I’m going to be an auntie! Wow! Scary. Shit. Wow!!!
(Yeah yeah, I don’t have any biological siblings, but he’s still my brother, ok? And he’s going to have a baby!)
Friday Theme the second.
He finds it hard to concentrate on work before she has blogged for the day. He keeps the mouse hovering over the refresh button. Click, click, click. Sometimes he starts a game of Minesweeper, but he loses patience, keeps clicking at random, even after he’s blown a mine.
Usually she blogs mid-morning, and he can settle down and attempt to do some work. Some days she doesn’t blog until the afternoon, and he spends most of the day switching restlessly from one window to another. Work, blog, work, blog.
He knows they are deeply connected. The week he discovered her blog, the newspaper horoscope said he was destined to encounter love. She had a list of 100 things about her, and at number 53 he found her birthday. Leo, his perfect match.
He devoures each entry like a love letter, like an electronic caress. Sometimes he sends her signs of his devotion. Screeds of comments flowing after her entries. He shares his passions with her, his hopes. He doesn’t know her name, but he imagines something slightly foreign, like Chloe or Madeleine.
She’s late today. His stomach is grumbling, but he doesn’t want to leave his desk. He searches in his desk for a muesli bar to nibble on.
Her entry slides onto the net while he is rummaging through the drawer. When he goes back to check the page, her words load into his mind.
Today she is blogging about creeps on the net who think they’re in love with her. “None of you know anything about me,” she says. “You’re just cyber creeps.”
He is aghast. The indignation spreads through his veins, chilling his blood. He types a heated comment, fuelled by anger. He’s disgusted.
How could anyone do this to his precious flower?
I got a poem accepted by JAAM!! My first ever proper publication. I think they even pay. Wow.
Facing up to one’s own prejudices can be a difficult process.
For the first 20 years of my life, I didn’t even notice it. I thought everyone could live the way I lived. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with Maori and Pakeha treaty activists that I realised how race shaped my own life. Yes, white privilege exists. When I first realised I that had privilege, it was painful. I didn’t want to admit that others lost so that I could gain. And I didn’t want to give anything up.
Racism (along with sexism, heterosexism, and all the other isms) is seldom overt. In its subtler forms it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove or overcome. It’s often denied, disguised or rationalised until it becomes invisible. Often it’s not even conscious.
Overt racism happens because of what people think and feel. Covert racism often happens because of what people neglect to think about. We all have preconceived ideas. Even the most tolerant people hold onto racist stereotypes. I know that I have been guilty of this myself, on many occasions. Often. My behaviour was explainable. I didn’t intend to make a racist judgement. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. But… that doesn’t mean my behaviour was justifiable.
Racism is pervasive and persistent, from our expectations of people, to the language we use, to the images portrayed in the media. It could be as subtle certain details being left out of a history book. Or a shopkeeper being (unconsciously?) influenced by the colour of someone’s skin, and seeing them as suspicious because of this.
Racism isn’t just perpetrated by Bad People. That’s the scary part. It’s perpetuated by nice people, intelligent people, people with good intentions. People like you and me.
There are stereotypes that I still cling to. If I want to get rid of them, I have to admit to owning them, and that’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s worth it.
“Being part of the dominant culture is not a bad or shameful thing. Instead, it creates an opportunity to make conscious, constructive steps in understanding the people of the land. It is obvious to me that the challenge starts with myself, with my pronunciation, practice, values and everyday thinking. Decolonisation brings with it the challenge of personal development, which will in time re-shape partnerships, families, communities and nations.” – Alex Barnes.
I went to hear Briar Grace Smith speaking today. She was wonderful, and she read from a couple of short stories. And she told us how once an actor in one of her plays felt so strongly about his character, and wanted him to be redeemed, that he spontaneously ran onto the stage and cried, “Forgive me, son.” Caused a bit of confusion, as the lighting technicians didn’t know it was going to happen, not to mention the other actors, the director, and the playwright!
