I've No Time For Drama - Poetry Weekend 21/11/2015

This Saturday's poem (also on PoemHunter):

I’ve No Time for Drama

I’ve no time for drama.
Conflict is so last season
And that fashion
Will never come again.

I’ve no time for drama.
Keep your accusations
I won’t be pushed into a corner of guilt
And made to feel like I need to put up a defense.

I’ve no time for drama
I can’t take things personally
And worry if and when you’ll take things
Way too personally.

I’ve no time for drama
But if you have time
For love
For understanding
And open-mindedness.
Then certainly,
I will have time for you.

Maja Dezulovic

Time to Get Started on Your Dream Life - Poetry Weekend 14/11/2015

Three poems for today (also featured on PoemHunter):

Dream Life

We walked to the beach
Admired the view
Of mountains
The sea
And traces of history
Had sandwiches
Walked back
It was a Monday
And we were young.

Getting Started

The most difficult part
Is always to get going
On your dreams
To forget the negatives
And trudge on
Because if you don’t get going
There’s no way of ever knowing
If you’ll ever get there.

Time Goes On

While you hold your breath
Waiting for the right moment
The right thing to say
And the perfect chance.
Time goes on.

While you hesitate
And talk yourself down.
Time goes on.

While you waste the hours
On social media
Making small talk
And spending way too long on things that don’t really matter
Time goes on.

And if you wake up,
Sit up
Suck it up
And keep going,
Time will go on
And you’ll get somewhere.

Maja Dezulovic

Friday the Thirteenth – What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ – Seneca

As a child, it was common to say ‘good luck’ to someone for a test or sports game.  If something bad happened, we attributed it to a bad stroke of luck.  However, the older you get the more you realize that ‘luck’ as an uncontrollable set of circumstances does not exist.  You create your own luck.

‘Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that that our lives are a product of cause and effect.  Call it karma, divine order, or a broad definition of Newton’s third law of motion; the principle is the same.  Simply put, what you sow, you will reap.  Therefore, the harder you work and the more you learn, the more prepared you will be to make the best of opportunities that come your way.  It is not about hoping for the best, but creating the best version of yourself in order to take on greater challenges, which subsequently result in greater rewards.

I won’t go into this one too deeply as there is a lot of literature that discusses success and luck.  I simply thought it was worth mentioning as today is the famous ‘unlucky’ Friday the thirteenth.  Superstitions aside (unless a great idea for a story is involved), today is whatever we make of it.  Even when things go wrong, it is up to us to choose the way we handle these situations.  So here’s to growing wiser and smarter so that we may create more ‘good luck’ in our lives.

Maja Dezulovic

Love and Marriage in a Modern Context

Three and a half years ago I fell in love.  It wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time that the idea of it working in the long run was a possibility in my mind.  Within five months, I’d moved in with him.  Today, we’re still living together and married.

My parents didn’t get married until I was fifteen, and even then, it was because they needed the paperwork.  For years, family tried to talk them into doing it because it would somehow ‘solemnise’ their union and confirm their commitment to each other.  I never got the feeling that my mother or father would leave while I was growing up.  They were committed to each other and especially to their kids.  Two grown up kids and thirty years later, they’re still together.  Having grown up in that type of environment, seeing so many of my friends’ parents get divorced, I didn’t think getting married in the traditional sense was a big deal.  I realized that two people had to love each other and make a commitment to each other, but I didn’t think that traditional matrimony held much value in the modern world.

Last year, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I accompanied a relative to the divorce court.  Her husband wasn’t even there.  We watched over a dozen people get divorced and most of their partners were also not present.  Some of the proceedings lasted less than ten minutes and after the bang of a hammer, they were granted a decree of divorce.  My respect for the formal institution of marriage died further after seeing how easy it actually is for people to get out of it.

Nevertheless, we ended up getting married.  It wasn’t because we felt we had to.  We had already been together for almost three years and lived with each other for most of that time.  Although our cohabitation had begun as a result of convenience, it had grown to become a commitment to each other (I realize this makes us an exception to the Cohabitation Effect, see the chapter on LOVE in The Defining Decade: Why Our Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay).   We were both conscious of this commitment and did not really need the public to reaffirm our standing and feelings towards each other.  So, why did we get married?  Like my parents, we needed the paperwork.

My husband and I had two ‘weddings’.  We had a legal wedding, attended just by us and two friends who served as witnesses.  I didn’t even feel the need to have my parents there.  They knew what to expect and also told me they would be there if I needed them, but in the end I thought it unnecessary to have them travel 70 kilometers to attend a ten minute wedding in a Home Affairs office.  So we got married, then the four of us went out for lunch to celebrate.  Regardless of the informality and quickness of it all, it was special.  My bridesmaid and friend Yakima made sure it was and as a result of her efforts, we have wonderful memories and photographs of both our weddings.  At a time when we might have been a bit indifferent to the proceedings, what was in fact a major life event is captured in photographs and videos that tell the story of our love.  It wasn’t so much about the proceedings but the love between us that shone through.  I remember when the officiator asked my then-fiancĂ© if he would take me to be his wife.  He didn’t answer.  Instead a giant grin appeared on his face.  The officiator remarked: ‘Oh, that’s definitely a yes’, and he nodded.  I remember just the feeling of warmth and love in that moment.  I didn’t need anything else.  The whole process did last less than ten minutes (and that’s only because the officiator had forgotten something and kept us waiting midway).

