Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ondjaki Signing

It's been a busy last few weeks at the Bibliomanse getting ready for multiple launches and parties. So on May 6 it was wonderful to be able to relax and get to know some of our authors, particularly Ondjaki.

After the authors finished their readings and everyone had dispersed, I brought my copy of Granma Nineteen and the Soviet's Secret to Ondjaki and asked him if he would sign it. Pen in hand he glanced at me and asked "may I draw?" the answer to which can only ever be yes.

He began by dipping his fingers into a cup of tea nearby and smearing it in lines across the page. I'll admit at first I cringed a little, but as he worked I began to relax. There was something so soothing about watching his pen fly across the page, translating thought to art.

At first he had two drawings encapsulated on two different pages and he announced that they needed to be connected. The first thing that I thought of was the closing line to his novel that he had read out earlier: "I need stars... Because the sky doesn't know how to dance alone!"

When he was finished I thanked him for taking the time to draw something so beautiful. He handed the book back to me, looking discontent and said "there's still something missing."

I regarded the two page spread, galaxies of lines and dots dancing together, before saying that I loved it anyways. "There's music in it," I told him, and meant it.

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