May 2011

posterAre you passionate about writing? Always wanted to be published? Then Re-Draft is the competition for you!

This annual event for New Zealand’s teenage writers is organised by Dr Glyn Strange , director of the School for Young Writers, and judged by Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe.  You can submit poetry, stories, scripts or songs which are then judged.  Each entrant can submit up to three pieces of work. Successful writers will then be published in Re-Draft.

Here’s an excerpt  from a  poem written by Emily Adlam in last year’s edition of Re-Draft, The world’s steepest street:

It was not the same
Where are they, all my lost places?
I went back, but found only emptiness.
The smell was of cinnamon traces
instead of burnt varnish; the air
touched differently, as if it had learnt tenderness
for someone else.
The past was not on display in glass cases.
Maps and addresses are no use to me
and there is no convenient office
where I may reclaim my property.

Moving, moody, funny clever – there certainly is an abundance of talent out there.  Get your hands on a copy of ‘The world’s Steepest Street’, read it and re-read it, then write you own literary masterpiece!

Entry forms  can only be found in the back of the book  (which you can photocopy at your local library) or buy a copy through the School for Young Writers . Entries close 30 September 2011.

Denis Glover Denis Glover, Blanche Baughan, A.K. Grant, Elsie Locke. That used to be my route to work.

You might have spotted those names, and others, on plaques about town. They form part of  The Christchurch Writers’ Trail.

Many plaques aren’t accessible at the moment,  but I’d like to think the Christchurch rebuild could enhance and add to the Writers’ Trail. We’ve definitely got more local writers and poets to celebrate.

Photo of Lyttelton  Library visitThe Displaced Reader has been on holiday – possibly due to having my local library reopening and the lovely autumn gardening weather.  Said weather (and how much longer it might last) finally prompted me to plan a trip through the tunnel to Lyttelton library.

I had visions of a scary trip with trucks and there were a few. Also it is important to note that you can sometimes get held up if a special cargo has to be escorted through the tunnel. But once on the other side the sun was shining and battered Lyttelton was revealed. It was shocking to see the damage and the changed aspect of the main street. On the positive side some shops have reopened, there is rebuilding as well as demolition and a lot more sun shines down the street.

Lyttelton library sits cheerfully pink and bathed in sunshine. Inside it is all bustle as preschool story time is in full voice. The place has a nice relaxed feel and there are quiet corners. The usual excellent choice of stock is on display. It was a library I’d love to visit on a more regular basis. I took a few happy snaps to capture my impressions.

Outside you can’t keep good coffee lovers down and there were five caffeine and food options handy to the library including a stall outside and the funky Loons around the corner. Fish and chips were also a harbourside option. A Saturday trip would give the opportunity to visit Lyttelton Market as well. The port still bustles and the harbour is revealed at every corner. The number 28  bus runs regularly to Lyttelton and also down to the ferries. Pick a nice day and add on a trip to Diamond Harbour. I’d recommend a visit soon.

I’m handing over the Displaced baton to Bronnypop who’s first assignment keeps the harbour theme going – Diamond Harbour library.

TEDxEQChChNgāi Tahu’s vision brings together the essence of TEDxEQChCh last Saturday, 21 May 2011. Over 700 people gathered at Burnside to be invigorated by outstanding speakers. Internauts from all over the globe watched the live stream online. Coincidentally, TEDxTokyo was held on the same day.

Decorative rubble, safety hats and high visibility vests were displayed on a stage where Bob Parker restated his intention to make Christchurch safe and community led.

In order to make this happen, have you added your ten cents yet? Share your ideas!

Popular topics were sustainability, achieving certainty from uncertainty and creating an iconic city not a boring one. As Karen Blincoe pointed out, sustainability can be quite a broad term. My favorite definition is the one coined in 1983 by the Norwegian Prime Minister for the UN: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

If you would like more information about this event, read this impressive coverage by a 16-year-old Christchurch student.

Hope is in the air. There are a lot of good ideas around, now they just need to happen.

It’s all on.

You can now starting booking for your NZSO concerts for the year and I am assured that the CSO will not be far behind (make sure you keep an eye on their website over the next couple of weeks, or the newspaper from mid June).

There is a new tent village going into Hagley Park where Canterbury Celebration Theatre will be presenting the Wintergarden Season, a mix of cabaret, music and Kidsfest events. It is also expected to host the Jazz Festival and Arts Festival, New Zealand Cup and Show Week, and World Buskers Festival later in the year.

All of a sudden I’m feeling just a bit more happier about winter coming on.

If you stand in the magazine section of your local library, you get to see your whole life flash before your very eyes without going to all the bother of getting wet and drowning.

All the enthusiasms of the past are on display, like Parenting and Burda mags for me. Hard to believe I once made a garment from Burda. Nowadays just understanding the pattern and refolding it to fit would probably stave off Alzheimers for a few years to come.

In these post-you-know-what days, mags are flying off the shelves. Which just goes to show that they have not suffered the predicted drop in popularity with the advent of internet. In fact, linking to mags on internet is the new symbiotic triumph. Have a look at Marion’s blog to find out how to get the best out of our on-line resources.

I think it was Oprah who once said in her namesake mag: if  surfing the net is like speed dating and  diving into a book is like a full-blown relationship, then reading a magazine is the equivalent of having a really good fling (without, might I add, any of the expense of having to invest in new undies).

While you are down in the mag hood, treat yourself to a little magazine therapy. Connect with the person you are soon to be (The Oldie for me), the person you’d like to be now (Red) and the person you very narrowly missed becoming (Shambhala Sun) and wonder afresh at who it could possibly be that regularly indulges in flings with Scale Military Models International!

Cover image of "Left Neglected"There is nothing particularly remarkable about the way Lisa Genova writes, but for some reason I couldn’t put her novel Left Neglected down. My life is nothing like the main character’s: I’m not married; I don’t have any children; I’m not especially career driven, nor do I dream about having a big house in the suburbs; and my brain doesn’t ignore information on the left side of the world. Yet I was completely and utterly engrossed in Sarah Nickerson’s journey to recovery from a traumatic brain injury.

I had never heard of the fascinating neurological syndrome Left Neglect until I picked up this book, but apparently it’s quite common. Lisa Genova has a PhD in neuroscience and obviously did extensive research on the syndrome in order to write about it.

I found myself covering my left eye at times to try to understand what it would be like to think that the left side of the page I am reading or the food on the left side of my plate doesn’t exist because my brain can’t register it. I tried to imagine not being able to feel my left arm or leg, as if these limbs were separate from the rest of me, as if they belonged to someone else entirely.

It was Jodi Picoult’s rave review printed on the cover of Left Neglected that made me want to read this book. I’m glad I did. While there are many differences between Sarah and I, there is one key experience I could relate to, and this is what I loved most about her story: I understand what it’s like to have your life changed forever in an instant; everything you have to adjust to and adjust within yourself as a result; and how, no matter what difficulties you must now face, you can always find the hidden blessing if you allow yourself to really look.

What books have you picked up just because another author you like has recommended it? Did you agree with their praise?

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