Tag Archives: Mari Reiza

How To Stay Alive (from a survivor)

The doctor said it was too late. Soft medicine would be of no use to me now. I cried into my pillow as the visions of what I still wanted to achieve in my life flashed before me then ran off into the bushes.

Don’t move. If you do, you could bleed to death in less than three minutes.

I practised being dead, resisting every urge to cough or twitch, but first I called the children to hear their voice in case…

And as I practised being dead – getting better and better at it – a familiar face ventured almost apologetically into the room.  So grateful was I to see him one more time that I cried in earnest. It wouldn’t matter if I bled to death now.

That was nearly two years ago. Two years, over 600 pills a month and the will to prove everyone wrong. Whenever anyone says ‘no’ to me, I make it my mission to prove them wrong. The doctors had been telling me for years that  I would be on medication for life.

‘Are you sure that I won’t be able to get off these pills one day?’
‘No. Let’s be honest’.

That was their No. Not mine. On my miraculous journey back to health from a chronic kidney disease, I encountered a wonderful soul with a simple message: we can eat our way back to health and the way to do so is to practise intermittent fasting. It sounded like just another fad to me and I challenged the author to give me good reasons why I should take him seriously. He won me over. I read his book and you know what: I feel GREAT! I’m not going to twist your arm or try to talk you into anything because I’m not motivated by self-interest. There is a growing body of research on the benefits of intermittent fasting. I only know it is helping me to regenerate both my body and my mind. If you would like to know more, click on the image below to receive your copy of this short yet life-changing book.


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Staying with the topic of health, I’d like to share with you an amazing piece of fiction by  Mari Reiza. My first encounter with Mari was via her book  Physical: The Catastrophe of Desire. This is a first-class piece of feminist humour which I would have loved to read all over again, but I decided to try another title to see if Mari could enthrall me yet again. Oh yes she can! I’ve just finished reading Room 11: A Man Sits Singing Where A Woman Lies Dreaming. This is an impressive book that should have its place on the reading list for Contemporary Fiction or Women’s Fiction around the world (says I, as a  Creative Writing lecturer). Reiza’s short book nonetheless takes on epic dimensions of mind, inhabiting liminal spaces that churn around love, desire, belonging, acknowledgement, You would need to be an erudite reader to take in all the references in this story which frequently returns to Greek mythology and escapes (or so I find) into surrealist-like fantasies that call to mind Kafka. In many ways I see the work as a tragedy of love. It’s a breathtaking work that left me exhausted and thoroughly elated. Just read it!


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Like Loui Lam, Mari was amazingly open to my questions and comments about her book. I love that dialogue between authors and readers!

If we want to stay alive, physically and mentally, then we shouldn’t play dead. We should be open for new encounters that have the potential to refresh our souls. I remember reading a blogpost about a woman who one day realized that her reading was in fact limited to English and American authors, so she determined to correct this blind spot by aiming to read a book from every country in the world over the course of a year. That’s some goal! There’s so much out there for us to discover and that is why I would now like to make a request:

Tell me about your favourite fiction titles and/or any life-changing books you’ve read and why you think everyone should read them. Depending on how much time you have or want to spend, you can tell me about a single title or many. I’d love to share this list over the course of forthcoming posts so we can all stay alive.

More good news: I competed my second PhD in February, despite all odds. I’m very proud to be able to call myself Dr Dr Joan Barbara Simon (or Joan Barbara Simon, PhD, PhD). Achieving the unthinkable is also one reason why I have been away from this blog for so long. Well, now I’m back, full of love and life and love for life and I want to share as much of what I’m reading, doing and thinking with you so don’t be surprised if my posts bounce from theme to theme: it’s just how I am, not trying to concoct some marketable brand but giving you the real deal on who and how I am.


A final piece of good news: my historical novel, Long Time Walk On Water, is now ranked #1 in 3 amazon categories! It’s a pity that there are so few reviews to let readers know what to expect. If you have read and enjoyed the book and would like to take a few minutes to share your views, please click on the link below.

Review Long Time Walk On Water Vol.1

Thank you for that and hear from you soon with your personal Best Books!