Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well I may dip out on grants, awards and residencies of literary note, but the Glory is mine this week. Or should I say its Penny's, my lovely editor at Scholastic- it's in her inbox as I write. All 39,617 words of it. We have just finished the final edits for this, my third junior fiction novel and now all that remains is the mark up, typesetting, proofs, printing, distribution, launch, marketing, launch and selling of lots of copies...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Youth filled summer

New Year 2009 and I find myself in a place I’ve never been before. Not the physical space- Hataitai remains the same as ever; Salvation coffee down the road annoyingly closed until the 14th (but I’ll be there panting at the door for Graham’s great brew), the weather mysteriously changeable and the garden suffering a great lack of weeding. But this year, both offspring are working at pizza parlours and restaurants and no, they don’t go back to school at the end of the month; they start Uni semesters late Feb. So we now have two adults in the house all day living vampire hours. I feel in an odd sort of limbo; the ‘going back to school date’ has always been a kind of deadline for me to regroup for the year and start work again. You know, the endless putting stuff out there and seeing if anything comes back kind of life that freelancers have. So here I am on the 13th January thinking ‘Crap! I probably have to start now because if I wait until Uni goes back we’ll be well into the year and I’ll still be dithering, not to mention broke.’

So I have started gently by running a summer writing and illustration workshop with Saradha Koirala who is an upcoming writer and poet with a string of successes under her youthful belt already. We have a keen bunch of 12-14 year old girls in my studio daily, learning skills to inspire them into the future and I am relishing the delight of that age group who are old enough to make witty and entertaining conversation without the teenaged slouch and emo that comes with turning 15.

Our own daughter has been there and done that (giggle, slouch, emo) and has now emerged as a fine young woman about to turn 21. I found this picture I did of her when I had a new box of pastels and she was a ten year old. Who knew at that age what she would find as her passion other than her cat? Who knew who or what would inspire her along the way? As teachers of one sort or another, we can show, point and ask questions of our youth until they find out what it is they love. I hope that out of our little group of aspiring writers and artists this week, some will find their way with words and images in the future and be the storytellers of tomorrow. Because without them, society is colourless is it not?