Saturday, June 28, 2014

June Reading


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
A funny love story about an old Indian-born English Major and an English born Pakistani woman. The reactions of their families, friends and the local villagers make for a bit of thinking about cultural differences, but it is neither too shallow nor too intense. Not quite 'fluff' but an easy winter fireside read that is quite satisfying.

Gith by  Chris Else
An easy but uncomfortable read. Well written but a bit too creepy for me. An NZ author.

Dinner at Rose's by Danielle Hawkins
Another NZ  author. An amusing romance. Definitely winter-time fluff, but reasonably well written.


The Exercise Book - Creative writing exercises from Victoria University's Institute of Modern Letters edited by Bill Manhire, Ken Duncum, Chris Price and Damien Wilkins

The writing group I go to intermittently has been using this book recently and it has lots of good trigger ideas. There are exercises for a range of genre, and some that deal with revision and editing. A worthwhile book of interest to beginner writers and the more experienced. Sadly though, it still hasn't got me doing the most important thing of all: writing EVERY DAY!

One of the exercises we did was based on The Ian Sharp Poem, which Jenny Bornholdt has used with children in schools. Ian describes himself in third person in terms of various things: a parcel, a toy, a landscape and more. We did our own versions, describing ourselves, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed doing this as I usually hate exercises of any kind, especially the 'you have 10 minutes to do this' kind!

The Cally Brown Poem

Cally Brown is parcel of seedlings
wrapped in wet sports pages
from Monday’s Waikato Times
secured with green rubber bands
saved from last year’s asparagus.

Cally Brown is a sandpit
with buried matchbox cars
a faded yellow bucket
a broken red spade
and a couple of ice block sticks.

Cally Brown is an orchard
with four white Peking ducks
beside a garden with rows
of carrots and beetroot and
broad beans and sweet red onions.

Cally Brown is an old Toyota van
with room for shovels and a scythe,
bags of fallen leaves, new plants,
trees, children and grandchildren,
love, and baskets full of memories

Cally Brown is a home-made book
with crinkly rusted paper
bound with brown hemp twine
embellished with pages from old books
pressed leaves and chook feathers

Cally Brown is a pile of old jerseys
just waiting for transformation
into wild patchwork hoodies
with crazy ribbons, buttons, beads
and totally unsuitable colours.

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