Weekend web reading

Thursday, 28th October, 2010

Halloween Special

 

Wellingtonian's can join in a mass zombie shuffle this Saturday.

Chris "Neck biter" Price reads at Lembas Café, 34 Poplar Ave, Raumati South, this Sunday 4pm + open mic.

Creepy Mummy toe!

Spooky - are we living in a hologram?

Heathens on all Hallows.

Evil e-readers

Spooky stories vs scary statistics.

Lloyd "chainsaw" Jones twitter chat.

Get up! Get on up! To James "Brains" Brown in creepy Palmerston North.

 Arrrrgg!!! It's almost Christmas!! Don't worry, you can get me one of these.

 

 

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Quick Ten with Michael Nobbs

Monday, 25th October, 2010

Michael Nobbs

Michael Nobbs is an artist, blogger and tea drinker (not necessarily in that order) who has been blogging since 2004,  he lives on the side of hill near the west coast of Wales and likes to keep things simple. Michael answers questions about maintaining a sustainable level of creativity. I recently read his new book Sustainable Creativity, which I think is excellent and totally recommend. If you are super quick you can buy it at a very reasonable rate (US$9) until Sunday October 31st, after which point it will go up in price. 

Buy Now

 

Michael writes and publishes The Beany, an illustrated journal of his life. He talks about drawing and how to get the Important Work done despite having limited energy. Michael was diagnosed with ME/CFS in the late 1990s and over the last decade has learnt a lot about sustaining a creative career with limited energy. 

You can follow Michael on Twitter.

Some of these questions were donated by the fabulous Helen Lehndorf.

 

HL: How do you work through your creative low patches?

MN: I don't always work through them, because creative low patches often correspond with physical low patches so have to get dealt with with lots of TLC (and tea drinking). That said, if I can, I try to do a little (sometimes very little) bit of creative work most days.

 

HL: Have you ever felt like chucking your blog in? If so, how did you resist the urge?

MN: I've never really felt like giving up on my blog, though it has at times been almost in hibernation (a bit like me). For the two years I studied for my MA my blog as very quiet, and at times when my health has been particularly poor posts have been quite sporadic.

Over the six or so years I've been writing it it has been a huge help in shaping me as an artist and a writer. I'm so grateful that I live when I do, with all the Internet has to offer.

 

HL: What is the weirdest fan/admirer interaction you've had?

MN: Nothing weird so far. I live in hope...

 

HL: What is the best thing that's happened to you through your online life?

MN: Learning to think of myself as an artist, and then as an artist who makes his living from his work.

 

HL: How much time do you spend on your art everyday?

MN: Ten minutes some days, more when I can.

 

HH: I think your suggestion of bites sized chunks of work is great for everyone, especially procrastinators like me, not just people with low energy. Have you got any other tips to trick our procrastinating / tired selves into productivity?

MN: Get a timer! Just setting it for twenty minutes (or even ten on a bad day) every day and working on something until it rings means you can slowly but surely build up a body of work.

 

HH: Do you think procrastination can have it's uses? I read this article recently...

MN: Good article. I think it is always important to be kind to ourselves, especially if we are ill and limited in energy, but even if we are healthy.

It is very easy to decide we are lazy (and from my experience it is often the people that push themselves the hardest that give themselves the worst time about being "lazy"). I spent years berating myself for not doing more, when in actual fact I was pushing myself far too hard and just making myself ill. Better to be gentle with ourselves, recognise we have limits and work within in them. That said, if you really want to do something, don't be put off by how overwhelming it seems, just think of the first little step you can take to get started, and then the next and then the next...

 

HH: Joseph Beuys said "Everyone is an artist". What would you say to critics of this quote?

MN: Everyone is welcome to their opinion.

HH: I would add that perhaps we should not see creativity as the special realm of "artists", but that everyone should apply creative thinking in their own area of specialisation - whatever that may be.

 

HH: What are the benefits of cataloguing / drawing everyday things?

MN: They are handy. When I was at my illest, the things in front of me were the only things I could draw. The habit stuck.

 

HH: What are you reading at the moment?

MN: A Year of Questions by Fiona Robyn

 

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Tuesday Poem: The Canto of Ulysses by Megan Clayton

Monday, 25th October, 2010

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Penelope at the door

or Penelope on the shore

 

knows no-one’s coming home.

