Right Turn

Right Turn

‘Right Turn’
From the book The Turning
I chose bona fides
and other Latin terms you find
in law books
for it was easier, they claimed
to fall back on
precedent and stare decisis
than a line Tennyson wrote
that’s etched in your soul.
I turned left at logic
not right at longing;
opted for laboratories
over labyrinths
became encased in cases
tried to stifle stories
heed the judgements
of reasonable men
with careful opinions
and supportive wives.
But my shadow withered
grew taut in torts
without the cry
of darkened hearts
and birds that do not sing.
Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

In law there was no name
for the quiet snuffing
that numbed my core –
not even in Latin.
The poets called it
‘the divided self ’
it was all there
in The Hollow Men –
‘The horror! The horror!’
I did not want to be Ophelia
even in a robe and wig
there was no honour
in being called ‘your honour’
when the mirror
crack’d from side to side
and I wished that I
were dead.
And so
I freed my anchor
turned my ship
cargo-ed with
all that is born only to die
and found my way back
by the stars and their light
and the sound of the song
in the books
I would write.

Author Potential Profile Assessment

Discover your hidden strengths as well as the areas you need to build on to become an author.

Grabbing the Reins of Creativity

I remember as a kid thinking creativity was this wild, carefree, easy-going emotion that you just got into, rather like finger-painting. But as I have started using the innovative side of my brain as an adult, I realise what a fragile, ethereal thing creativity...

When Mothers Kill

Mrs. Large is an elephant and the mother of Laura, Lester and baby who tries – without success - to have a bath with a tray of tea and some scones away from her children. Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy is the bedtime book I always choose to read to my kids when...

How’s That Cynicism Working for You?

I went to law school. I got not one, but two law degrees – one at Yale. Yippee for me, right? Actually, my entire life since then has been a recovery from legal thinking. Not that I don’t value logic, clarity, causation and an understanding of what it means to...

8 Reasons to Write

If you've been putting off writing, this one is for you. We spend a lot of time fending off the 'it's-narcissistic' saboteur, the 'I-suck-at-grammar' bogeyman and the 'who-will-give-a-damn?' golem. But seriously folks, as the Buddha said, 'the problem is, you think...

Surviving Teenagers

I call my kids to come see this YouTube video of some father in the US who ends his rant against his teenage daughter’s ‘I-hate-my-parents’ Facebook post, by emptying the barrel of a gun into her laptop. I suppose I’m hoping it’ll dawn on them I’m not such a...

Are You Using Protection?

In my early twenties, I went on a self-defence course, where I learned how to puncture someone’s Adam’s apple with a key and to perfect the knee-to-groin move should such unfriendly gestures be called for. I swallowed little pills and purchased boxes of...

The Birth of Your Story

The Birth of Your Story

I wrote a little poem for you.

The Birth of Your Story

Avid reader
book lover
writer at heart
had your family
or let that ship pass by
called ‘smart’ from the start
rescued and raised others
done your duty
left when you needed to
stayed too long
in ‘maybe’ and ‘someday.’
One breast less
three kids gone
hubby at the footy
with his new wife
or tombstoned too soon.
Hubby? You always did prefer girls
– not in that way, but mind you…
Said enough goodbyes
to a uterus
a pregnancy
a mother
(don’t get you started on
friends losing fights to this and that).
A woman of letters
you always loved words
something there, you thought
but there was no rent in writing
and what would you write about?
– such an unremarkable life of sacrifice –
and who would care?
Read some good books lately
wanted to travel
thought you would someday
dreamed of more
but not ‘stuff‘ – you’re done with all that.
Pants getting tighter
– that’s what happens over forty –
your heart’s feeling lighter
you linger a little longer
in ‘maybe it’s not too late.’
You put on what you’ve put off
spend what you’ve been saving
for that rainy day
because
it’s time
and you can
and the wait for
whatever it was you were hoping for
is done.

There are only so many days left of this life. Only so many hours. If this poem was written for you, you know what you have to do. I am standing by to help you do it.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

‘I Want to Write… Bbbut Where Should I Start?’

Ah, of course, where should you start? Not knowing where to begin is another reason many of us don't start writing, combined with ‘it’s too overwhelming’ and 'I don't have the time.' So say you want to write your lifestory. A memoir. Something about who you...

Signs You Could Be a Writer

Signs You Could Be a Writer (No Matter What Your Day Job Is) ‘I’m not a writer,’ people often tell me. ‘But I’ve always wanted to write…’ You know, there was a time I also wasn't a writer. But I always knew I wanted to write. This longing then, could be, as Rilke...

Girlfriends

Men are good for a great number of jobs, I’m thinking specifically of killing spiders and changing tyres, but they are useless when it comes to a second opinion when shopping for a new outfit and repeating the conversation they just had on the phone which you know...

Bringing Inequality Back into the Bedroom

I came to marriage by a circuitous route. As a radical feminist, I avoided it, certain it was for unintelligent girls who had no aspirations to travel or write books. I was never going to be ‘given away’ or called ‘Mrs’ Someone Else’s Surname. Working with...

Without Self-Compassion, Why Should Anyone Trust Us?

