Thursday, 10 March 2016


Andersons Bay inlet from Silverton Street

looking across Bayfield Park towards the inlet and Dunedin city

Andersons Bay bus shelter, depicting part of the same scene which appears in the photos above

artist's name

bird roost showing spoonbills taking an afternoon nap, bills tucked into their chests. On the stand, a shag (cormorant) follows suit

one of my favourite trees - ngaio (native to New Zealand)

a sign on the wall at the local hgh school

Dear Reader,

The photos above are ones I've taken on my walk around the neighbourhood in the past fortnight. I have got back into walking again after a bit of a lapse through the warm summer. Whenever I thought of walking, the thought of adding the perspiration that that activity brings on to my already-over-heated system, seemed too much to bear; so I resisted the temptation and instead, languished indoors finishing my novel

Just about there! Only a few thousand words to go and the first draft will be finished. Once the end has indeed been reached, I shall leave it for a while, returning to it when my memory of it has sufficiently dimmed. At that point, I shall read it through with fresh eyes. Hopefully in that way any glaring mistakes will be evident. 

While on this self-inflicted hiatus, I will be busily sorting through family photos and historical records ready for a family reunion being held down south during Easter.

I also look forward to being more present. One thing I've noticed about writing in a sustained, focussed way (which I've discovered a novel demands) is how much you have to remove yourself from people. I've tried not to feel too guilty about this, knowing that there was going to be a finishing point and I would again be able to engage. Until the next novel, anyway.

Autumn, my favourite season, has arrived. Even though this means the roses are beginning to wilt and the prospect of tulips, poppies and cornflowers has become a very distant one, this is more than made up for by the burnished shades of autumn leaves and cooler days to keep my temerature at normal.

I will keep this short. Like the lines for a poem I thought of today as I gazed out at the fading leaves of plants and heard the tired toiling of a bee.


Autumn arrives to take
the gloss off
summer. A nuzzling bee

carries on
of the toil of holding on

until the end
of this turning,
burn of seasons.



Di said...

Love it love it love it. The Ngaio is my favourite too. We had one in the garden in Matariki Street ... 100 years old, or more, they told me. I loved this. I've been doing my Morning Pages, for a few weeks now, stunned at how quickly 3 A3 pages grows. I'm ready to begin my book on me, my life and Genova now.

Thanks for the link. You took me home with this.
Much love, as always,

Kay said...

Oh Di! Thank you so much. Yay! I'm glad you are writing your book. Will swap books when they both come out. I'm hoping this weekend will see me pushing this one to the end of that all-important first draft, ready to be pummelled into shape after leaving it to rest for a month or so. Yep, just like making bread by hand.

McDinzie said...

So that's where you have been :-) street walking!!!

Kay Cooke said...

McDinzie - Haha, very funny. Hopefully shall be able to take.a breather from the writing after this weekend. But not the walking.

Avus said...

Authors should always leave a new book to "simmer" I think, Kay.

I am a fan of Kipling who could produce exquisite short stories and I quote at length form his autobiography, "Something of Myself":

“This leads me to the Higher Editing. Take of well-ground Indian Ink as much as suffices and a camel-hair brush proportionate to the inter-spaces of your lines. In an auspicious hour, read your final draft and consider faithfully every paragraph, sentence and word, blacking out where requisite. Let it lie by to drain as long as possible. At the end of that time, re-read and you should find that it will bear a second shortening. Finally, read it aloud alone and at leisure. Maybe a shade more brushwork will then indicate or impose itself. If not, praise Allah and let it go, and ‘when thou hast done, repent not.’ The shorter the tale, the longer the brushwork and, normally, the shorter the lie-by, and vice versa. The longer the tale, the less brush but the longer lie-by. I have had tales by me for three or five years which shortened themselves almost yearly. The magic lies in the Brush and the Ink. For the Pen, when it is writing, can only scratch; and bottled ink is not to compare with the ground Chinese stick. Experto crede.”

Anonymous said...

'llvus - Thank you! Love that. I'll certainly take some of that on board - maybe not actual ground Indian ink & camel hair brush.

Roderick Robinson said...

Dunedin with the sun shining. On my only visit I've never been so aware of what dumb old Northern Hemisphere tourists (I was one, I freely admit it. Am one.) regard as the NZ Paradox: driving south to get colder. Dressed for the comparatively balmy temperatures of the Otago Peninsula I turned impulsively into a government building called Archive just to get out of the weather. A functionary stared at me, obviously typing me as a DONHT, and I switched automatically to journo mode, asking him what he did for a living. Greatly irritated, he told me through clenched teeth and I was impressed by his restraint. Quite soon some of the warmth he was experiencing from suppressing his anger transferred itself to me and I was able to leave.

I mention this because of your discovery "you have to remove yourself from people". Perhaps, but don't overdo it. I suspect that during or after my Dunedin experience I told myself that, sooner or later, it would be worth recycling. That opportunity hasn't previously presented itself until today.

Kay said...

Roderick - No chance of overdoing the 'no contact' policy on my part. Like Margaret Forster (may she rest in peace) I find plenty of fodder on such occasions as rides on the bus into town and in the many quick or slow connections with humans - slight, random, irrelevant, meaningful, tenuous and lasting, that life affords. I have not removed myself from life. Loved hearing about the curmudgeonly Dunedinite you came across. There are many like that in our fair city - but always outweighed by the friendly ones (which even I sometimes endeavour to be).

Roderick Robinson said...

Just one teeny correction. It wasn't my intention to characterise the Dunedin archivist as curmudgeonly; I admired his self-control and (something I didn't mention) his articulacy. Let add this: after a while in NZ one becomes satiated with more strips of beautiful countryside, but never with the cheerfulness, robustitude and individuality of the citizens.

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