Writing has always been there, lurking in the background and forcing me back to the keyboard. Initially (like all addictions) I thought I could control it by writing a column for Runner’s World. Then came the travelling articles for Leisure Wheels. By that time I should have known I wouldn’t be able to kick the habit.

Choosing to retire at a relatively early age from my Urological practice to feed my addiction, I wrote Facing Surgery With Christ, published by Tate in the USA. In the book I addressed the anxiety of patients with life-threatening diseases. Why? During my time as cancer surgeon I found that doctors don’t tell patients what they need to hear. If somebody tells you that you are going to die, you need something to hold on, at least. It is useless to get lost in medical jargon; you need a realistic and sympathetic approach you can understand. The feedback on Facing Surgery convinced me to keep on writing.
The opportunity arose to explore the personality of one of our extremist politicians and with it the challenge to see if a moderate thinker (like me) could understand the radical mind of Eugene Terre’Blanche. The result was a memoir/biography that was completed a short time before his murder. This book appeared in Afrikaans and was later translated into English.
So, here I am: lost in the world of words and stories. My hobby has become a passion. With two more manuscripts at the publishers I have decided to explore the horizon set by Amazon and Kindle. Imagine: Africa! was surprisingly well received and is available in soft cover as well a e-book format. Then of course, the kind editor of Vrouekeur publishes some of my Afrikaans short stories regularly., which opens yet another avenue to explore. An Australian magazine  (Merise) and a local outdoors magazine (Leisure Wheels) are also kind enough to publish stories that originated around the many camp fires I have been privileged to enjoy.

The world of a writer is often filled with disappointment, rejection letters and half-completed stories waiting for a fitting end. There are characters that keep you awake at night in their quest to become  heroes or villains. It is a strange world – but never dull.   Who knows where this road will lead me to?

I live on the south coast of South Africa where my writing room overlooks the endless Indian Ocean. For company I have a family of mongooses that recycle my kitchen scraps and a pheasant with an attitude. They live the way they should: free to roam in the nature reserve where I stay.
In a way they are just like me: our world knows no boundaries.

131 thoughts on “About

  1. thehappyhugger

    Let me be the first to comment on the “about you” as I have been reading your short stories on letterdash and your other work for sometime now. I have said this before on other comments, but I find your writing to leave me in thought ever so often. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about a story you wrote and the possible outcomes when I lay my head down at night, as you often leave the door open for the reader. I love that about your writing. I also love the soul in your writing. Its there in the your words, in the spaces between your words, in the spaces between the lines…its filled to the brim with heart and soul…

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Most kind of you – thanks. If my stories resonate with readers, I’m always a bit surprised – and immensly pleased. Thank you for your loyal following. It means much to me.

    2. SoundEagle

      SoundEagle is glad to be acquainted with you here and agrees with thehappyhugger. Though your career change has resulted in a “loss” to the world of urology and oncology, you have recognisably acquired a wider audience through your writing, thus resulting in a “gain” to the world of creativity and imagination as well as interpersonal communications that transcend various boundaries to illuminate the interstices of human dramas and ideas.

      SoundEagle hopes that you continue to do very well and find fulfillment in whatever you enjoy doing and savouring, especially through your blog as a creative outlet to share and document your thoughts and opinions, spurred on by your muse to seamlessly weave the characters of your stories together in myriad narratives over vast horizons whilst “Living the life of the common people”, according to the tagline of your blog.

      Happy November to you! SoundEagle would like to wish you a new dawn and a satisfying journey of blogging in the final quarter of 2013. Cheers!

  2. Subhan Zein

    Hi Amos,

    You have got an interesting blog up here! It’s great! Keep writing and keep inspiring. Many people will find your posts are illuminating, I am sure.

