Sunday, August 1, 2021

Weekly Goals 2-8-21

 Once again I feel somewhat adrift without any writing goals to work toward.  But at the same time, I don't feel ready to write yet.  I'm starting to wonder if I ever will...

Although, I am doing a considerable amount of writing at work.  It's that time of the year where I have a major report to write, so it is never a good time of year to try and do any creative writing anyway.  I have a tendency to run out of words...

I have been reading a lot though.  I finished three books over the weekend, so that's something.  Not quite sure how I managed that with all the cooking I had to do too.  I made four different desserts over two days!

No desserts this week, I swear...

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things 30-7-21

It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

Well... this:

See that #1 best seller banner up there?  Pretty cool, huh?  I've been kind of buzzing about it all afternoon!  

This might just be the news to kick start me into writing again.  Maybe...

Just not this weekend because I have a lot of cooking I need to do this weekend.  My team at work are in charge of running celebrations for Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani  -  Cook Islands Language Week, and my role is to bring the delicious Cook Islands treats for morning tea on Monday.  Which means a big chunk of my weekend is going to be baking said treats...  Luckily I like cooking and baking!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Books I've Read: In the Time of the Manaroans


For some reason I seem to have picked up a lot of memoirs lately and this was one of them, loaned to me from a friend.  I was interested in it because Canvastown is a place we drive through on our way to Kaiteriteri every year, and I never suspected that it was a hotbed of hippy activity in the 70s.

I wish I could say I enjoyed this book, but I really didn't.  I never felt any connection to the narrator or any emotion about anything that happened to her.  The book is written in a way that keeps the reader at a remove, telling us about the events of her life rather than drawing us in and showing them.

Some pretty awful things happen to this poor teenager as she moves from place to place, struggling to get an education and to find a place in the world to call her own.  Yet I never felt any emotions about any of these events.  Unwanted sex with older men is written about in much the same way as painting a caravan.  It's all very beautiful and lyrical, but the language doesn't allow the reader in.

The characters in this story are fairly well drawn, but there is a kind of sameness about them.  For people who professs to care passionately about changing the world, they seem remarkably selfish, focused solely on their own personal journeys and desires.  It seems incredible to me that not one of these people did anything much to ensure these young people living among them were taken care of.

For anyone who has ever imagined hippy life as being free and easy, this book will bring that illusion crashing down.  The hippy world described here is one of poverty and hard work.  Just getting a cup of tea made in the Manaroan commune is a task that will take most of the morning.  Living off the land isn't easy when the land you're living on is unforgiving.

While I didn't particularly enjoy this book, I'm glad I read it.  It gave me insight into a world I was only vaguely aware existed in my own country.  I just wish the author had given more of herself in this memoir as I think it would have been far more impactful if we'd been allowed more deeply into her thoughts and feelings about the places and events described.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

At fourteen Miro Bilbrough falls out with the communist grandmother who has raised her since she was seven, and is sent to live with her father and his rural-hippy friends. It is 1978, Canvastown, New Zealand, and the Floodhouse is a dwelling of pre-industrial gifts and deficiencies set on the banks of the Wakamarina River, which routinely invades its rooms.

Isolated in rural poverty, the lives of Miro and her father and sister are radically enhanced by the Manaroans—charismatic hippies who use their house as a crash pad on journeys to and from a commune in a remote corner of the Marlborough Sounds. Arriving by power of thumb, horseback and hooped canvas caravan, John of Saratoga, Eddie Fox, Jewels and company set about rearranging the lives and consciousness of the blasted family unit.

In the Time of the Manaroans brilliantly captures a largely unwritten historical culture, the Antipodean incarnation of the Back to the Land movement. Contrarian, idealistic, sexually opportunistic and self-mythologising too, this was a movement, as the narrator duly discovers, not conceived with adolescents in mind.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Weekly Goals 26-7-21

 I don't really have any goals again this week.

I looked at the garage and decided there's no way it's ever going to be enough space in there to fit what I need for my painting.  I guess I'm going to need to find a space somewhere else if I'm going to try this.  Or go to a class of some sort.  When I used to make jewelry, I did a class and then because I was part of the school, I could use the jewelry studio at other times when it wasn't being used.

Or maybe I should stop procrastinating and just write something new.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Celebrate the Small Things 23-7-21

It's the end of the week, so it's time to Celebrate the Small things...

What am I celebrating this week?

It's the weekend and that's always worth celebrating.

And this weekend I have very little planned at all, which is lovely. I do need to take my older son to do some barista training, but other than that, I'm pretty free.

I was hoping to get started with my new creative project, but it occurred to me, I don't actually have anywhere I can work.  The type of painting I want to do is messy and I can't do it inside the house.  Which means I need to make some space in the garage for a table of some sort.  And our garage is pretty full of bikes and other stuff.  Writing is actually a very compact creative pursuit, when you think about it.  Most others require a lot of space and equipment.  I'm maybe starting to re-think this whole thing.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Books I've Read: Pumpkin

This is the third book in Julie Murphy’s series featuring larger than life characters in a small town. Characters from the other two books pop up in this one, but never tear the spotlight away from our hero, Waylon.

Overweight and ginger-haired, Waylon is one of the only out and proud gay boys in his small Texas town. He’s just waiting for high school to be over so he and his twin sister can leave town for college and he can finally become the person he knows he’s meant to be.

But then he discovers his sister’s plans have changed right after he gets dumped by the guy he’s been having an elicit affair with and he starts spiralling out of control. On a whim he creates an audition video for his favourite television drag reality show, never expecting it to get into the hands of the entire student body.

But it does, and as a result, Waylon finds himself nominated as prom queen.

Rather than back away from the humiliation, Waylon and his sister’s girlfriend who has been nominated as prom king, decide to go through with it. Waylon knows he’s the biggest queen in school, so why not?

But who knew there was so much involved in becoming prom royalty? And when Waylon is paired up with the very cute and very masculine king nominee, Tucker, things might just go a little differently than planned…

This is a fun, frothy book very much like Murphy’s previous ones, Dumpling and Pudding. There are serious undertones, but for the most part, Waylon’s outrageous adventures will keep a smile on your face throughout. And how nice it is to see plus-sized characters who take charge of their lives and find their happiness without losing weight?

If you've enjoyed Murphy's other books, I can pretty much guarantee you'll enjoy this one.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon, so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.

So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape accidentally getting shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.

Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.

Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Weekly Goals 19-7-21

 It's weird trying to write these weekly goal posts when I'm not writing.  What kind of goals do people have for their weeks when they're not trying to hit a word count or submit to agents or publishers?  Or maybe regular people don't have weekly goals?  I just don't know...  I've spent the last 15 years or so always working on something and focusing my goals around whatever the next step for that something might be.

I guess one of my goals this week is to actually buy the canvasses and paints I want to experiment with.  I don't have anywhere really to do this, so I'm going to try and make some space in the garage where it won't matter too much if I make a bit of a mess.  Because I will make a mess.  It's inevitable!

And that's about it, really.  Seems a little sad, to be honest, but I can't think of anything else I really want to achieve this week.

What are your goals this week?