Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Ghastly and Gratitude in the Year Twenty Seventeen

2017 has been a year of stark contradictions.

Politically, it's been difficult. The Trump regime has been frightening to watch unfold on their many awful levels. Brexit and European shifts back toward white supremacy have been sickening. War in Syria and natural disaster in Puerto Rico (exacerbated by White House indifference) were heartbreaking. The New Zealand elections were a difficult and rewarding time for women - we lost an incredible mana wahine from the political system to racism and ignorance, and gained a woman Prime Minister. Remaining active in activism locally and worldwide has been intense and draining, but the small wins have been warm sunlight across a grey landscape.

Personally, my writing life was another level again, shifting above and around other years. As the year comes to a close, I can now paint my writing experience in 2017 with hindsight, bringing together a variety of successes and failures into what feels like good progress.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pacific Monsters is here

Earlier this year I was approached by editor Margret Helgadottir who edited the Fox Spirit Books Monster anthologies ("African Monsters", "Asian Monsters", "European Monsters"). Fox Spirit were putting together a "Pacific Monsters" version, and did I have any suggestions of local authors? Sure I did!

So it was a lovely surprise when Margret asked me to write a story for the anthology too. I had the chance to meet with her too when I was in Oslo in August, so that was cool. We had a lovely chat about things publishing, and she took me for a walk around the parliamentary buildings that had been bombed where we spoke of the resilience of cities suffering from trauma. Our experiences and healing paths were different, but there was something of a connection between the two.

My choice of monster was easy - what lives in the cracks formed by fault lines? So was born E, my earthquake monster, in "From the Womb of the Land, Our Bones Entwined".

There is Maori mythology around earthquakes, and I built upon the story of Papatūānuku and Rūamoko. I talk more on this process, and a little of my history with earthquakes, in a blog post published at Fox Spirit Books, "The Spine of the Dragon".

"Pacific Monsters" from Fox Spirit Books, edited by Margret Helgadottir, is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US, currently in paperback form. 

Nga mihi to the people who helped me with my translations, and to the people of Aotearoa for their stories that hold up the spine of the land.  

Cover of "Pacfic Monsters". A sepia toned image of a battered building on a headland overlooking a waterway with an islet and broken signposts.