Celebrity drag queen Ru Paul sings, ‘If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’ Amen to this when it comes to the act of writing. All writing begins with self-compassion. To write, we have to own our voice and our right to write....

I Chose Silence

He was a rising Kwaito star. His callous nature and rugged looks evoked the kind of fear and enamour that was synonymous with guys from the township in those days. Some girls loved him but most loathed him. Their hatred and affection were badges of honour that he...

Song to Myself

Song to Myself

She who always knew
that she was destined – destined, mind you –
for more than domesticity
never suspected that perhaps her knowing
might be nothing more than the soul’s delusion
holding imprints of hopeful mystery.
This knowing comes now to bother her
in the hubble and clutter of kids-cats-anniversaries
to a dissatisfaction
an impatience
with the humble goodness of her ordinary life.
As if she needed reminding that
the envelope of options
is sealed now
and the unfurling of
what will be has become a matter of
unmagical consequence.
She who longed both for this
and for a roaming otherness
now remembers past lovers
and the taste of their tongues
as she fights the shame
of a temper at small infractions by her
children-thank-god-for them
never knew such temper simmered
aching to be lost.
She sinks into memories and dreams
folding corners of herself down
like a neat napkin
hiding the stains, the dirt
of her most wondrous gypsy self
so that this life – this perfectly happy life –
might proceed without incident
medication
tragedy.
She who writes this song to herself
sings now for the selves
that have no place
to be sung.

The Turning

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

How Do You Say the Thing You Are Not Allowed to Say?

“What is the source of our first suffering? It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak....it was born in the moments when we accumulated silent things within us.” - Gaston Bachelard There are things we are allowed to say and things we are not allowed to say....

Why We Should Keep Broken Things

You've probably all heard the phrase the ‘first shitty draft.’ Anne Lamott coins it in her fabulous book on writing, Bird by Bird (which if you haven’t already read, needs to go on your Urgent Books to Read list). First drafts are shitty. It’s in their nature to...

Why Books Are the Best Presents

Why Books Are the Best Presents and All of Our Wins in 2018   "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."―Charles William Eliot ‘I’m so proud of you,’ I sniffed....

Playing By My Rules

It is early evening after dinner, and I stare into the kitchen sink. I gently draw patterns with the bubbles that remain from the washing up. I herd them into the centre of the sink and I turn the tap on and let the water trickle slowly, washing some of the bubbles...

How to Love Time with Every Passing Birthday

We’re all just walking each other home. – Ram Dass   It's funny how much we fret about nonsense in the light of Ram Dass's insight, isn't it? How different would we behave if we lived each day with that as our premise? So when the 31st August comes around, I...

Writing Is Also About Erasing (On Editors)

Before I became a published author, I didn’t like editors. I couldn’t bear the thought of them, with their red pens and their pursed lips, their eyes like crabs across the page, just looking to pinch at my text with their editorial pincers. I used to be terrified...

In That Place

In That Place

In That Place

When you find it
Come back and tell us.
What did you see in that starless dark?
What heavens deserted you
and how did you survive
those broken nights
in the jungle
not knowing if you would ever
be found again?
How did you crawl from your bed
In the days beyond
acceptable grief?
Who did you become
after they left you for dead
six of them, you said?
With what did you mend
and stitch yourself whole
and return to love without
ever having received it?
Take your precious beauty back
along those abandoned tracks
when you get there
let your voice rise
shout your name
In that place you are
strong, my friend.
Go this time to name
by what curious grace
you came back once.
You will never get lost there again.

*This poem is dedicated to all of the dear souls in The Author Awakening Adventure 2017group

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

Paths Are Made by Walking

One of the most important books I ever read as a law student was Professor Patricia Williams’ The Alchemy of Race and Rights. The book opens with this line, ‘Since subject position is everything in my analysis of the law, you deserve to know it’s been a bad day.’...

Sharon Can’t Tell You Her Story

Sharon and I clicked the first time we met. We slipped into an intense friendship with ease and it felt as if we'd known each other forever. Sharon was the kind of girl you didn't forget after the first time you met her. She was funny, with the body of a cheer leader...

Beaten to Love

I was born in South Africa in 1949. My father was Charles, a doer man from a Calvinistic family who spent days and nights drinking in the pub, coming home drunk and then beating my mother, me and my sister. My humanitarian mother, Isabella, was rebellious and an...

I Am Well if You Are Well

I was a week away from my due date. I was enormous and uncomfortable as I stood barefoot on the deserted beach. I had survived the past year. Barely. Grief and sadness swirled in me like aurora borealis. Birth demands hope. You have to be an optimist to bring new...

Without Self-Compassion, Why Should Anyone Trust Us?

Celebrity drag queen Ru Paul sings, ‘If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’ Amen to this when it comes to the act of writing. All writing begins with self-compassion. To write, we have to own our voice and our right to write....

Allow Me to Disappoint You

You wouldn't believe what an excellent track record I have in not disappointing people.I like to think it’s because I try hard to be a half-decent person. But what if it’s the consequence of pathology? A damaged neurological wiring that causes me to default into...