I’m currently reading The Heart Sutra by Caren Wilton, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a bit scary though, I swear with one or two of the stories she must have been spying on me, taking notes about my life…
Well, the good news is that I don’t seem to have the Swen Virus. I’ve been getting lots of “Undelivered Message” emails that say “The file drotqww.bat was infected with the virus Worm.Automat.AHB and has been deleted because the file cannot be cleaned.” But there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the virus on my machine, so I guess it’s sending itself out from somewhere else and making it look like it’s coming from me. Annoying bugger. I can't believe how many hours someone must have put in to dreaming the damn thing up.
The not so good news is that my emotions still seem to be going haywire. The slightest little thing happens and the tears start welling up. Maybe it’s because I broke my sugar fast. Maybe my meds need adjusting – I keep forgetting to go in for a blood test. Maybe I’m just tired.
I went to a self-defence course on Saturday, which was really cool. Now when I hang out in dark cemeteries pretending to be Buffy, I won’t look so silly, cos I’ll actually know how to punch and kick.
Ok, no, you’re right. I’ll still look silly.
But seriously, it was really good. We got to swear and yell and kick lots. And learned lots of nifty tips that will help in all sorts of situations, not just being attacked. It’s unlikely I’ll ever need to use the kicking and punching, but the general stuff about assertiveness is very good to think about.
The trouble is, rather than getting attacked in a dark alley, I tend to get into messy situations with people I know. And then it gets much more complicated if you knee them in the balls…
Today I went to hear Ngahuia Te Awekotuku reading from her New Book. It’s a full on book, but fantastic. If you’ve ever wondered why Hinemoa pretended to be a warrior, or why Tutanekai spent so much time with his “slave,” Tiki, then you should read this book. And if you’ve never wondered questions like these, then you should definitely read this book, and stop taking everything for granted. Still not convinced? Well, it’s got vampires and aliens and plenty of lust… kind of Maori fanfic, only much much classier.
Emma Robinson O’Brien, who directed the new video clip, was given a simple brief. “She said come up with any scenario I liked as long as it looked great and she wasn't portrayed as straight.” For the video Charlotte learned the tango in one lesson, lead by professional dancer Merenia Gray. “The combination is electric on screen and the result is, I hope, a video that offers a story of a love that will accept you however you are.”
I wanna learn to dance…
I didn’t realise it was Wednesday till it was too late. Got home from work tonight and realised I had to write a couple of chapters of my novel, plus a few pages of critiques, plus a poem about St John’s Pool, which I hadn’t gotten around to visiting. Luckily I was able to persuade a friend to drive me there (stopping for fish and chips on the way) and it was kinda cool going at night. We saw glow worms.
I’ve been typing away madly for hours, and this blog entry is sort of my wind down, letting my brain shut down and my fingers slow down… down down down… sleep soon.
Lately a lot of people (and I mean a lot – like, almost everyone) have been telling me how young I am, and frankly, I’m getting sick of it. And then I was thinking about the MA course, and how, if you don’t have a degree, you have to have lots of “life experience,” or something… so I started turning my thoughts into a poem, a sort of CV of all the experiences I’ve had. It’s not finished, but this is what I’ve got so far. As usual, content may disturb blah blah view at your own discretion.
CV: Life Experience
Have you ever
emptied a birthing pool
bucket by dark red bucket?
Have you held the hand of a baby
and heard the gasp of her tiny lungs
as the life support switched off?
Have you donned a hard hat and earmuffs
to work in the mills
then switched to
short skirts and stockings
to assist the CEO?
Have you ever worked late
spreading your legs for seven men
in one night?
Or singing lullabies
to sleepless children
wiping their bums and placing them back
in their wheelchairs?
Have you ever
wielded a machete
on the gorse covered slopes
pounded nikau seeds in a bucket
then waited nine months
for their green fingers to unfurl?
Have you watched a house burn down
or seen the wreck of a car?
Been raped by a man who said
You aren’t much of a lesbian now
Have you thought for three long months
you carried his child?
Have you ever had psychosis
or a gastroscopy
or an anaphylactic reaction?
Have you been Juliet and Constance
and the First Witch from MacBeth?
Recited your whakapapa
in a pub?
Played Pachelbel Canon
then Drowsy Maggy
and danced the Tarantella?
