Thank you Dunedin, and hello procrastination!

Piratey, vector versionI had a ball in Dunedin. The event was technically a sellout (well, a book-out), and there was a really great vibe in the room. I suspect I waffled on a bit too much, but that’s an occupational hazard. No-one seemed in danger of losing the will to live, so I count that as a win. I got to meet some people whose work I’ve admired for ages, as well as catch up with some old friends. And I managed to drag my sister-in-law along for the first time too, which was great. It was the same night that the All Blacks were in town for a match against Fiji, so the numbers were doubly pleasing. I think the five of us were a good mix – definitely something for everyone. (I may never be able to get Richard Reeve’s voice intoning the phrase “in to the compost” out of my head …) There was a weird moment at the end though, when a reporter from a kids’s radio show asked us what advice we’d offer any children who were interested in becoming poets. The question itself was fine. It was the fact that he asked it in broad pirate that was a little strange … not to mention two months early. (Maybe I should set a poem challenge in pirate? Oooh, the possibilities …)

Fortunately we were back home before this latest spell of horrible weather arrived. Sunday was spent listening to the wind howl and rain spatter against the windows. Monday morning we woke up to three inches of snow blanketing everything … One of the reasons I love winter is that the weather is often conducive to curling up in my chair with a hot water bottle, and getting stuck in to some serious writing. Unfortunately the weather this time was bad enough so that my other half had to stay home from work, and for some reason I never seem able to write much when he’s at home …

I think procrastination is possibly my greatest talent. Nice weather? Ooh, must get out into the garden. Or talk to the chooks. Or sit in the sun for a few minutes to boost my melatonin levels. Cold and rainy? Better check on the chooks / close the windows / sit there dreaming about the sound it makes on the roof / get dinner on. And the new poem doesn’t help – it takes me a good half hour to get myself back into the right frame of mind to see where it’s going. And for every one stanza we move forward, I’m writing eight and deleting seven. And that’s the good days. But I do, at last, have a finished first draft. Which is just as well, as I’ve started to resent the amount of my life that the poem is demanding, and am scuffing my feet down the perilous path of asking myself not only is this any good, but is it worth it, is it an important poem? – and after that, the only thing you can do is abandon ship and hope like hell someone else in the water has a nice deep gash on their leg and/or is wearing the shark-attractant bodysuit today. (Any takers?)

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