Jul 08, 2021

Before television arrived in our lives, short stories were a thing. Most magazines, regardless of focus, would publish them, and often many in a single issue. Short stories were entertainment.

Nowadays, they’re rare little pennies you sometimes (but not that often) stumble over while doing other things.

In the spirit of random pennies, here’s a piece I published recently on BKO Magazine. Click the link for the whole thing. Apparently it’s a 13 minute read.

Quiet by Andrew Miller

Gardening is spiritual.


Life giving.

Cuts the shopping bill in half and gets your hands into the earth, Lerato thinks as she digs in the concrete oblong pot thing she’s sure has an official name.

Even if you don’t have a garden as such, it’s still an excellent thing to have soil between your fingers. One day, maybe, she will get it – soil – between her toes. But that’s for later. At the moment she’s working her way through potting soil bag number two of four, deposited at her front door by Hilda, one of those white girls you can’t help like but don’t want to keep too close.

Hilda drives a blue bakkie and gardens with pathological, university-level enthusiasm. Which has been handy for Lerato, just entering the world of shrubs and pots and soils.

Lerato’s mother thinks she’s insane and culturally inappropriate. She should still be at home, within the family, learning. For her own good. And that of the child. She’s lucky, though, to have a life and a mom where tradition is optional. There to help you, if you need it. Otherwise, good luck and lots of love and we won’t laugh when you come running back covered in nappies and baby shit.

Lucky, she thinks as she digs in the oblong thing. Very lucky. Her mother has always let her go, and even with the child, the fatherless child, a baby from a travelling rouge, her mother leaned in with support. No judgement. Just support.

Which, she knows, dig, is a rare thing. Dig, dig. A very rare thing.


She scatters a handful of spring onion seeds across the holes and allows herself to feel the act in her spirit. As if she was of the land, and following well-grooved instinct. She checks on Zakes, he’s fine, then consults the back of the seed packet, which goes into close-to-unnecessary detail re: the planting cycle of spring onions. She skips through, nods to herself, pats the soil down.

Read on...

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