Have you ever organised a hui
or a vegan barbecue
or run GE Free stalls
the length of the country?
Have you been asked
by school kids
why lesbians have short hair
or how big your dildo is?
in the psych ward
or kicked out
for being possessed?
Have you kayaked
the Swedish archipelago
and picked wild
strawberries in Norway?
Have you lit incense
in an underground shrine
and, kneeling on tatami matting,
learned the words to Pokarekareana?
Have you slipped in the mud
by Mont San Michel
and wept at the dark wonder of Chatres?
in various languages?
Have you learned the Spanish words
and how to tell a small child
she will soon go blind?
Have you ever
pressed a knife
into your own flesh?
Seen seven shooting stars
in one night?
Learned the value of your life
by trying to end it?
Have you done all these things
in twenty-two years?
Then don’t tell me
I’m not old
(warning: sexual content may offend some viewers)
Isn’t it weird having a crush. The way your focus becomes so intensified. You notice every glance, every smile… every word becomes heavy with meaning. Suddenly you are acutely aware of the way his leg presses against yours in the next seat, or his hand brushes your shoulder as he passes by. It’s like a secret language: Surely he must notice the touches, the heat of limb against limb. Surely he must feel the connection. At night the city lights seem brighter just knowing that one of them shines from his street, his house, his window…
God I’m cheesy!
I just love being in crush…
As long as there’s little chance of anything happening.
I don’t want that.
I want a quick shag with my skirt up and my knickers around my knees, over before I have a chance to feel vulnerable… I want to be tied down and beaten. I want pain. I understand pain.
Yes boy, I want you to kiss me, touch me, use me, screw me… I want you to slap me across the face as hard as you can. I want you to caress me with a cold blade and draw red tears from my back.
And then I want you to leave me.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.
It is, however, much easier to read when the letters are in the correct order.
On paper it’s easier to read serif fonts, because the serifs help the letters blend together and it is physically easier on the eyes and brain. But sans serif fonts seem to be the preference on the web. Times remains the most popular print typeface, but it was designed to fit as many letters on to a page as possible – but still remain legible. The subtleties of the font don’t translate well to pixels, and the proportions of the letters can cause problems.
There’s more about web typography at Webmonkey.
Check out the new menu that shows Recent Comments. If you don’t see yourself there, well, you’re just slack, aren’t ya!
Also new… I’ve worked out how to do macrons – these change the meaning of some words in Māori. If you don’t see a line above the a in Māori then let me know and I will sigh and shake my head in frustration.
Thanks to Iona for the tips.
One of the characters in my novel has just attempted suicide, and I'm like... hey! This wasn't in the original synopsis! It's all rather alarming and unexpected. Honestly, there were no suicides planned when I started writing, she just sort of fell to pieces and the next thing… Poor girl, she hasn’t had it very easy.
I’ve been having this weird dream at night, there’s some kind of apocalypse and the oxygen gets sucked out of the air. And I must start hyperventilating in my sleep because I wake up and I can’t breathe properly, and my fingers and lips have pins and needles.
My cluckiness has now been transferred to small fluffy creatures. Want Cat. Now. Sooooo cute! Preferably a tabby kitten. Or a British Blue…
Troilus and Cressida was fabulous, you should go, but find out a little bit about the play before hand – we got slightly lost.
The hair was an accident, honestly. I have trouble communicating with hairdressers. Or cheap barbers in Newtown. For those of you who haven’t seen me in person, I have a sort of fluffy mohawk… mostly people seem to like it, and the latest crush interest approves, so it’s all good.
I’m off to the gym where a personal trainer is going to bully me into finishing my new programme. I just want to go back to bed…
To top off the week from hell, last night I managed to lock myself out of the flat. At 1am on one of the bitterly cold and damp nights that Wellington does so well. Luckily a knightling in shining car with a fluffy hot water bottle came and rescued me… yay.
The sun came out for a while this afternoon and I got all enthusiastic and repainted the white lines on the edge of our steps. We’re finally having a flat warming party (a year late) and I didn’t want anyone to break their neck trying to negotiate the path in the dark. Now the sky has clouded over again, so I’m hoping it doesn’t rain on my wet paint.
