Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Welcome to the Land of Nong




I have mentioned fiction and lies before. Well, the art of lying really. So just in case any readers have ever wondered if I do what I say I’m going to do? I thought I’d give you an update in relation to some of my more outlandish claims.

Bold Claim Number 1: from - A Bum Like Blancmange

I am still running. Okay, I have had the odd five day gap. Like when there was snow on the ground. And I haven’t kept a tally of total runs completed. However, I can now run for 35 minutes non-stop, uphill and down dale and feel fabulous. High even. Post run, wrapped in a cuddly cloak of endorphins and sweat, my face reddened from chill mountain air, I return home elated and ready to stretch. Then sit.

Bold Claim Number 2: from - Reading Aloud in Bed

Thanks to openculture.com I have read Ernest Hemingway’s  Pulitzer Prize winning novella, The Old Man and The Sea. Not as a read aloud beside the newly chimney swept bedroom fire. But to myself, alone with a cup of tea in my chenille dressing gown in bed on a rainy Saturday morning. And I thoroughly recommend it. According to the blurb on the back, of my library borrowed copy reprinted in 1995, “Hemingway’s tough, terse prose and short, declarative sentences did more to change the style of written English that any other writing in the 20th century.”

Published in 1952, this is the story of an old Cuban fisherman who hasn’t caught a fish for 85 days. Desperate to regain his reputation he takes his skiff far out into the Gulf Stream. There he hooks a giant Marlin and an agonizing and often emotional battle between man, fish and the ocean begins.

I’ve just borrowed, The Torrents of Spring, Hemingway’s second published work. Supposedly the first ever ‘anti-western western…a brilliant satire on conventional fiction’. With much of the south island under flood water and snow to lake level due in Queenstown tomorrow, another read-in will be happening soon. Perhaps with a friend and  a fire?

Bold Claim Number 3: (as above)

Talking of fires and mandarin peels to cure writers block. The family is still munching its way through kilos. But I haven't tested Hemingway’s theory and thrown peels into the fire and watched them curl into blue flames, while waiting for my creative muse to ignite. But I need to. So soon.

Bold Claim Number 4: from - Christchurch: The Heart of a Damaged City

One thing I said I would do but didn’t, was attend the Golden Yarns Hui in Christchurch. Dang, because I really did want to see all my children’s writer friends. And go back to, Head Over Heels to inject some more money into the Christchurch economy by way of a new black leather handbag. 

NB. My current hold-all is Cellini and leather, but it came to me courtesy of daughter 14, attending a pay-and-grab charity fashion evening. Functional, but a tad embarrassing. I live in a small town. I may meet its real owner; the one who left a nail file and a half sucked lozenge stuck to the lining.

Any-how, why did I not attend? I stuffed up my travel arrangements. I made a  simple enough mistake, one which is probably more common than we think, in this buy-online, book-on-line world. However, a mistake that cemented my place in the kingdom of Nong.

So be warned. When hastily grabbing your next grab-a-seat remember - the computer is not that smart, as in, it doesn’t know where you live. Yet. Do NOT type, ‘To’ when the box wants, ‘From’, because you cannot re-route online.

You can, if you want, spend an inordinate amount on penalty fees by allowing a real-life-person to correct your stuff-up. Note: this will also include buying higher price fares because all the good deals will have gone. If you want? Or you can see sense, count your losses and stay at home.

I tried to fob off my wrongly routed ticket to a friend. I felt less silly when she said. 

‘Oh hell I did that the other day trying to get to Auckland, ended up paying the penalties to change.’

‘Welcome to Nong-dom,’ I said.

‘What?’ she replied.

Ah the land of Nong is not empty.

Thankfully the following weekend I was able to attend the very lively, NZ Society of Authors, AGM in Dunedin. I met some witty and long serving NZ authors. Dined at the home of YA writer, Tania Roxborogh. E-work-shopped with Elizabeth Pulford. Made new writer friends like Anna Mackenzie.Caught up with the lovely, Maria Gill. And toasted the new president, Kyle Mewburn.

I probably told a few lies. And I got there by car.

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