    I had a joyful ride in your blog, now I’d like to invite you to visit mine. Perhaps you’d be interested in reading some of my flash fiction like, “Pham and her Gold Fish” and “Emilio and His Axe”? Thank you and have a lovely day, my friend! 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  3. tuna

    My husband was just laughing out loud, I asked why, he said “you have to read this” I did, and I too roared with laughter. Well done you! A fabulous story. Can’t wait to read. More. From the Theunissens x f

  4. Oom André

    Amos jy skryf baie mooi. Daardie mooi geskryfde, lelike storie was die eerste storie in ‘n lang tyd wat my kon dwing om haar klaar te lees én ek het dit geniet. Het jy êrens iets wat jy vir my Afrikaans-studente kan aanraai, iets met minder bywoorde en minder byvoeglike naamwoorde? Iets eenvoudig.
    Vir my engelse Studente raai ek altyd “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” aan dis eenvoudig geskryf en spannend. Het jy, of ken jy so iet in Afrikaans wat jy kan aanraai?

    1. barbwit

      I’m sorry I can’t understand all of your Afrikaans but we saw ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ in London last summer; it was a stunning piece of theatre, not least because of the amazing and innovative set design with all the moving lights showing the passage through the story of the autistic boy. I’m sure the book will be as fascinating.

  5. Jeni Johnson

    Quite the writer I’ve once inspired to be…I don’t know how I captured your attention and I am very hopeful you’ll find some interests in my posts along the way….Thank you.

  6. Roslyn Beeby

    I have very recently been introduced to your writing, and so far have thoroughly enjoyed your stories. Your humour, in English and Afrikaans, is absolutely wonderful. Thank you, a good chuckle is always appreciated!

  7. Long Life Cats and Dogs

    How wonderful to meet a fellow South African in the blogging world. I tend to find people from every country imaginable but very few here. How lucky you are to be writing with a view of the Indian ocean, mongoose and pheasant. Mildly jealous!

  8. Lonnie

    Wow, what a wonderful blog. Already hooked on your writings. I look forward to reading more. I am also honored that you took the time to visit my blog. The very best to you and thank you for sharing your words.

  9. cindy knoke

    Wow! Gorgeous photos! Wonderful About! Interesting life. Talented writer.
    You must be a blogger!!!!
    We self drove through Kruger with our son in 2011 (he’s a grad student in wildlife bio, going to camera trap tigers in Sumatra this summer)……we’re plotting when to go back, further north in the park this time. Incredible and so important to do it yourself, with no overpriced hand holding nanny!
    Safer too, as we were newbies and more cautious!
    We got charged once by an elephant, but the ranger was driving and provoked it.
    Glad to have found your blog!

  10. Opalla

    Thank you for following my Blog, and I’ll follow yours as well, because it is very nice to know of another doctor who writes. I’ll check out your publications and will be back to read more. 🙂

  11. louiseagnes

    Hi Amos, thank you for visiting my blog and for following. Most of all, thank you for bringing me to yours. I really love your writing and I look forward to read more. All the best, Lou

  12. DontYouKnowMe

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and following, I am truly honoured and glad you found something worth your while.
    I’m also happy I can now follow yours, since you have such great witing skills, and humorous style.

  13. Bubu

    your life is what i call a real adventure. it sure isnt easy and perfect, but it sure is beautiful. i hope you’ll be able publish more books. keep on inspiring. cheers.

  14. aj vosse

    Stunning stuff!!

    Jy maak my nie net jaloers nie… jy wen my op Dokter!!

    Kreef op die kole? Of ‘n ou snoekie of twee? Hopeklike een dag voor di bos te ver we rol!!

    PS – Please correct my poor Afrikaans… dis nie mooi om te sien hoe my tall versleg het in 13 Jaar veg van SA nie!! 😉

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  16. soumyav

    A beautiful world out here and its wonderful to know about you and your thoughts as well! Thank you for visiting my blog! It was a pleasant surprise!

  17. Boomdeeadda

    Hello, returning a visit and thank you for stopping by my blog. What an interesting journey you are having. Sounds quite exotic, life on a reserve with a desk over looking an ocean. Must be very inspiring. Alas I am in a tiny condo in a prairie city half a world away. Perhaps I’ll roam around a wee bit more and check out some of your adventures.

  18. ferragudofan

    loving your blog!
    this is a huge long shot but we honeymooned in South Africa nr Cape Town in 2000 and we stayed at a fab b+b run by Wilhelm & Eleanor van der Merwe – sure it is a long shot but just wondered if you were any relation – they were such a lovely family and we lost touch – not expecting you to publish this comment but only way I could think to ask you …. any chance you know them!?!??!
    happy to hear from you if you can help our email is a3art@live.co.uk
    and sorry to bother you if it is a hugely common surname out there in SA!