I’m going to see Troilus and Cressida tomorrow. Set during the Land Wars, the music for the performance is composed by Gareth Farr and performed by Strike. That alone makes me want to go – Gareth Farr was my hero for years. And I love Shakespeare – especially set in interesting times/places/contexts. I miss acting. One of the best – and most intense – weeks of my life was acting in the inaugural National Youth Shakespeare Production. We did a brutally deconstructionist take on Richard III, and it was amazing. Apart from the bit where I fell over part of the stage.
If you’re in Wellington, you should pop down to the Bluenote on one of the next two Thursdays, to witness the end of an era. Tyree, the incredible woman who hosts the Mad Genius Songwriters Nights is leaving to finish an album. Thursdays just won’t be the same. They’ve become the day I look forward to, my home in the city, the place I know I can go and speak my mind and feel supported. Yeah, sure, the nights might keep going, but it just won’t be the same.
Warning: Iona, you might want to cover your eyes for this next bit. Also anyone else who is allergic to small children and/or maternal instincts…
I’ve been getting ridiculously clucky lately. Really, it’s very odd. It’s new and strange and slightly alarming. I’ve never seriously considered joining the breeder brigade, and when I’ve been asked I’ve said “probably adoption and not until I’m at least 28.” But now…
Perhaps it’s because several of my friends are pregnant, or wandering around with gorgeous little babies: even people I thought would never breed. It must be contagious, and I’ve got it. I want to rest my hand over a round belly. I want a small child to snuggle up to me, and cry to me at night.
I’ve started assessing every man I meet based on his genetic potential. “He’s tall, which is good, and obviously bright. No glasses. Do you think musical talent is hereditary? And Oh My God his hair! I want a baby with curly hair.” No doubt if any of the guys in question could read my thoughts they’d run a mile and then another 80 miles without stopping for breath.
But my new thoughts about men aren’t the most alarming thing. It’s the way I see babies that worries me. Instead of going “oooooh isn’t he cute,” these days I go “He’s adorable… he’s perfect. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s mine. What’s that woman doing holding my baby? Give him back, now!” One of these days I’m scared the urge to have a child will overpower me, and I’ll just grab one and run. At a birthday party recently two of my cousins were joking about giving away their son to a good home. He’s adorable, about two years old, part Maaori with a halo of light brown curls. Instead of laughing at the joke with everyone else, I started trying to work out how I could fit is bed into one of my rooms, and where he could go to kindergarten. Yikes!
What the hell is going on with me? Is it hormones? Is it spring? Is it going to go away? My mind still wants to keep studying, working, see some more of the world… but my emotions are just screaming, “Want. Baby. Now.”
I wonder if guys go through this? A lot of them seem to be more interested in the production rather than the maintenance end of the process...
I found my old self again. She was cowering under the bed, all pale and trembley. Not even chocolate could entice her out. I tried burning herbs to restore harmony, I crammed fresh flowers into a vase and played soothing music, but to no avail. Finally I dragged her out by force and carted her off to the Bluenote. She soon crept back out of her shell, and by the end of the night she was giggling and chatting and singing along like old times.
But now she’s slept through her alarm (screenprinting T-shirts seemed like the most important thing to do at 2am) so now she’s going to jump in the shower and run to class.
Will blog later.
Possibly also a thunderstorm.
Lack of blogging due to depressed, grumpy and stressed state of resident blogger.
But really, your week can't possibly be as agonising as mine.
The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then
It's the end of season three. School's out - forever. Angel is leaving - also, apparently, forever. The mayor has just turned into a giant principal-eating snake, and the school has been exploded. There are firetrucks and ambulances everywhere, sirens screaming. In the midst of all this, Giles tries to make intelligent coversation, but Buffy's mind is not functioning on the higher levels. The only words she can string together are, “Fire bad. Tree pretty.”
If it had been me, I would’ve said “Tree pretty. Fire pretty. Ooooooh fire!”
Fire is incredibly beautiful, as anyone who’s gazed into a campfire for hours will know. But it can also be dangerous.
