About this website: holding myself together

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.

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.)

Every decade of my life has had its own flavour, but I’ve been a writer since childhood and a teacher since the age of 19, one way or another. It’s as an older writer and teacher that I express myself through this site.

Well, big deal, you say. Except that it’s radical for me to fold three parts of my life and work together in one package. You see until now, every hint of a 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.

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 (pachyornus elephantopus). Image 2006-0010-1/20 from the series ‘Extinct birds of New Zealand’ Masterton. nzbirdsonline.org.nz

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

Last month I was on the verge of creating yet another new website just to promote and talk about the short video courses that I intend to make. Epiphany! A little voice said, “Stop! 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 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 be a Norfolk pine, so I’ll aim to be a mature muehlenbeckia astonii.

That’s why you’ll find this website covering several different topics, which is hardly unusual — except for me:

  • 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. But I hope you’ll stay with me—I’m loving your company.