others that occurred]

it revolved around the hash tag #SafetyTipsForLadies which someone that i followed tweeted and so i went to the link and read a bunch of them and was horrified by the way they seemed to be dealing with rape and violence to women in such a light-hearted and flippant manner… and so i commented on that…

which was not so well received:

Auragasmic ‏@Auragasmic: Rape Prevention Tips ARE A JOKE. “@BrettFishA: having read a bunch of the #safetytipsforladies tweets it feels like it’s a joke.”

Georgia Lewis ‏@georgialewis76:
@Auragasmic @BrettFishA Poor Brett has had an irony bypass…

i even got my own hashtag during it all:

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA Avoid being made uncomfortable by women discussing women’s issues by not clicking #’s you don’t like #safetytipsforbrettfisha

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
@BrettFishA No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying on the list of voices thar matter yours is near the bottom. Really near the bottom.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
.@BrettFishA Right. I’ve been sexually assaulted several times, but your opinion is more valuable because you are a man. I pity you.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
Ladies, make sure not to have an opinion around @BrettFishA. It might interfere with his Important Man Voice which is totally marginalized.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin
@BrettFishA Your attempt to silence women and survivors of assault would be laughable if it was… wait, no, it’s just hilarious.

Liz ‏@childfreediva:
@Auragasmic @BrettFishA “Wear pantsuits at ALL times. Padlock undies.”

and some people did try to explain it all to me in a more friendly way:

James Thomas ‏@RightSaidJames:
@BrettFishA the hashtag is satirising the ineffective safety advice frequently given to women, no disrespect is intended.

Patric Nordbeck ‏@pnPsyPhi:
@BrettFishA @TheMotleyNews as long as its understood the joke isn’t rape per say, but rather the idiotic advice given.. by men.. to women..

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA I’m sorry about your wife, that should never happen! This thread is opening up a dialogue about how this happens too much.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA And how all too often, women get blamed for their “poor decisions.” I hope she’s okay.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA I can understand where she’s coming from. It’s just been in my experience, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.

The Motley News ‏@TheMotleyNews:
@BrettFishA Sometimes the absurd has to be taken to task. By participating in this, women find their voices in all this ridiculousness.

Tania Jivraj ‏@TaniaJivraj:
@BrettFishA @TheMotleyNews comedy as resistance-highlights that rape prevention ‘techniques’ blame the victim and don’t target rapists.

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA Maybe the people who actually experience those issues should make that decision?

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA No. Unfortunately your wife has experienced it. You have not. You will likely never know how that feels. You may sympathise…

BathtubGin ‏@MsBathtubGin:
@BrettFishA … but you will never know what it is like to be sexually assaulted, the way that 90% or more of the women taking part have.

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA You’re missing the point. This hashtag is mocking the stupid tips women get to avoid getting attacked/harassed…

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA Instead of talking about this #, why don’t you talk you your fellow men about not attacking women, if you’re really an ally

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA But it feels great to let off steam after a whole life of everyone telling you it’s your responsibility to make sure…

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA …men don’t hurt you, that it’s your fault if they do. Oh, wait, you don’t know how that feels. So pls don’t tell us how to be.

and then Jaime sent me the link to the blog post explaining where the hash tag came from:

Jaime Thomas ‏@jaime_fortytwo:
@BrettFishA No one here is joking about rape. This is the post u should to explain how this started: #SafetyTipsForLadies, or Why Victim Blaming is Moronic which you can read if you click the link [warning: contains some language stronger than that which i traditionally employ in this blog]

i read the article and for the most agreed strongly with the sentiment expressed. but i still didn’t [and don’t] understand how that makes the hashtag Safety Tips for Women tips okay… i really don’t get it [and am open to having it explained to me in a bit more depth than a tweet or two allows, but i think this might be an ‘agree to disagree’ area as there are some topics like rape and molestation and so on that i personally feel should NEVER be joked about. ever. as in never ever. and i know there are people who think otherwise]

but then i scrolled down and read a couple of the tweets that according to my tweet lessons from earlier are “Women letting off steam”, “mocking the stupid tips given to women to avoid getting raped” and “opening up a dialogue about how this all happens too much”:

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb [who started the hashtag and began this all]

If you hide your forearms in your sleeves, the rapist will mistake you for a T-Rex and carry on his way #safetytipsforladies

Hilary Bowman-Smart @hilaryjfb

Do you have sensual long legs? Many rapists like sensual long legs. Consider chopping them off at the knees. #safetytipsforladies

Quirkythrope @jailawrites

If you’re raped, say “I’m a good girl!” Since “good girls” never get raped, the rapist will vanish in a puff of logic #safetytipsforladies

now clearly people are agreeing with this and giving consent to this [first tweet mentioned there got 917 RETWEETS 290 FAVORITES, third one got 292 RETWEETS 96 FAVORITES] but i am just not seeing it…

i really want to understand the point of view of those who think it is okay so please, if you strongly disagree with me here, take some time to write out a comment and share why you think it’s an acceptable response… i showed Val the article and some of the tweets and she agreed that she didn’t think it was okay. so it’s not just a man thing. i fully appreciate Jaime from Twitter who took some time to respond to me and who sent me the link, and also some of the others who gave helpful or insightful responses [even if i didn’t necessarily share the same point of view, i don’t think that matters but trying to learn from each other does]

the point of view i am approaching this with is that making light of rape in any way feels like it desensitises the word and make it less of the horrific, horrendous, evil thing that it should be kept in mind as…

so please chime in – if you take a look at those tweets do you think they are achieving anything good or just perpetuating what is already a horrific situation [or at least distracting from finding any real solutions to it?] do you think it is ever okay to joke about rape? would your response be different if you knew there was a rape victim in your direct audience? should it? would love to hear your thoughts on this. [or click here to read a conversation between me and Claudine that goes deeper into a lot of this]

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: