Friday, July 04, 2014

Is this Oscar's motive? ---and I'm going to be REALLY lazy and use this as my #4 Confessions of a Failed Author ;-)

Just going on 06:00 16:00 7:15pm.  I've had my latest Oscar Trial eBook on Amazon [download the free Kindle apps here] since about 9pm last night and already sold  9 19 22.

Jani Allan also contacted me on twitter and asked why is it available in the UK but not in the US.  (It was still going LIVE at the time).

It's a great compliment getting favorites and retweets from the likes of Ulrich Roux, David Dadic, Jacques Steenkamp, Dr Ross Tucker - hang on, Dr Tucker didn't RT or favorite but the Doc (who I quote extensively in the book) did share some more interesting insights on Oscar and the IAAF, the the schema of sport and PR, from wherever he is in Belgium.  If you're curious to that pretty long tweetersation, check out our twittersteams.

What I really want to talk about, and even more, want the media and the public to absorb into their own narrative, is the question of MOTIVE.  Even Gerrie Nel has essentially dodged dealing with this directly.  It's a crazy case, because after 37 days, Nel is still dancing around MOTIVE and Oscar's defence are still dancing all over the place, trying to nail down first one defence, then another.  After 37 days we still don't know what it is.  It's not Meryl Foster's GAD, it's not a putative self defence (is it?) and now we're into a third, or is it fourth explanation from the defence, this whole amygdala hijacking business.

I believe - and I cover this in depth in the 2nd last chapter (Motive - the Undiscovered Country) anyway I believe Prof Wayne Derman, (from UCT's sport and exercise medicine dept - I wonder if Tucker knows him, or knows of him...) is onto something with his...assertions of floods of adrenalin and panic and so on.  But he's only halfway there.  There was plenty of flooding going on, over several hours, and you'll see why when you look at my carefully crafted contextual analysis.

I'm obviously not going to give it all away here, buy the book here, and dive straight into the last 2, 3 chapters.  Point is, we are straying now into the real heart of the case.  And into Oscar's heart.  And state of mind.  What was going on - inside Oscar - when he fired those shots.  The public and the media and just about everyone else has been maintaining all along that we will never know.

Actually, thanks to Google, an army of Oscar Trial TV experts, realms and realms of print journalism available online, and not least of all Oscar and Reeva's OWN words - in social media - there's an orgy of evidence.  I guess not everyone has the time or space to throw it all onto a pile and piece it together, but that's what happens when you write a book.  You have to.  And while I was doing that, just innocently putting a narrative together, Peet Van Zyl testified and my whole narrative suddenly slotted PERFECTLY into place.  That's how I got to #motive [in small caps].

I kinda went  a little crazy. I really thought - and I do - that I was, I am, onto something HUGE!  I contacted a few inner circle type journos, and then was surprised that they didn't seem to be getting the message.  #MOTIVE!  I contacted a network of freelancers but they seemed to also, have better fish to fry.  And a lot of big hitters said they'd be calling me first thing in the morning...I guess they're all still 'all-Oscared out', to quote Leonard Carr.

I asked someone who I gave an advanced copy (still in Word.html) whether I was just being a megalomaniac.  She said no it makes perfect sense.

I thought if I had pieced it together it would be a matter of minutes or hours before someone else would. Then I got a commitment from a journalist at YOU magazine that they wanted this, and wanted exclusivity, but then didn't go further than that...and that was a few hours ago.  Well, it's about a day ago now.  But then they went radio silent and seemed to be distracted by...deadlines and other stories I guess.  And so did all the other journalists.  I also got a call from eNCA's Gia Nicolaides. She also seemed to think it made perfect sense. Enough to volunteer to inform Gerrie we'd spoken, if their paths crossed.

So we'll see what happens.  Potentially this text here [ja, this stuff you are reading right now...this word...and that one, and even this typfo - might be included in some breaking news press release by some overseas news-wire in search of a Google-able any time perhaps tomorrow possibly even next week eventually].

Before I sign off, I want to share what I think is great about the whole eBook deal.  It's new to me.  I thought you needed a Kindle or had to pay to download an app (all the apps are free).  And the only reason I took this route was because (see paragraph 1.7.6B, above, exhibit XXXY) you do the work, you do your analysis, but no editor has time, or mental energy to pay attention to your story, and it gets lost in all the Oscar noise.)  So what to do with these narratives?  A local writer told me, Dude, ePublish.  I scoffed.  Then I thought I'd give it a try.

There's something amazing, if you love writing, and research, and want to deliver a quality narrative, that you don't have to take it to an editor with a begging bowl.  You don't have to invoice, or lose control of your text and see it pop up, distorted and filled with mistakes, and worse, often errata that isn't even yours.  What's more, you make your own brief, set your deadline, and oh joy (oh curse! the reader says) no damned word limits.  Resurrection is 222 pages, almost 60 000 words.  Compiled in 2 weeks.  That's effectively 120 typical magazine length articles, 8.5 a day.  Not impossible, but no mean feat.  And easier if you forgo food and sleep.  (Check my Facebook timeline if you don't believe me.)

