You have my word.

Words have power: that must count for something.

A case for creativity

“So, what are you studying?” he asked half interested – as extended relatives do at forced gatherings.

“Advertising,” I replied, pleased with myself, “I’m in my first year. I want to be a copywriter one day.”

He grunts. “Pff, so… basically… you want to manipulate people?”

And my face was like:

confused kid face meme

You know when you’re persuaded (or bribed) into playing chubby bunny – stuffing copious amounts of marshmallows into your mouth, and coaxed into saying something ridiculous after every one you manage pop/squeeze/force/mush into your mouth? That’s exactly how I felt, sans marshmallows. By the time I had come up with, what I thought was, a witty and well-argued retort, he’d swirled his drink and managed to swirl away from this spiralling conversation.

I imagine he meant no harm, but his question-statement has always sat somewhere in the mouldy, stale, forgotten-foods corner of my proverbial mental cupboard. It’s not the “what the hell is making my kitchen smell awful” kind of thought, but every now and again when I feel compelled to satiate my OCD and rearrange my mental shelves, I do come across it. In the brief moments to follow I ponder whether I should just throw it out, or if I’ll be able to use it in some obscure recipe promoted by one of my save-the-forest-and-the-world friends that found this “amazing” website that tells you how to reuse very expired foods. Meh.

Almost six years later, I am living/working/doing/loving the dream I had from the start; I am a copywriter in a very successful agency. I get to wake up every morning knowing that I will contribute to work that will change and shape the way people think – the way they feel. I have the opportunity to learn (as I am still quite green) and grow and try and get it right. I get to connect with people I have never met simply by putting words down on a page. I am required to throw not only my mind, but my soul, into everything I put my hands and brain to. This, is the dream.

Advertising is an industry teeming with, and proliferated by, creativity. It is not simply a requirement, it is an expectation, a standard, a necessity, a cannot-under-any-circumstances-be-without. It is creativity for both the sake of function and flair. It is creativity in design, in planning, in execution, in research, in deliverables, in communicating, in monitoring, in reporting (not in that exact order, but all parts are necessary). Sometimes, it is even creativity in dealing with difficult people.

Dealing with difficult people e card

Tell me then, is manipulation the same thing as creativity? Don’t get smart-arse about it and give me dictionary definitions verbatim, because we all know what manipulation is. The got-you-wrapped-around-my finger type – the you’ve-had-wool-pulled-over-and-stuffed-into-your-eyes type. On the other end of the scale sits creativity – the ability to imagine and create and design and do. It is the very replication of doing what was done to us – make something from nothing, or dust.

You cannot, under any circumstances, coerce me into believing that creativity’s objective is to manipulate. Yes, there are those who use it to manipulate, but then is it really creativity? Surely creativity is void of malicious intent – after all, God created man and that was by no means out of malice. He saw that it was good.

Because we are formed in His image, we too have the ability to create what is good. What an astounding revelation to realise that I am in an industry that, by operation and outcome, consistently taps into the very nature of God, as Creator. That by creating, the same life that was breathed into me, can be breathed into anything I work on. It is humbling, subsequently, to realise that the best way for me to create is for me to constantly draw from the boundless source of creativity. I am only a middle-man channelling what is poured into me.

Now I sit, very aware that I’ve moved a lot of items around in the cupboard, I’ve added some new items and it’s probably time to throw some of the old ones out. Dear stale, forgotten-foods manipulation question, it is time for you to go. Manipulation is not, and has never been, the reason for my passion in this line of work. Think of what I do as an extension of what was done from the beginning of time. Create.

I am not everything


I am a crash of unfinished nights

abandoned pens like words unsaid.

I am unfurled veins of why

losing breath never caught.

I am knotted forever fire

hungry spine like ignorant uncertainty.

I am undone moon dictating selfish tides

forcing waves against immovable expanse.

I am a jar of sunset promises

star holes poked through black.

I am sparkling unwanted anchor

books burdened with stains.

I am a thrash of kaleidoscope memories

perpetual tattoos on yesterday.


The unravelling man

There is a man made of string. He is unravelling, not quickly but all too slowly and all too thoroughly. You don’t even have to watch closely. You won’t

miss a thing

as the string

now begins

to unwind

to its end

every thread

coming loose.

there’s no use

in the fight

to pretend

or prevent

or attempt

to make right

till it’s through.

He doesn’t yet know there is nothing he can do. The thing about unravelling is that you don’t know it’s happening till you’re standing at the halfway                  mark

so you start

and you try

bit by bit

piece by piece

though you still

land up

falling apart.

it takes time

and it’s slow

and you know

you must wait

for the pain

and the ache

to subside.

The unravelling man stands. Still. Still standing. Unravelling like a kite string – being pulled by invisible kite and invisible wind. One day it will land, and he will have to string together a semblance of what he used to be when it all began.

I am the unravelling man. Wearing thin. A candle wick string burning at both ends. Waiting to start again.


The title of this piece was a writing challenge I was given by a friend, no other set parametres. Let me know what you think. What would you have done? How would you have gone about it?

A trial of guilt and grace

The uncomfortable truth is that we are all guilty.

They drag her in – hair and limbs and fright. She is plastered with their accusations of filth, adultery, lust, abomination. They have called her so many names she has forgotten her own.

Our intrinsic flaw – sin – renders us insufficient.

Licentious, fragile form is cast before a throng of eager listeners – not for her cry, but for the words of Holy. The greed of hypocrisy bids for two with one stone. What is the verdict?

Whether believing or not we all know exactly what grace is and how much we need it.

Holy stoops to the dirt – ground and woman. He extends his arm to carve life into the dust – words and sand. The stream of questions and mockery are unending like her tears.

We are so unworthy. We have been indelibly tainted by venom from the start.

Momentary hush as Holy stands to address the pulsing mob. With gentleness Holy welcomes all hostile to hurl stones if… they are completely innocent. He bends again to finish writing.

How grateful I am that grace is not dependent on my worth or best efforts to be good.

Hesitantly the tightly-knit crowd begins to unravel and fritter away. Only Holy and her remain. Where are they? Has anyone condemned or damned? No, no one. Then neither do I. Go and abandon the life you lived.

We are not called to alter our course upon receiving condemnation. Alter course in lieu of kindness and Holy.



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