Much of my early life in Knysna was spent at Chaplin’s drinking coffee. I met a bunch of interesting people there. Colette Murphy was one of them. She’s intelligent, warm and soul-searching. She’s a businesswoman, wife and mom. Many of you will know her from her weekly trekking through Knysna in search of interviews with regular folk whom she’d then feature in Motion Mag of which she was the owner. Recently, she sold it.
When I told her that I was starting Love Knysna, she was quick to volunteer a contribution. I suggested an interview with an art gallery owner but the next day I decided that Colette was the one I wanted first. After all, in some way, many of us can relate to her…
The big question first. Why did you sell Motion Mag?
Colette: No easy decision. It was my creation. I took it from conception to the age of a young adult. The reason I sold was that I found that I had become a complete businesswoman – dealing daily with contracts, people management, debt collection (an awful reality to deal with in Knysna), and the likes. I am a writer and journalist and found that I had no time to pursue these passions, let alone accurately edit my own work published in Motion Mag.
What are your plans now?
Colette: That is a secret for the minute. I am cooking something on my computer and will divulge the exciting news in the near future. But, whilst chasing down this idea, I pick up any freelance work that interests me and write creative pieces as often as I can.
Are you a Knysnian forever?
Colette: However much I love Knysna (always have and always will), I know to never say “forever”. Life is in a constant state of change and I do not know where I might end up. What I do safely know is that I will love Knysna forever!
You obviously have an attachment to Chaplin’s Restaurant because your husband owns it but tell us where else you like to hang out and why?
Colette: I have always been a coffee shop junkie. I draw an enormous amount of inspiration for potential writing material from coffee shop environments. Sadly, Knysna does not have many ‘quaint’ coffee shops left but I do enjoy hanging out with friends at The Tin House Cafe (formerly known as Chaplins on Grey) and East Head Cafe.
Pasta or steak?
Colette: No competition there – pasta – a good, saucy, fresh Italian pasta.
Ice-cream or chocolate?
Colette: I scream for Chocolate. It’s good for every sense and a natural anti-depressant (dark chocolate that is).
What makes you such a dog fanatic?
Colette: All animals, not just dogs, practice unconditional love and we can learn from them. Heard a great joke: Lock your wife and dog inside your car boot for the day. Later, when you open it up, who do you think will be overly happy to see you?
Ha ha. Classic:) You’re a big reader and movie lover too. Which are your favourites and why?
Colette: Such a difficult question to answer for this constantly changes…and there are so many favourites. However, I am an enormous fan of South African author, Andre Brink, and enjoy playwright, Howard Barker too – I love their descriptive style and honest language. As far as movies go: love old Hollywood director, Frank Capra, the movie Life is Beautiful and Pan’s Labyrinth…
Colette: Anything creative, even if I am not good at it. If I can get my hands full of clay, paint or any other artistic medium, I am happy! I am also very passionate about theatre. I wish that we had a culture in Knysna that understood theatrical performance enough to support it. I wish we had an active theatre here. It was tried and failed. That makes me sad.
It’s obviously a rough period for Knysna? What are your thoughts as you hear so many sad stories?
Colette: Of course things are rough…and I think that small towns like Knysna make it even worse for themselves by generally being very pessimistic. Worry breeds worry and so on… I have, in the past, helped many who need help, but I have since decided that we are all the creators of our own reality and if those who need help do not help themselves, then I am no longer interested in helping them. We all need help and receiving help should be a catalyst to helping ourselves – a motivator. Instead, we often drag others down with discouraging words, pessimistic outlooks and point fingers at others because they are not doing enough for us. Silly thing is that ‘they’ are our reflections and we are the conductors of their music; their movement. This is a long discussion… these are a few of my thoughts… there is so much more…
What gets you through?
Colette: Looking at myself as hard as I possibly can. Not being afraid of rocking the boat so long as I maintain the goal behind doing so – not to cause disruption, but rather to promote positive change. If something is not going well for me it is ENTIRELY my fault and I need to change it.
Your daughter’s 11 now? What’s the best advice you hope she listens to as she grows up?
Colette: To know that she is the sole creator of what happens in her life and that real communication with yourself and others is the key.
You recently started a blog? What motivated it?
Colette: I had a reflective period in my life and I knew that I had to change a whole bunch of old patterns that were no longer serving me in a positive manner. The best way for me to reflect, observe and change is to write. In the past, I had a nice following on my column in Motion Mag and so decided to start a blog – firstly for myself to have a new (changed) writing space, and, secondly, so that i could share it with others. Another reason was to adjust my techno-phobic dis-ease:)
If you could build a home anywhere in Knysna, where would it be? Why?
Colette: On The Heads – with a view of the sea and the lagoon!
Look out for Colette’s future articles on Love Knysna.