many moons

moons_1Hello! Its been a few moons since I posted…I took an unintended break there for a bit!

What have I been up to? (I’m going to assume the fact you are reading my website means you are interested…ha ha.) Last year I received a grant from the Earle Creativity Trust to write a book about my life-long practice of keeping a journal. It was so wonderful to get the grant and I’ve been busy working on this time-bound project, which has to be completed in 2016 (a condition of the grant.) It will be coming out SOON and I will write some more about it later this week.

Here’s a bare bones catch-up of the rest of my working/writing life since I wrote my last blog post: I finished year one of a permaculture design course last year, but took this year off the course to work on the journal book. I also had a go at making yoga teaching my main source of income, really didn’t like it and am back to teaching just two classes a week, which is just the right amount for me. I had a year’s contract working for an environmental trust, doing communications and events work, and now I’m back at Massey, teaching writing.

Working with the Palmerston North City Library, I edited this anthology – you can download a .pdf version here. I gave a talk about nature writing at the Massey University-based symposium, ‘Working With Nature: understanding entanglements of humans and nonhumans in the Anthropocene’.  I have a lot to say about nature and writing and nature writing, so I really enjoyed being a part of this great event.

I taught at the 2016 Kahini Retreat – it was terrific, a whole weekend of being steeped in writing and writing conversation. There will be another one in March next year, in case you like the sound of it! Kirsten from Kahini interviewed me for the last one. 

Me and my dear friend, Nga Taonga Puoro artist Rob Thorne  collaborated on a performance combining poetry with music, called ‘Tohu’. Huge satisfying fun, and we hope to do it again soon.

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I was part of Massey University’s ‘writing in / writing of’ talk series, in a panel about Manawatu writers.

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In May, I read with Janet Charman, Belinda Diepenheim and Johanna Aitchison at the Palmerston North City Library. I’ve loved Janet’s writing for a long time, so it was a real privilege to read with her when she visited Palmerston North from Auckland.

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Last Friday was National Poetry Day and I read with other Seraph Poets and friends at Vic Books in Wellington, Paula Green took some great photographs. 

I also started (with my friend Marolyn Krasner) a writing group we call the Manawatu Sunday Writers Group. We meet, you guessed it, one Sunday per month. There is always tea and cake, it is very casual, very supportive and we don’t intensively workshop stuff (unlike other groups I’ve been part of in the past). We read our work out loud to each other, share writing-life news and opportunities, and have a lot of fun!

Whew! I think that is all the major stuff I’ve been up to over the last year…I’ll probably think of a bunch of stuff I forgot as I drift off to sleep later tonight – that’s usually how it works, right?

My most recent creative act, though, has been painting moons. My friend is opening a shop in town with a theme of earth-based and earth-friendly hand made things. So I’ve been making moon gift tags, wall strings and cards for the shop. It is so much more enjoyable than writing poetry, which is always kind of masochistic and gnarly for me.

I promise it won’t be many moons before I write again!

 

 

you can’t lie to yourself when you are walking

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My favourite mode of transport – my feet.

I like walking. I do my best thinking when I walk. I have my best thoughts. I process stuff. I see interesting things.* I couldn’t walk there for a while (about 18 months) because I had a pesky injury  which precluded walking, much to my horror,…but it’s better now and so I’m back to the way of the plod, foot over foot.

* (You have to walk without music, though, and without your phone in your claw. Put it away, for the sake of all that is holy, or better yet, leave it at home.)

I live in a very flat town. I miss hills. I’ve lost my hill-fitness (I know this because of the walks I take each time I’m back in Wellington.) I miss not knowing what is up ahead because of the terrain. Manawatu is big sky country. You can see for miles up ahead.

The best place I ever lived for walks was up a hill in Newtown in Wellington. The green belt was about fifty metres from my back door. I could be high up in the pines with an grand urban vista within a few minutes. Bloody lovely.

I also lived in Island Bay for a brief spell and when I moved there I swore I would walk along the beach every day, and I did, in all kinds of weather with a baby in tow.

No sea here, no hills, but still there is stuff to see, places to go.

I like reading about other people walking. I’ve read quite a few memoir about the Camino. I love Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve read the Peace Pilgrim book. No Destination is another fascinating memoir of a long, long walk.

A recent walk around Lake Taupo – Willow trees and rowboats…

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So, with all this love of walking, I was fascinated to read this essay over at Dark Mountain blog recently about the Dutch artist Monique Besten who has made walking part of her artistic practice and process. Like Peace Pilgrim and Satish Kumar, she is walking to make a political/spiritual point. She wears a men’s three-piece suit (the ‘soft armour’ of her essay) which she embroiders along the way. She is refusing speed and fear and comfort in order to go very slowly across Europe, meeting people, finding things, making art along the way.

Right now she is walking from the Netherlands to the south of France. She expects it to take 99 days. She is 17 days into her trip and she is blogging it. You can read it HERE. Go back to the start and read it chronologically, perhaps…

I am enjoying it so much! It’s like the books I mentioned above, except with the extra thrill of being in real time, so each update is an account of her day.

Wonderful rich stuff for the fantasy life of the domestically tethered.

Lake mirrors sky – Lake Taupo…walking_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wellington, you flirt, you tease

I went to Wellington for a reunion of sorts with three old friends (they are not old, our friendship is old) and the Morrissey concert, which I can’t write about today with spewing a whole lot of gushy superlatives and sounding somewhat unbalanced. Three word review: it was sublime. The end.

Anyway, the day after the concert, still hanging out with aforementioned friends…Wellington turned on one of those rare (I must remember that it IS rare!) perfect weather days, searing heat, blue skies….one of those ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’ days. It was one of those days so beautiful, I got pangs of ‘I want to move back to Wellington! Waaaah!’ which I haven’t had for years, because, much to my Wellington friend’s incredulity, I like living in Palmerston North! My friend Richard who was hosting us, lives up in Roseneath on the top of Mount Vic, so the views of the sparkling harbour were breathtaking and the walk down through the green belt to the waterfront for a picnic was lush and lovely.

There was picnicking, forest rambling, tree swinging and then after a very warming (!) walk back up to the top of Mount Vic our perfect day ended in Richard’s pool (yes, he is one of about five people who have an outdoor pool in Wellington).

Charmed, it was! See for yourself:

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