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Moments with my son



Maybe I need to be a bit more upbeat… introduce some funny punchlines!

Hey, I got a lovely review for Mansfield and Me in Landfall Review! 

Judging me, judging you




I suppose it’s a bit much to ask, to get through a dental hygienist appointment without full-on commentary and a little bit of judgement. The thing is, you can’t really say much back since they’ve got their tools in your mouth – you’ve either got to listen to them or try and watch the TV up above. Also, I may seem like I’m taking taking the moral high ground, but I’m secretly judging back. The thing is, even as I judge people, I also like them. Perhaps I like them because I can see that they, like me, are flawed and complex and can’t see themselves in their entirety.

Learning languages via email



I have actually tried to learn Maori before – I studied it at university in 1992 (!!!) and I also took a course at the local marae when I was pregnant with Violet. It turned out that the late nights didn’t suit me at the time, and I abandoned it, once more. When I was young, I was a linguaphile and managed to learn German, French, Spanish and some Italian. I studied them at school, and we got the chance to revise every day. Somehow I didn’t end up living in Europe, as I imagined I might, and when a Frenchman tried to talk to me the other day I discovered that I’d forgotten all my verbs. Still, there’s still time… my Parisian/Sevillan/Roman apartment is waiting for me….

If you want to get the kupu o te ra, you can sign up here.




Maybe the frustration of the bus comes from not being in control – there are so many variables that can turn your 15 minute trip into an hour one. It’s crazy, I have my bus app and traffic reports via Twitter but I still can’t tell whether it’s going to be a good or a bad bus day. Oh, to live in a city like Tokyo or Paris, where the subways are constantly whooshing up and off into tunnels! I am not entirely convinced about the electric bike option, given the narrowness of the streets that wind their way to my home. However, I’m still convinced that if buses were more regular, not just down the main arterial lists, more people would use them. And! If they were cheaper! To take my family of 5 into town and back, it costs $25 in bus fares, and since parking is free in the weekend, guess how we go in?

Letterboxes and handbags



I know! What was I thinking? But it’s a scary prospect, fishing a weta and a spider out of a letterbox. What if they run up your arm?

I just came across a card from my grandmother who died 18 months ago and felt sad that that was the last one we’d receive. On the news the other day I heard that postage was going up because nobody was sending letters anymore and it was unsustainable. Letters were dying out along with my grandmothers’ generation. Of course we still communicate, copiously, but there is no longer that paper record of your intimate thoughts and feelings at a particular point of time – words chosen for an audience of one, rather than the group audiences that social media provides. I salvaged a lot of Katherine Mansfield’s dialogue in my book from her letters. I wonder how future biographers will go about recreating lives from our texts, feeds, emails and vlogs.

Also, I emptied out my handbag:


Rape culture




Every morning I get an email from The Nib, sending me political comics about mainly American issues. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t, but mostly I pick one that appeals to me stylistically the most. (I always read my Kupu o te Rā but only sometimes remember what it was a few hours later.) Comics are a very powerful medium for politics, but sometimes they lack complexity. I hesitated about posting this comic because it oversimplified the issue. Or perhaps it didn’t. I really enjoyed this blog post by Bernard Beckett, which seemed quite a lot more nuanced, and something I’d like my son to read. I also really liked this article by Emma Kelly, putting the onous on men to change things. And this powerful piece by Emily Writes. But since things seem to crazy right now, since the world feels like it’s in crisis, I feel obliged to hold up my little mirror to it. It’s so crap that young women today have to deal with the same issues






How has your past week been? Mine is continuing to be a mixed bag.