Birthday girl

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hey it’s my birthday!
I know that
but do you?

I popped out of my mother
upside down and early
and I jerked and jumped

right out of my pram
they called me Jigger
the baby who never lay still

when you think of the odds
what a miracle
what a marvel, what a thrill!

and every single day since then
I’ve clambered
out from the dark of sleep

and there I was and here I am
with another 20 years ahead
to jiggle and wriggle and always

upside down and early
to squeeze and crawl and run
out of the dark and into the sun

and every day’s my happy
and every day’s my birthday
I haven’t had my fill

here I am I am I am
happy birthday me
happy birthday you
—-

poem written in a rush on 24 February 2017, my 77th birthday
rachel mcalpine CC BY 2.0
that means you may copy it and share it, but give me credit
and please note that this sudden poem may well be altered when I settle down

Happy birthday to you! (You woke up, didn’t you?)

A dirty old day in terrorized New Zealand

headlines

Now let us do our duty: a swift scan
of the headlines for one shameful day
in a land of slime
and terror.

Minister not keen on drive
Freedom campers use beach as toilet
New Zealand, man up like Dan Carter
Melania wants to start clean

Police honesty box charge
A dance with The Boss
Closure for cat lover
Dog saved from kayak

Easter Sunday trading is here
Pineapple on pizza—for or against?
People safe after fire
When your succulent won’t stop growing

Stop there! It’s all too much.
Why fixate on the false and the filthy?
Take it away.
Let’s all emigrate to the USA.


poem & screenshot by rachel mcalpine CC BY 2.0

 

Fishing the grid

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a small boat floating
on a sea of memories
words I readily
use swim
near the surface

some words dwell
in the darkest deeps
every year
more nouns and
names

but I
will fight the good
fight
on the tip of my
tongue

buyer’s remorse I think
slower
I’m slowing
her
down

I want to churn
the cross
words
at my chosen
speed


This poem was FOUND in a blog post by James Wallace Harris
poem & photo by rachel mcalpine CC BY 2.0

What’s a found poem doing in a prose blog?

It’s all my stuff,whether it happens to be on this blog or on my blog across the way (Poems in the Wild). But this particular poem is a found poem, and as such, of interest to the original writer and his own followers. Who write and read prose. What a tangled web we weave.

In brief, I loved James’s original post about crosswords and memory and aging, and couldn’t resist reassembling some of his phrases into a poem that added a hesitant rhythm to the sound and meaning, to suggest that too-familiar experience of fishing around for that elusive word.

Thank you James!

Joy of writing #2—sharing

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Mini-book fair, maxi-book launch: sharing with readers and writers

Most writers adore those moments when readers tell you how much they loved one of your books. When they quiz you about how you write, why you write, and why you wrote a particular thing a particular way. When their eyes glow and you know that you touched this person with your words.

It’s love you receive at those moments. Love and attention and respect — often from a complete stranger. And you feel simultaneously high as a kite and grateful, humble, almost embarrassed to think that someone has paid such close attention to your writing.

Mini-book fair, maxi-book launch at Meeow Cafe

Last week eight indie or self-published novelists got together for a Kiwi Book Feast, where they launched new books together and met some of their readers. I thought this was a lovely idea — to share the planning, the costs, and the fun with fellow writers. It’s certainly an idea worth developing and repeating. Launching a solitary book is huge fun but it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. Launching eight gives the audience a sense of perspective and some choices — but not too many.

Double sharing: with readers and fellow writers

The multiple book launch gives writers another opportunity to share their ideas with readers in person. It also requires writers to share the work and the limelight of a book launch with each other.

Have you been to any similar event? It’s the first time I’ve encountered a multiple book launch and I’m curious.

No more mush: mindfulness to the rescue

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photo of trifle by Brooke Raymond CC BY-SA 2.0

When life deals you something very very good and something very very bad, how to cope? How do you keep the layers of life from merging into one great ugly mush?

It’s Thursday 16 February 2017.

It’s nearly 8am, nearly time to go to Webstock, a stellar conference that I’ve been so looking forward to.Webstock is a spa for the brain, featuring the humane and visionary side of (mainly) information technology. Held in the stately St James Theatre in Wellington, it’s two days of awesome speakers, top coffee, top ice-cream, top food, and interesting company. I’m especially looking forward to certain speakers, but I know that the two days will be saturated with surprises.

But it’s Thursday 16 February 2017, and my home town of Christchurch is smothered in smoke, dominated by a mega-fire raging on the Port Hills and driving towards the city. Among my relatives alone, at least one family has evacuated their home. My heart is breaking for this precious city that was whacked by earthquakes and is still struggling back up from that disaster.

It is not fair… life is not fair.

And lurking in the background is climate change, for our so-called summer has been a crazy mush of wild winds, hot days, and storms, switching daily.

The job: to relish every blueberry

But I must get dressed. Angsting won’t help. And what a crime to waste this truly exceptional conference by being there with only half a brain. Mindfulness rules and gratitude today.

I can’t terminate the worries. But I’ll keep them in their place.

 

Tips on love from the 20th century queen of romance

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Here it is! a new edition of The Passionate Pen as a Kindle book.

It’s a wonderful book (though I say it myself) of 1997 interviews with New Zealand’s first romance writers, one of whom was already world-famous.And what a difference two decades make! These irresistible — and now historic — interviews will please romance readers, romance skeptics, and scholars of popular culture.

For Valentine’s Day, here is some hearty common sense about love and marriage from the unforgettable Essie Summers, who had already sold about 17 million books in 1997.

Essie’s own romance

[…] we had a courtship of about six weeks, completely by letter, and boy, could he write! Fourteen pages at a time. I hovered between thinking I had been rash to even encourage him, and feeling that it was right. Fortunately he came to Christchurch about May, and we ratified our engagement under a moon at Scarborough. So that was fine.

*

So I believe in romance. It didn’t alter. There were so many facets to Bill’s personality, that was the thing. Oh, we were both highly volatile people. We’d have our spats, but they weren’t important. We had great companionship, which is essential, although that wouldn’t be enough. You’ve definitely got to feel the physical chemistry too.

*

 It always used to annoy me at funerals when someone said, ‘We never had a quarrel.’ I think it’s nonsense. It either means that one is domineering and the other a vegetable, or else it’s a straight-out lie.

Tips for a happy marriage

It could be that some women read my books because they miss a bit of romance, which I think is a pity. Men ought to be able to tell their wives not only that they love them, but how they love them. You do get some men who take their wives for granted, and I think that love should be articulate, I really do. If there’s a quarrel some men feel they ought to bring their wives a gift or flowers, but it wouldn’t do me. If Bill and I had quarrelled in words I would expect to make up in words.

*

Women ought to be able to tell their husbands how much they appreciate them. It’s quite nice once in a blue moon to say, ‘Oh, I just feel extra special about you today,’ and a hug. Why should we be bashful about that sort of thing?

 *

And we’re not always very gracious about the way we receive compliments. You can turn it off by seeming embarrassed, and saying, ‘It’s a long time since I heard something like that.’ Which sets a man back, doesn’t it? If people can just be warm and loving, it’s great really.

Essie’s notes on romance novels

Perhaps romance fills a need, and that’s good. It is escapism, like whodunnits.

*

If you had them [the hero and heroine] fighting madly all the way through, or if you portray the hero as too macho, too horrible, the readers and the heroine would think, ‘My goodness me, I wouldn’t marry that man for anything.’

*

Though it often happens light romance is criticised for not being real enough, it is real. I’ve proved it in my own life. Life was never penny plain for me: it was always twopence coloured.