I was going to write about all my feelings around this last week in New Zealand.
But if you follow me on facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or stumble across me in comments on news items, you will know very succinctly how I feel; I feel just like the rest of you. Unless you are someone called something like Aron, Derek or Ryan with a fb profile full of guns and army fatigues. Pro tip- never argue with these people. It’s a waste of your intelligence; you will become stupider with more contact.
So, wiping myself down with sanitising cloths after emerging from the sewers of social media (funny how you trip into them unwittingly and then have to try and claw your way up out of a slippery siding), I will tell you a little more about my residency and how that is going.
Dunedin proves to be more beautiful every day, despite some students being totally unaware that being a Tidy Kiwi keeps it that way. My husband took to brushing up broken glass and rubbish in our little street and it looks much better for it. I think he may have guilted the Young and the Feckless into following suit, because it has remained almost spotless for a few days now. By the time we leave here in August, the students will have run out of money for takeaways and beer and be deep in work they should have done in the first semester. It will be very quiet. Bless.
I have visited Hoiho: yellow eyed penguins and Tunnel Beach and marvelled in the stunning coastline. Taken a trip to the quirky and fascinating Museum of Natural Mystery, The Otago Museum, gone to music performances at The Marama Hall and of course quite a few new favorite coffee spots with fellow writers and visiting friends... and the odd bar or two. I am pacing myself, because I don't want it all to run out before I go. It won't of course, Dunedin has a myriad of things on and I am entertained daily. It would be easy to forget what I'm down here for.
So, how's that novel going, part two.
With a new project, I find, there is the standing around the edge of it, peering over the side, stepping back and going away to think about it a bit more. Like a high diving platform. Summoning up the courage to commit, because once you do, there is no going back and everything else is a distraction you really don’t need, in case you hit your head on the board. I can report my diving is not up to Olympic or even national standard. I got my bathers wet and have to work on my technique. Let’s call it a shitty first dive. But there are parts of it I like very much, so I’ll keep going, because that’s what this time is all about. I can report I have also, as part of what is turning into a graphic novel of sorts, drawn a lot of rats. I have saved one as my instagram profile to ward off the requests from 'Single Dad, Ohio' (aka, scammer with a laptop and Western Union account for me to pour money into) to get to know me better. I don't think they will be able to in all seriousness say 'Hi Beautiful'. Unless they have a thing for rodents.
I’m still sketching people. Here’s one I did on Friday 15th March, in the morning, before the Christchurch Mosque massacre and the rosy tint fell from our happily deluded glasses. The Ides of March.
I was at an iDFashion talk by Kate Sylvester and was fascinated by this birdlike lady in designer clothes in the audience. I wote something.
Kate talked about Francis Hodgkins, inspiration and sustainability.
The tiny woman fell forward, caught herself, fell again.
She was unsustained. By the talk. By food.
The WORLD at her feet, fashion forward, modelling Twiggy of her youth.
Fashion just could not hold her up.