Want the Change

And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. -Walt Whitman Change is hard. It’s one of the things we struggle with the most, along with zipping up our jeans after a night […]

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The End

I am thinking today of endings and beginnings, and how we often think we are not ready for either. We are. In the words of A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”   The End The end comes gently, on tiny […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Four

In Crossmaglen the fire burns true The patriotic flame will never die And when you hear the battle cry It will be the fighting men of Crossmaglen. -“The Fighting Men of Crossmaglen”, IRA ballad, 1970s Armagh and Crossmaglen After a wildly comfortable night in a country B & B just outside Armagh (I had it […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part One

Born in this island, maimed by history and creed-infected, by my father taught the stubborn habit of unfettered thought I dreamed, like him, all people should be free. -John Hewitt, “The Dilemma” There was a surreal, joyful melancholy to this homecoming. As we punched through the haze above a sweltering London and soared left, easing to […]

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Before You

Once upon a time (actually, ten years ago today) I screamed and swore my way through 24 hours of excruciating labour before a disturbingly cheerful surgeon sliced open my stomach at 3am and pulled out a tiny wailing creature who would prevent me from sleeping/weeing on my own/having any peace/existing as an autonomous adult for […]

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A Writers Festival Field Guide

The 2016 Auckland Writers Festival kicked off in earnest today, so I thought I’d dust off this Festival-Goer Field Guide (posted a few years ago) and re-publish it. It still holds true. I’ve made just one addition: Number Three. This is because I encountered approximately a zillion of them this afternoon as I queued for AN HOUR to […]

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Ten tips to beat writer’s block

This is an extension of my last post (Writing tips: come and get ’em). It repeats some of the tips, but I’ve added five more, and some other new stuff. Keep reading. “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – […]

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A trio of poems

In honour of World Poetry Day (which was actually yesterday), I thought I would re-publish three of my own poems – poems that are dear to me in very different ways. The first I wrote for my daughter, the most precious thing in my life. It tries to capture those moments in the wee small hours […]

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Love After Love

This poem has always meant a great deal to me. Everyone will have their own interpretation, but for me it speaks of false self and real self; relinquishing the former and finally, joyfully, discovering the latter. Its author, Derek Walcott, was born in Saint Lucia in the West Indies in 1930. He won the Nobel Prize in […]

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Less really is more

Here is another poem inspired by my daughter. It’s amazing how an everyday task can spark a creative impulse. At first I tried to make the poem much longer, and sat for a number of hours trying to come up with more clever and intricate word plays and puns. In the end, I just went with the few, […]

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