I’ve ‘known’ Shell Vera for a number of years now as a fellow-blogger and recall her being one of the very first to engage with me in a meaningful manner, regarding one of my posts. As a newbie blogger, I appreciated this so much. To date, Shell Vera is still a regular reader and commenter at my blogs, so I had no hesitation about supporting this publication of her creative endeavours.
BOOK REVIEW: When I Stopped Remembering Tomorrow
Hang on I thought, how can someone remember tomorrow – let alone stop remembering it?
I was intrigued from the get go!
Apart from my curiosity over the title, it’s not often we have the pleasure of having a personal insight into the lives and hearts of people we know. Granted, I only ‘know’ Shell Vera as a fellow blogger but it’s still somebody I know a lot better than most authors I’ve read, whether famous or otherwise.
I bought the book.
I loved the book!
And now I’m sharing my response to Shell Vera’s powerful, poetic pieces.
I don’t know about you but when I don’t really know the author, I hardly ever read the front matter, unless it is pertinent to my understanding of the book. Now that I’m a published author and when I’m reading books from fellow bloggers, I peruse these pages with eager anticipation.
I was happy to see a dedication to fellow warriors and overcomers. Well that includes me! So from the short distance of the title to the dedication page, already my attention has been piqued.
But then I felt slightly put off after reading a comment regarding the church, which seemed harsh and unfair, and to which I could not relate – was I going to like this book after all? Is there more of this kind of thing to come?
I read on.
The long and the short of it is that Shell Vera fell in love, met her true self for the first time and in doing so “truly met God.”
I like the framework.
Part 1 shares poetic pieces about her yesterdays followed by a separate prose section in Part 2, providing background information, or explaining what Shell had sought to convey in those pieces, or providing encouragement to hurting souls who have suffered similar abuse, and feel their dreams are impossible.
Often, we readers interpret poems according to our own, or vicarious experiences, according to literary evaluations, personal perceptions and conclusions, which usually differ to what the author originally meant or intended. It is therefore nice to actually know what the writer had intended to convey.
And now for my assessment of Shell Vera’s creative endeavours (bearing in mind the fact that I am not a poetry expert). I discuss in terms of my personal reactions to her work.
Heartfelt compassion stirs the heart of the reader, and contrasts with the cold uncompromising truth of the writer’s experience in pieces like Alone and Detached (1992): Here’s an example:
This girl has given up hope for the future,
She’s only living still because when she knocked,
Death refused to open the door for her.
Powerful pieces like The Final Nightmare (1999) will haunt you.
And in her poem The Dance (1999), Shell Vera’s beautiful and clever depiction of the dance of life, reminds us that either we ourselves, or the people with whom we tango, can become catalysts of change, for the good.
Her poems make you think. Force you to consider what it is you believe, how you interpret the gospel and how you embrace it within your own life. After reading Wandering (2012), I wonder, how many of us need to take Jesus down from the cross of our limited imaginations and actually invite him to be a living breathing being in our day-to-day lives?
When you think of warriors, you tend to picture someone strong, staunch and solid, someone tough and triumphant, despite the odds. We think of people like Hercules, or Alexander the Great, or even King David, who was known to have slain his 10,000s.
But in our normal every-day life, particularly as a Christian where there is often pressure to present a false ‘super-spiritual’ picture, a true warrior is someone who faces the rigours and injustices of life and survives. They are warriors because they live to tell the tale. They are victorious overcomers because instead of remaining as downtrodden victims, they drag themselves up from the dust and mire of catastrophe or rejection, and push forward through the doors of hope.
Women of Warfare friends and followers, only when you have truly met and committed your life to the Lord, only when you have engaged in prayer warfare and entrusted your well-being into the hands of your Creator-God, will those negative circumstances of life become a spiritual launching pad, enabling you to soar as victorious overcomers.
So, if you are guilty of doing this, stop wasting your life yearning for tomorrow.
Start living in the present, praying in earnest, and yearning for meaningful spiritual encounters with the God who holds your tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I’d encourage you to buy the book!
Start living in the present, praying in earnest, and yearning for meaningful spiritual encounters with the God who holds your tomorrow.Tweet