Learning to Live With It

It's the middle of winter here in New Zealand, and we're already seeing signs of new life all around. It's a gorgeous, sunny day today so I've just had a traipse through my garden. It's heaving with welcome signs of spring, like the purple flowers starting to put out their spears on the hebe shrub, … Continue reading Learning to Live With It

Editing Poems with a Giraffe and an Ostrich

Where I live on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand, towns are the filling in a very beautiful sandwich. One slice of bread is the turquoise Tasman sea, which is garnished with Kapiti Island, a bush-clad native bird sanctuary and reserve 5km off shore. The other slice is the perpetually green slopes of the Waikanae … Continue reading Editing Poems with a Giraffe and an Ostrich

Sounds of Silence: TN and Tinnitus

Silence is golden - or so it's said. I wouldn't know. I always thought silence was a utopian exaggeration. An absence of ambient sounds with plenty of space for background noise to make itself known. A fantasy state dreamed up by children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard types as an excuse to punish children who took the 'seen' part of … Continue reading Sounds of Silence: TN and Tinnitus

Creating Soundscapes: 9 Ways with Words

Last night was a crap-television night. We haven't signed up to Netflix or Lightbox, so rely on whatever offerings the free-to-air channels serve. Yesterday's menu looked more like leftover crusts of sandwiches from lunch than carefully prepared cuisine. Often I'd just tuck right in to a book instead but last night we treated ourself to … Continue reading Creating Soundscapes: 9 Ways with Words

Sanding Down and Polishing Up: redrafting short stories

Notes jotted in the margin in a different colour ink reminded me of ways of crafting early drafts of stories that I'd learned at a writing workshop by Vivienne Plumb, a New Zealand poet, playwright and author. She shared some great suggestions, and I have subsequently added more of my own ideas for writing short stories, such as character development, enriching themes and meanings in stories, and writing dialogue.

Sixteen Habits of Mind

June 1st. Here in New Zealand that means the last, colourful leaves of autumn drifting off from the trees. It means the feijoa and passionfruit crop is over for the year, and it's time to prune the trees to replenish and make room for spring growth. Time to buy that electric blanket to replace the … Continue reading Sixteen Habits of Mind

5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

There's a change in the air. The tropical, coconut lemony smell of summer has faded.  The air is thinner, clearer. Last week, the air was thick enough to wrap around us like a blanket - now it's more like a filmy sheer curtain, with a window behind it letting in an uncomfortable draught. Most days … Continue reading 5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

The Words in my Notebook

Words - I love words. Words that probe and words that play, words that delve and words that dance. Words that explain, words that explore. I'm not so keen on words that complain and words that hurt, but they do have their uses. I have notebooks full of words. What writer doesn't! But some of … Continue reading The Words in my Notebook

What Women Wear

Breasts are in the news again. This time, it's a photograph that's the problem. A photograph of a young woman with no top on. She sent her photo to the man she was dating. He then shared it with colleagues at the school where they both taught. I say worked, because one of them was … Continue reading What Women Wear

Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname

Billy Bones. Roribug. Little Bear. Flop-Eared Houndybeast. These are some of the nicknames I have for my daughter and grandchildren. Well, the last one belonged to our dog, who had many and varied nicknames. The kids don't have floppy ears. I'm sure we'll all be familiar with the concept of nicknames as affectionate (or otherwise!) … Continue reading Why Trigeminal Neuralgia Needs to Lose its Nickname