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Yes, medicine tends to be all-consuming. I loved it. But then, writing is almost as bad. The hours are longer. The patients (characters) are less forgiving. And the pay? What money? Yet if the muse starts whispering, she’s irresistible! Good luck on your journey!

  19. jaimmers

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. As with you, writing has been in my veins all my life, but I have never taken the chance or opportunity to explore it. I am glad to see it can have a good outcome, as it did for you. Loved the photo’s. I will be visiting regularly. 🙂

  20. Angeline M

    Hi Amos. Thank you so much for following my blog. I’ve gone way past the time I usually take to respond to fellow bloggers who have begun to follow me, and I apologize for that. I am already entranced just by reading “About” you. I look forward to reading through your blog, and further in to your books.

  21. thatwiseyogi

    Wow! How interesting! I love picturing the view you describe with the mongooses and the Indian Ocean. It sounds magical. Your words …. “Writing has always been there, lurking in the background” resonates with me very much. As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to write. I started writing ‘books’ as soon as I first learned how to write probably at age 6 or 7. Aside from meditation & yoga, writing makes me feel the most liberated. Thanks for finding me and I’m going to look forward to your posts as well, Dear One 🙂

  22. SnapInTime

    Thank you so much for following my blog- a retired physician and a talented writer, I am honored. 🙂 As parent of a child with cystic fibrosis, I am fascinated by the thoughts you express in your first book, I think I will look that up.

  23. Lizzie Nicole

    Hi there,
    I am an aspiring writer and I must say your “About” page really inspired me to give it all a try again. Do you have any advice to give to someone who doesn’t quite know where to start?

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Hi Lizzie,
      First off: thanks for looking in!
      Writing? Different strokes for different people, I suppose. But…you have to make time for it. Set aside an hour or two, avoid distractions, and disappear into the world of words. Write – and write some more. Get keyboard-fit.
      The problem with writing is that you need that space and isolation to allow the juices to flow. If the passion is there, the rest will follow.
      Good luck!

      1. Lizzie Nicole

        Thanks for the advice! Its actually starting to make a difference, I’m just having a hard time getting used to avoiding distractions. It’s fun how you never realize how many distractions there are until you actually try to concentrate. Thanks again!


  24. cocoaupnorth

    Very impressive “About” page and great achievements Amos. I’m so glad you popped by and followed my blog, so that I can find yours. I have huge respect for writers and great gratitude towards them as reading is my favourite pastime. I will certainly be catching up on your writings, think I’ll start with ET’s Biography. Thank you, I’m honoured.

  25. Gail

    Glad to have found your blog and I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the “follow”, although, after reading your impressive About page, I hardly feel worthy!

  26. bulldog

    I saw a comment from you on the happyhuggers blog, and something made me pop over to have a look at your site… your header had me sold .. I will follow… the Kalahari Gemsbok Park, an absolute favourite of mine… then to read and discover you authorship (is that a word).. and the fact that you were, or are, a cancer surgeon, and the fact that my wife has had three unrelated cancers, had me sold.. I have to follow and do so with great enthusiasm, specially having read a few of your posts… I look forward to your posts…

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  28. cvheerden

    “The world of a writer is often filled with disappointment, rejection letters and half-completed stories waiting for a fitting end. There are characters that keep you awake at night in their quest to become heroes or villains. It is a strange world – but never dull. Who knows where this road will lead me to” The difference between happy people and grumps – to just never give up in face of a challenge, keep exploring instead of blaming. Well done for keeping it going. Publish some pics along with your stories, will you? Please? 🙂

      1. cvheerden

        It for sure is. That’s why us married crowd needs to be real careful how much time we spend on blogging … a partner’s jealousy for little plastic square black buttons can be quite real.

  29. Francois Steyn

    You can be really proud of your book 65 shades of guilt. So very well written, enjoyable and deep. The tiny bullets that can cause death seem so unreal to me at times, too. Amazing thoughts and a good bit of humor. While reading a book, I am always trying to picture how much of the author is there somewhere between the lines. You living alone in a nature reserve, why, and what happened and all, are questions the answers to which would bring me back to this blog much more than a Karoo Novella. How much will Amos tell us about himself?