The house is over-run with

 

idiot suitors; the slaves

build coracles that each day

 

sail further and further out.

The birds of prey nest low;

 

their eyes measure her for

carrion. Carry on. No-one’s

 

coming home, but no-one. No-

one’s coming home.

 

 

Megan Clayton, better known as Harvest Bird after her eponymous blog, is a writer and university teacher from Christchurch. Her poems are short lyrics in the late modern style, from whose practitioners, past and present, she draws inspiration. 

Megan is also the poet in residence at Bat, Bean, Beam - Giovanni Tiso's weblog on memory and technology. You can read more of her work, and the story of how the partnership evolved, here.

I have a personal fascination with Ithaka and the Odyssey. I love the repetition and the rhythem of this piece and the image of the slaves sailing further out in their coracles every day.

For more Tuesday poems visit the hub.

 

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Weekend web reading

Tuesday Poem: Midnight Under a Full Moon in a Field in Minnesota by Sara Blackthorne

Monday, 18th October, 2010

Sara Blackthorne

Sara Blackthorne is a writer, editor, and novice photographer living in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin. She loves to knit, read, and ride her bicycle everywhere. Stay tuned for an upcoming writing workshop for women about finding the courage to tell your own story by checking out her blog or following her on Twitter

What I really like about this piece is it's light touch. Love poems tip so easily into saccharine but this one manages to be quite electric. 

 

 

Midnight Under a Full Moon in a Field in Minnesota

 

 

Let me lean

into you.

 

With all the ease of

weight

 

less

 

ness

 

my head

upon

your shoulder

 

I watch your fingers

under mine

each word

 

I try to sing

without forgetting.

 

stars keep spinning

 

We stand there

dancing, still.

 

Tonight we

watch the moon unravel

catching her bare,

unadulterated.

 

Let me lean

into you

 

our outline

fingers

tracing

 

lips just

brushing.

 

 

For more Tuesday Poems visit the hub.

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Birthday

Friday, 15th October, 2010

 

 

 

 

Two years ago I wrote a list of things (below) I wanted to do by now, some of these things I've √done, some I've *abandoned and some are +in progress / on-going...

I haven't finished half of them yet but looking at the list now I can see it was a bit ambitious! (haha). Ah well, we live and learn.

This week I turned 40. I thought perhaps 40 would be a scary age but actually I'm more relaxed now than in my 30s, the kids are old enough to be less stress inducing but young enough to be not teenage stress inducing. ;-)

The biggest things I gave up on were the Young Adult novels but I feel good about it. Last year I realised I was a poet, not a novelist and that isn't a bad thing.

I feel pretty good about the things I did do, and they were fun. Some of the in progress things are closer than others but I can see them happening. I don't feel the same desperate sense of urgency I did two years ago.

= What's on your To Do list? =

 

40 things I’d like to do before I turn 40

 

Sew a quilt +

Complete Frida’s Wardrobe project *

Finish my poetry manuscript √

Finish my YA manuscript *

Catch up on my WIP pile +

Do an overnight tramp again *

Go on a crafty girls road trip √

Transfer my vinyl to mp3 *

Read at least one book a fortnight √

Swim once a week *

Stay overnight on Kapiti Island +

Take the kids to visit the European rellis +

Dance more √

Make mix-cds for my friends +

Ride a toboggan down a snowy hillside +

Collaborate with a singer *

Exhibit/curate a women’s book collaboration +

Get some topographical maps *

Teach myself to play the recorder again √

Go roller skating √

Practise speaking foreign languages +

Start a second poetry manuscript √

Start a second YA novel *

Start a fire without matches √

Write a play *

Walk around with headphones on just breathing √

Skinny dip again +

Go to a tropical island +

Grow some decent tomatoes *

Say NO more often √

Take a big risk √

Send off more poems √

Go to some live music √

Clear all the pruning rubbish off our section √

Plant blueberry bushes and a stone fruit tree √

Turn a dead zone in the garden into a social space *

Dust off my fire-poi +

Start up a seed swap and a vintage sheet swatch swap √

Do more public performance √

Take the boogie board out again +

 

 

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Weekend web reading

Tuesday Poem: poems from Slip Stream by Paula Green

Monday, 11th October, 2010

I am thrilled to be able to show you not just one poem this week but a suite of poems from Paula Green's newly launched collection of poetry Slip Stream (Auckland University Press, 2010). These are the first four pieces of the book, which "tells a personal story of breast cancer, from an initial mammogram to biopsy, operations, radiotherapy treatment and recovery. The poems chart time passing and seasons turning by procedures done, books read, appointments made, food cooked and dreams dreamed." 