As for our second wedding, again it was small.  This time it was unintentional.  We had planned for many people to be there but due to financial circumstances, most of our loved ones could not make the trip from South Africa to Croatia.  Even so, it was beautiful.  My bridesmaid, husband, mother-in-law, uncle and I made our way to a rocky, deserted island in the Adriatic, where we recited our vows to each other.  It was beautiful because it simbolised the essence of our union – it was natural, spontaneous, and like in our relationship, we had to balance over a few sharp rocks, but it turned out amazing, and for a few short moments, our loved ones got a sneak peek into our private world.  Afterwards, our closest family in Croatia came over for dinner and we showcased our clumsy dance skills.

‘We all ought to feel confident we are choosing our partners and our partners are choosing us because we want to be with them, not because staying together is convenient or because breaking up is inconvenient.’ – Meg Jay

I sometimes wonder if we hadn’t needed to for administrative reasons (emigrating), if we would have gotten married at all.  The answer is probably not.  The reason is that we had already made a strong commitment to each other long before our official marriage.  Traditional marriage is outdated in that it sometimes forces people to stay in marriages due to financial, religious, and comfort reasons.  I was told a few weeks ago that we chose not to have our ceremony in front of God.  I know God was there not only on both wedding days, but on every day we decided to stick together regardless of anything that may have stood in our way.  That is enough for us and we wouldn't have had it any other way.

At the end of it all, I’m glad we did it.  There’s something grown-up about being husband and wife.  We are best friends and in the time we’ve been together, we’ve gotten to see the worst and the best of each other, accepting and understanding each other regardless.  The result is that we cannot imagine not being together, no matter what (and we’re literally together most of the time).  Our dynamic is different to most relationships.  Although much of the time I am typing on my laptop and he is busy with something outside or downstairs, we’re usually just a few steps or a loud call away from each other.  We also work on most projects together, where I do the admin and financial side, we plan together, and he completes the creation.  We make a good team and that is what marriage is about.

I love you Luke.

‘What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.’ – Leo Tolstoy

Maja Dezulovic

The Joys and Sorrows of a Ghostwriter

Waking Up From a Sorrowful Existence

Over the past year and a half I’ve written six books (five fiction and one non-fiction) and countless blog posts and articles.  On any ordinary weekday in the last six months, I’d be posting up to ten blog posts, editing (anything including essays, letters and books), and also working on a book project.  It paid well and so I kept going, living what I thought was the ‘writer’s dream’.  Now I realize that besides the money I was paid (and all the things it’s afforded me), I actually have very little to show for the past 18 months of my career.  Sure, there are articles here and there and my name appears on a few books I’ve edited, but my presence in the publishing world is almost non-existent.  Another thing that proves this is my blog.  I’d neglected this blog for over a year, until I decided it was time to get it going again.  Now, at least I will have something to show for my passion, even if I’m a ghost the rest of the time.

Another drawback is that I started to hate writing.  Yes, I began hating something that I was intensely passionate about for most of my life.  The reason was because it became mind-numbing to spend most of my time on projects that I wasn’t directly interested in and would get little or no credit for.  So, lesson learnt – don’t do anything for money alone (taken from 9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings).  Doing so results in depression.  I even started to question if I’d ever really enjoyed it at all.  I went through this about a month ago, then decided to restructure my business and career plans.

Ghostwriting Pays in Knowledge and Experience

I will continue ghostwriting as I already have contracts to fulfill and it would be silly not to see them through after putting in a great effort already.  I have just decided to limit my time as a ghostwriter and also focus on advancing my own brand.

The plus side of being a ghostwriter is that I get paid well to improve on my skills and to learn.  Through my various projects, I’ve had the opportunity to learn new information that I otherwise wouldn’t have about sports cars, bespoke motorcycles, design, architecture, fashion, technology, sociology, insurance, education and art.  So, after each project, although I may come out without a byline, my bank balance will be higher and I leave with newly acquired information and skills.
As a result, my first novel will not be the first novel I’ve written, but just the first I publish in my own name.  I will be able to leverage from the experience of all my other projects when I put together my very own work of art so I won't be publishing as a ' rookie'.  The ghostwriting is just a stepping stone to this and I embrace each carefully selected project.  And in order to fit in the works of love, well… I heard something about NaNoWriMo!

Maja Dezulovic