About this website

Here’s what you’ll find on this website

  • Stuff about writing
  • Stuff about teaching
  • Stuff about getting older.

I’ll try very hard to make navigation easy so you can find what you want. And I hope you’ll stay with me—I’m loving your company!

Writing pervades everything: I communicate that way and I’m endlessly fascinated by the ways we can use writing to solve problems and improve our health and happiness.

Teaching: I can’t help myself. Now and then I create a video course on some odd topic. I’ll tell you about them, when I remember. Because they’re great!

Older: it happens. And so I am acutely aware of my advanced age, dread it, examine it — and use it — and prepare for the years ahead, sometimes in unconventional ways.

My web profile: ever wider and messier

Writer. Teacher. Older. These are three double-deep-dyed aspects of myself, although the last one sprang on me very suddenly. I just didn’t see it coming.

cghs-1954.jpg
At this stage I was a writer but neither teacher nor older. Christchurch Girls High School, 1954. (Sylvia Sheat’s face was torn off by accident, not on purpose.)

In the early days on the web, every new project or group or role demanded that I set up another website, write another book, open another social media account, until my brain was a mile of open tabs flapping in the wind.

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Muehlenbeckia astonii, my favourite divaricating shrub, has tiny bright green heart-shaped leaves and shiny maroon zig-zag twigs.

Divarication as a professional style: a mixed blessing

Do you know about New Zealand’s marvellous divaricating shrubs? Instead of growing as a trunk and branches and sub-branches and twigs, they grow by a process of endless splitting. There’s no hierarchy, just a mass of twiglets all of equal size, crocheting themselves together into a dense anarchic ball. The evolutionary justification was that this growth pattern prevented bushes from being eaten by moa and other ancient ground-dwelling birds.

heavy-footed-moa-te-papa-by-paul-martinson
Heavy-footed moa (pachyornus elephantopus). Image 2006-0010-1/20 from the series ‘Extinct birds of New Zealand’ Masterton. nzbirdsonline.org.nz

That’s the way I have lived my professional life. There are benefits: I’ve had heaps of fun, achieved a lot, and never been pecked by a moa. For years this proliferation has been an automatic response, a persistent habit. But lately, the online ramifications were starting to do my head in.

Stop cluttering up cyberspace!

In 2016 I was on the verge of creating yet another new website just to promote and talk about the short video courses that I intended to make. Epiphany! A little voice said, “Stop! You’re out of control! Not another website! Surely your WordPress site can accommodate this new role. The title Write Into Life easily embraces writing and teaching and dealing with old age. Just make it work.”

The dilettante muehlenbeckia bush close up appears to be in a dither of indecision… but stand back and you’ll see it holistically as a strong structure with a striking, colourful texture.  Fortunately at this stage of life I’m finding connections, connections, connections everywhere I look. I’ll never become a Norfolk pine, but as a mature muehlenbeckia astonii I can prune myself ruthlessly.

Hence this website, which yearns (in vain) to be my only website.