One of the most terrifying memories from my childhood is one of watching television at home. We turned off the sound during an ad break, and heard voices in the distance. Just for a moment I thought that it was people laughing. Then came the chilling realisation that they were screaming. We ran outside, only to see the house across the stream completely ablaze. And, just for a split second, I was thrilled. Not in a “this is good” way, but in a “this is exciting and I like exciting” way. I’m not sure which memory is scariest, the first flash of realisation, or the instant of thrill.
I think some boys are a little bit like fire. I see them and I say, “Oooooh pretty. I want.” But boy, they can burn. And I’m not even talking about abuse or anything. I’m talking about nice boys. Well, actually, no I’m not; most of the boys I fall for seem to have a dark side… so really I’m talking about charming boys.
For some reason my taste in women is completely different. I tend to go for women who have a lot in common with me, who are kind and respectful and intelligent and thoughtful. Usually writers. And often with accents. But always, thoroughly nice. It’s not that women can’t burn, I just don’t seem to go for the fiery ones.
Anyway, speaking of boys, recently I showed one a poem that I wrote, and his response was “wow.” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or burst into tears; the last time I showed a boy my poetry and he said “wow” he went on to kiss me, and then he sent me a rather nasty email. To be fair, he did apologise a couple of days later, but there were many tears before the apology. Then he stopped talking to me altogether. Ok, so I did say that if he wanted to get rid of me the best strategy was probably ignoring me, but I didn’t think he’d actually do it!
Anyway, the poem in question this time is one that I am quite pleased with. I wanted to post it on my blog straight away, but I wanted to see how he reacted to it first. Apparently, after I gave it to him, folded up, he forgot about it, and only found it a few days ago. And yes, he is a boy of the “Boy cute. Fire pretty” variety. But… I don’t think he would be interested… so I’m probably safe from burns etc. The approach I am going for is an attempt at very mild flirting that could be construed as gestures of warm friendship. That way if anything goes wrong I can pretend nothing happened. See? See me being careful around the flames?
What are the chances that he’s reading this? Oh well, my new resolution, as of this week, is not to censor my emails based on what other people might think… unless someone might get hurt unnecessarily. I’ve been editing out so much lately, I’ve almost run out of things I can say.
Anyway, the poem. In our landscape class we had to write a poem about a creature/object/element from the natural world, and we had to bring into the poem “the least natural thing” we could think of. It had me stumped for a while, but in the end I started writing a poem about a ruru that I saw on the Heaphy track. It was when I got lost in the caves with a scary American guy (see 100 things number 27). We found our way out of the caves, but couldn’t find the track in the darkness and mist, we were stumbling around in the dark, trying not to fall into any deep holes in the limestone. Suddenly this pale creature flew towards us… it was amazing. I didn’t know it at the time, but in some Maori traditions ruru are the spirits of people who have died, and that’s exactly what I thought that night… this was a spirit. It flew so close that I could actually feel the air moving from its wing beats. It was a powerful moment, and one I’ve tried to capture many times in poetry, but I’ve never succeeded. At least not according to Alistair Paterson.
So I started writing the poem about the ruru, and I wasn’t sure what to bring into it, but I figured something would come. I started fishing around on the Internet – an infinite source of poetry. I began looking for information about the spirit/ruru connection… then I found a site explaining that the puukana (the wild staring eyes in the haka) imitates the wide-eyed stare of the ruru. So I did a Google search for puukana (actually for pukana, because the net isn’t very macron friendly yet) hoping to find out more. Browsing through the pages of results, I found a picture of this guy who I’ve been getting to know recently. (I really want to link to the picture but I’m trying not to name anyone in this post). It caught me by surprise, as though it was an important moment, like the flash when the ruru flew towards me. My heart fluttered a little. And I said, Thank you, I have my poem now.
We woke in a nowhere world
of limestone tunnels
mist and lichen
trailing from the trees
the ground dissolved
under our feet
we heard a sound
like a child crying.
the creature followed us
like a pale shadow
a hungry spirit.
I reach out
follow a bright strand
weave through cyberspace.
I am startled
by your wild eyes
with the moko.