  30. Amos van der Merwe Post author

    Thank you for the kind words – much appreciated.
    I think most writings reflect something about the writer – and the way he/she wishes the world to be. But…I am very careful to keep me out of the stories. By nature, I prefer a low profile and will seldom go about exhibiting the ‘perfect me’: for that I’ve made too many mistakes, survived too many bumps and lost too many battles. On the other hand – observing people and the way they approach life, is a fascinating hobby. What makes people tick? What worries them? What do we all look for? Mostly, I write about kindness – those small gesture we all long for every day, but so seldom find.
    So – I’m glad if this search resonates with you: it means you are a kindred spirit. It’s always refreshing to find a fellow journeyman.
    Thanks again.

  31. cynthiamc1

    “pheasant with an attitude” – I love that. We have a parrot with an attitude (technically our daughter’s parrot – we are parrot-sitting).

  32. Beauty Along the Road

    What a pleasure to come across your blog – I randomly click on the Word Press challenges that come in and, invariably, am drawn to some of the most interesting bloggers out there. It seems like lately, I’ve seen quite a few blogs from the South Africa part of the world, a sign to me personally that there is something for me to learn there. I’ve only been to a few countries in West Africa (and that was a long time ago). Recently watched a movie “Searching for Sugar Man” which, also, gave me another slice of SA’s culture. I didn’t know that there was so much resistance on the part of whites against the Apartheid regime – that was very heartwarming to learn and had almost the same impact on me as learning about the brave German resistance against Hitler. Looking forward to learning more about South Africa’s new world….

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Hi there! Welcome aboard…and I really hope you enjoy your visit to Rolbos. Yes, South Africa is a complex community – a part of Africa and yet apart as well. Browse around, stay a while…and join the conversation.

  33. Laissez Faire

    “The world of a writer is often filled with disappointment, rejection letters and half-completed stories waiting for a fitting end. There are characters that keep you awake at night in their quest to become heroes or villains. ”


  34. dianagitau

    I never knew that i could find so much inspiration just from reading an “about” page of an author. I am so glad i found your blog and i am truly inspired by your journey as a writer.I hope to one day be the kind of writer that you are and perhaps start by following my passion. Thumbs up.

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      You’re most kind. Having read some of your work, I know your writing is well matured – and wish you the best for the future. Whatever you do, don’t stop following that wonderful passion.

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Hi there – yes, the publishers o the hard copy went bankrupt. Now only the Afrikaans in e-book format, unfortunately. (The English translation wasn’t really good, either) (Not all publishers are nice people…)Thanks for asking, though. Much appreciated.

  35. Welcome and thank you for visiting. Please subscribe to my blog for regular updates.

    I’m happy to discover this beautiful blog!

  36. anonymous

    Wow. I really love this. I’m currently studying to be a doctor, but I’ve always been a writer. My first attempt at writing a book was in fifth grade! Needless to say, that manuscript didn’t make it very far, because kids.
    I still have a passion for writing that I always assumed I would just grow out of! Now I think it’s probably just how I am. I would love it more than anything if you would check out the creative writing on my blog, fromtheinbetween.wordpress.com. There’s nothing more valuable than the commentary of another writer, and I really want to hear from someone as experienced as you!

    Anyways, thanks for sharing 🙂

  37. imaginationisfascination

    Hey there! So far i am loving your blog XD
    i am also here to try and promote my own, new website. It is all about writing prompts and roleplaying plots and i would love if you had a look or recommended it to a few people

  38. Amos van der Merwe Post author

    Môre! Ek sal vir jou ‘n kopie kan aankoop (ek sien hier is nog 1 of 2 eksemplare by ons Bargain Books) en aanstuur, maar ek weet die posgeld is nogal baie. Die 2e druk is – so ver ek weet – uitverkoop en die uitgewer gaan nie ‘n 3e druk oorweeg nie (ek dink hulle fokus is nou op selfpublikasie – ek soek juis nou na ‘n nuwe uitgewer vir ‘n ander biografie). Is daar familie/vriende wat SA toe kom, dit gee ‘n ander opsie? Laat weet gerus – my e-pos is amos@etime.co.za). Mooi bly!


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