I digress.  The beauty FOR THE READER is that with an eBook you can seamlessly move from narrative to online reservoir.  From narrative to YouTube link.  From narrative to an image link. You're reading it on a digital device, the links are inserted in the narrative, so it's just a matter of choosing where you want to explore, where you want to find your own insights, and where the basic narrative is enough. Hell, that's far more interactive and rich than print! It means the eBook experience is immersive, exciting, kind've like an adventure.  I imagine fantasy is better on the printed page, because let's face it, imagination - the reader's - is the writer's most potent weapon. 

But with the potential dreariness between occasional action sequences in a trial narrative, it's nice to be able to spice things up.  Provide color, and context.  Easy.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  Go to this link to see what I'm talking about.  And now blad de this is starting to make more sense and it's not blah blah anymore.

On a more personal note, I'm going to admit something here that may make a lot of people angry.  Or those who have been following me may be surprised. In piecing this together..Look, I am very angry with him, and I think he could have been a lot more honest, and a lot more honest a lot sooner.  That's my opinion.  But I felt a deep agonising sense of...something...based on what I've pieced together, and this unexpected emotional tug is what convinces me my attempts to lay down an authentic narrative mean something.

Having compiled the #MOTIVE I then went and looked at this moment, because I wanted a sense of...I dunno...I guess beyond making sure exactly which words Oscar used to confirm my intuitions, I wanted an emotional confirmation.  

And for the first time, I felt like I real saw Oscar.  I'd encountered Reeva viscerally like that through compiling Reeva in her own Words, and have been her knight upon shining keyboard ever since.  

But once I'd cottoned onto #MOTIVE and once I looked at this, and when I listened to Derman becoming flustered (argy bargy as David 'O Sullivan described it), and I recalled Versfeld's painful testimony of what it is like to be Oscar, struggling to walk or balance...that's when I encountered him viscerally.  The imagination is a powerful thing, and the way you solve a case like this is to put yourself deeply, intimately, in their shoes.
Reeva tweeted something along exactly those lines...

Because social media happened, is happening and continues to evolve, I think we completely underestimate it's power and reach, ESPECIALLY in a case like this. Ordinary people underestimate it. We love it but we don't quite know the EXTENT of it on our lives, though we're starting to feel it's inexorable presence.  The media.  They dip into it, nowhere nearly enough.  Lawyers. Celebrities.

Now look at these two.  Oscar and Reeva. Both public figures.  Publicly branding themselves. In social media.  Did someone miss that? because all along both Oscar and Reeva have also been revealing their heart and mind-stuff in a stream of consciousness. And that's where we start to see intent for the first time.  Accumulate enough private thoughts expressed in social media and you have their own narrative.

Perhaps in future cases social media will play a more central role.  I mean, for example so a deceased person can speak for themselves from beyond the grave.  And not rely on that patently difficult setup where the accused, who may have...a #MOTIVE...emphasises things like...well, she told me she loved me, look here's the card, here's proof etc. And while we were together this is what [the person I later killed] did and said.  Oh and by the way, one of the last things she said before I killed her by mistake was that she [insert convenient term of endearment here].

In my perhaps not too humble opinion (but 'with respect') I think it's strange and unfortunate that both Gerrie Nel and Barry Roux dipped so lightly into these streams. Yes, the character evidence stuff.  But they ended up going there anyway.

Both counsels could have very effectively bolstered their respective cases.  Perhaps the perception is that it is all noise and nonsense.  But when you align the real world with these self-expressed intentions, and sufficient structure through dates, times, facts, and key moments, then the narrative can't slip away.  

We got some of this from Whatsapp, including that absolutely vital essay from Reeva herself. But I've uncovered equally if even more compelling sentences, slights, situations and scenarios on Facebook, twitter and even YouTube.

I mean, we forget that this sort of thing is out there, in the public domain, all you have to do is remember it happened, and search.

Knock, and the door shall be opened.  And then you find this:

and this (embedding disabled)

 and this.

 Recent, yet easily forgotten.

I did not fire at Reeva - Oscar

 I've spoken about #MOTIVE in the last few chapters, and provided what I think is the first definitive possibility.  Kind've like The Griekwastad Murders - The Crime that Shook South Africa version of finding out the girl was raped, and thus you immediately see a few possibilities for motive.

What I've pieced together is not as dramatic - or maybe it is.  It could just make international headlines during the next 24 hours, and this is no exaggeration.  The few people who've read it so far have been both shocked and impressed by its portent.  The ultimate compliment will be if it achieves some hype and Gerrie Nel refers to it (or uses it in some way) between now and his closing arguments.  Then, my job will be done ;-)

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