On the phone my father
tells me he was startled
by a low flying ruru
that almost crashed
through his windscreen
as he drove into the valley
but I am still thinking
about meeting your eyes
my heart quivering
like the puurerehua
into the night.
We don’t have a proper shower, we just have a bath with a “shower tap mixer attachment." It looks kind of like this:
When I got back from Wellington, my flatmate casually mentioned that the rubber bung had somehow been sucked down the plughole. Tommy doesn’t care because he only has baths anyway – but I care. Oh boy do I care. This is real serious. In fact, the health and safety of Wellingtonians could be jeopardised. Not having a shower has the same effect on me as beer had on a bunch of college students in Beer Bad. I turn sub human. I get real clumsy, and real grumpy, I smell real bad, I become incapable of communication beyond grunts and gestures, and I have limited understanding of… well, anything… Oh, and I have the worst bad hair days you can imagine. The last time I didn’t have a shower, this is what happened:
I think I might have to open the bottle of sauvignon that I’ve been saving. I could whittle down the cork and shove it into the spout.
I know you’re out there, somewhere, reading this… You know who you are.
I have your gloves. Am holding them for ransom until such time as you release your car and your body to me for exploitation.
I need stuff from the garden centre. I need transport. You have car. I have gloves. I think we can work this out, don’t you?
Meet you somewhere dodgy, perhaps on Saturday. There may be a hot chocolate in it for you.
PS: When I said your body, I meant I wanted you to help lifting bags of compost. What did you think I meant?
I ate meat. Lots of it. For the first time in four years. At the ninetieth birthday party there was lamb and chicken and ham and beef and salmon and tuna... and a few roast veggies. And trifle, sponge cake and cream; a vegan’s nightmare. Just as well I’m not vegan anymore. It was ok, as long as I didn’t think about what I was eating, because then I felt sick.
None of the reasons I became vegetarian have changed (mostly environmental issues, animal rights) but I figure if I eat mostly organic meat it’s not so bad. This sugar free thing has been driving me nuts. You’d think, after four weeks without refined sugar I’d feel a bit better, healthier, or something, but the grumpiness and lethargy hasn’t worn off completely, and I spend most of every day groaning “want chocolate, need chocolate, chooooocolate...”
Anyway, I’ve decided that since I’m cutting out sugar and grains (for a plethora of health reasons) I may as well give the Atkins diet a go. Hence the eating of meat. If I’m cutting so many things out, then I need to add a few things in, otherwise finding anything to eat is a problem.
Yeah, I know, a lot of people (including our very own Kim) have argued against the Atkins diet. Well, I hear ya... I agree with Kim’s points about the huge energy wastage involved in meat consumption... but I’m only going to eat meat for a couple of weeks, and then I’ll be back to my lentil and tofu regime. And I haven’t exactly been environmentally conscious with my binging sprees when I have been known to eat a whole packet of chocolate biscuits, a box of chocolates, a couple of donuts and a litre of chocolate milk in one sitting.
The thing is, the Atkins diet really makes sense to me. I know that when I eat fewer carbohydrates I feel healthier and have more energy. I know that grains and sugars exasperate my health problems, especially my allergies. The whole carbohydrate / insulin vicious cycle seems logical. And my mum and dad have been doing it for a while now. They’ve lost about 10kgs each, they feel healthier, they have heaps more energy, they don’t crave snacks as much, and they look so much better. I want all that. At the moment, I feel really fat. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I want to fit in with the stick figures in magazines and movies. My weight has fluctuated a lot the past few years, I’ve been slimmer than I am now, and also fatter, and I know that I feel best when I’m about ten kilograms lighter than I am now. Plus I’m outgrowing my clothes and I can’t afford a new wardrobe.
So, I’m giving it a go. And getting serious about it – weighing everything and counting everything (I had 20.15g of carbohydrates today) which means I’m eating a lot less than I was before – which is a good thing. I ate way too much, ate when I wasn’t hungry and then some. A change has got to be better. Right?
Oh, and the title of this blog? I'm not really guilt tripping. In fact, I'm kinda proud. A few more weeks I will be able to look chocolate in the eye and exclaim "you have no power over me!" And everything will start to break up and drift through space... ooooh trippy.