I'm just going to let the poems speak for themselves, then tell you to rush out and buy the book. To read more Tuesday Poems visit the hub.

 

Slip Stream by Paula Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She drifts in the slipstream

of the slim margin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes she worries that she is not worried.

She is very calm. Like the white page before she begins writing

or the water in the cat’s bowl.

She wonders if she should yell at passing cars.

Or get wild and pull out all the weeds along the grass verge.

She just wants to get on with things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the first day (a lifetime ago) a diagram

is sketched to show where she is and she hears

good news (she will be cut to be cured)

although she is suspicious of the fat gape

between medical jargon and English verbs.

 

 

How to drive out into the world?

In the organic shop she thinks she is hallucinating,

the organic produce produces streams of organic colour

that match the organic voice from behind the inorganic counter.

Nothing feels solid enough to walk upon,

but she takes her apples and pears to the inorganic car

trying not to fall through organic space

or slip through to another universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They fly to Queenstown but she has to bear

the weight of a phone call mid-air

(‘ninety-five per cent of women

in your shoes have nothing

to worry about’). Privately,

she laughs at her small collection of footwear,

mostly Chucks, and the way numbers seem to fall

like shooting stars and picture books

on the bright side,

according to the oncologist.

She is used to off-road driving and the weakness

of chance. They drive for hours through pillars of rocks

the burnt horizon a sleepy distraction.

 

It’s not a deep-seated worry,

just a flutter of the imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shedding belongings

Saturday, 9th October, 2010

Haberdashery stash.3

When I look around my house I see a lot of “stuff”. Some of it belongs to me, some to my partner, some to our two kids. We seem to attract it like powerful magnets.

We have a generously sized house and we find it hard to say no. Many items have been given to us by friends, some are on long term loan from friends overseas. Some of the stuff we inherited from family members that have died. Most of it has a story behind it, the story gets me every time – how can you get rid of a narrative? Isn't history important?

For example, I have shelves and shelves of books. They've been collected over my 36 years of reading, 20 of those years have been in the book trade. Some I bought new, some were books I edited or promoted, some I found second hand like treasure, some belonged to my parents or grandparents, some were given to me by friends - “You have to read this!”. Obviously there is usually a narrative within the pages too.

My father likes to give me books, he also hoards books but by passing them onto me they are not quite gone, just in an extended library. So he never really has to let them go completely. Some of the books he gives me I love. Some I'll probably never read but how can I get rid of them? They're precious things, also precious to someone who is precious to me. At the same time they are a heavy weight .

I also have boxes in my basement that have some of my deceased Great Aunt's belongings, not expensive or important things but crazy vintage packaging and little everyday but personal items. I can't bring myself to get rid of them, they are social history, her history. I have an outfit she wore to my parents' wedding. I wont ever wear it, it doesn't even fit me but there it is in the photo and on the hanger, like a time machine in bright teal.

She herself used to hoard things, she came of age during the depression. Nothing got thrown out, it was either mended or used until it disintergrated. All sorts of things might come in handy, little bits of string, glass jars, old Christmas cards, you name it.

Of course if I lost all my stuff in a house fire it wouldn't be the end of the world, they are only things. The first things I would save from a fire would be my partner and children, naturally. So why do I hang on to stuff? The object isn't the memory is it?

When a person passes away all you have left of them are their belongings. I have an evening purse that belonged to my mother, inside is a tissue with her lipstick blotted onto it, in the shape of her lips. It's the closest I'll ever get to being kissed by her again. Yet it isn't her, all it does is assist in generating memories. The clothes I kept of hers used to smell of her, now 20 years on they've lost her scent, they're just a husk.

We fear losing things, we fear not having enough. Objects become more than objects, they become magical links to people, memories, safety, love. Yet these objects can also weigh us down and hold us back from the future. How can we let go of physical objects without letting go of the magic? Should we let go of these things? What's the harm in holding on? What do you think?

 

 

(Inspired by the lovely Bindu)

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Weekend Web reading

Thursday, 7th October, 2010
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