A True Story, Naomi Shihab Nye

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

By Naomi Shihab Nye, a wandering poet.

The rest of the story is here

Poetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf
oetry helps us imagine one another's lives. It gives us intimate insights into someone else's experience. To be able to have that kind of insight in thirty seconds or three minutes is a very precious kind of transmission. It's not cluttered with a lot of extraneous, explanatory matter or the kind of chatter that comes so easily on the news these days. We're surrounded by talk and language and reporting and stories of a certain kind, the “breaking news” kind, but I think we hunger for another kind of story, the story that helps us just feel connected with one another, be with one another. A slower kind of empathy. I think we hunger for that now more than ever. - See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/incomparable-naomi-shihab-nye-kindness#sthash.Lt9kRzgM.dpuf

a country girl again, by Kay McKenzie Cooke

The black-and-white photo goes back

to '67.  Taken around Christmas.  Perhaps a Sunday

drive out from Gore.  A bit of a breeze parts Nana's perm,

her own steady caution holding down hands

that shine below the folded-back cuffs

of her bri-nylon cardigan.

Grandad's road-worker's hands lie relaxed

over the roof of the car, taking ownership

of its dim-blue.  Both of them

caught by me at fourteen, when I press

the slow shutter of my Brownie box camera

with a pronounced click.  Just a moment ago.

Kay McKenzie Cooke, a country girl again.

I love this poem, so much.  It captures familiar scenes, people I almost know ... from my childhood.  And Kay's descriptions seem better than a photograph because I know the way her Grandfather's road-worker hands would have looked on the roof of his car.  I saw my Grandfather make that same gesture, so many times, back when I didn't know I was even looking ... or remembering.

3 sets of Kay McKenzie Cooke's beautiful poetry books have arrived in time for my 'Home & Away' Photography exhibition, soon to be mounted here in the New Zealand Shop, Antwerp. 

Kay has signed and written a small message in 6 of her books, the other 10 came straight from the publisher ... hot off the press and her new poems are just delighting this New Zealand girl so far from home.  

The new collection is titled, Born to a Red-Headed Woman, and the Otago University Press tells the story of it more fluently than I can: Using the extraordinary capacity of music to revive the places and people from our pasts, this poetic memoir springs from over 50 song titles or song lines and spans more than four decades.
Laconic, wry, subtly philosophical, Kay McKenzie Cooke’s new collection carries us from her rural Southland girlhood in the 1950s and 60s to the bitter pressures of adopting out her baby as a teenager in the 1970s, and to her present as grandmother, mother, wife and author. A plain-spoken honesty, a sensitivity to the natural world, a gentle humour, a deep sense of how the richness of our relationships lodges in ordinary rituals and routines: all combine in a quietly moving autobiography.
Born to a Red-Headed Woman is documentary, vivid, ever grounded in the workaday detail of farming, the changing decades, family, city life and job. Yet at times the language peels right back to the tender nerve of major, formative losses.
If Cooke’s observations of the daily are the simple melodic lines that seem to coast on the surface, beneath that runs a rich bass line of meditation on time, on meaning, how to live a life true to oneself, and to familial love

I love Kay's poems.  Not the least because they take me home.

Or have made your home in a country not your own ... Anne Michaels

I think, one of the things that become most obvious when you leave the country where you are known and understood, is that those invisible unspoken things protecting you ... the habits, the customs, the family and known behaviours will disappear.  Out here, it's just you.

One of my favourite poets, Anne Michaels, writes in her poem Blue Vigour:

I think, if you have lived through a war,

or have made your home in a country

not your own, or if you've learned

to love one man,

then your life is a story.

Yes.  A story because all that you have known and understood is somehow broken. Smashed even.  Each country is different.  The way I lived in Turkey is different to the way I live in Belgium.

Those 3 months in Berlin ... so different to all my 2 and 3 week stays in Genova, Italy.

And I feel like a blind woman sometimes, reading braille. The braille of being human ...

So this behaviour, I wonder, where did it come from? 

What formed these people, their culture? 

Why is this acceptable here and not there?

I'm always curious.  And not learning the language of each place I arrive in helps somehow.  I do try learning but I am beyond terrible.  I think I have some kind of learning disability however these weren't invented until after I was educated and so ... I am simply judged lazy.

But not learning the language ... sometimes I'm not sure it's some kind of gift.  It means I have had to become a close observer of body language.  I was a photographer alreadyand so perhaps I always was a close observer of body language.  Even in that country called Home.

There's a massive birthday approaching this year and I have this feeling of being filled in ways that I didn't expect.  Filled with so many stories, of so many people and places, that perhaps it's time for me to re-evaluate who I am and where I am heading. 

Anyway, enough ...let's leave this post with the ultimate in wise men, quoted there on the photograph below.

I'm Back ...

There's no headache this morning!  It feels so unbelievably good.  I found this area in my neck at 5am ... because it was stiff and sore, so I rubbed and stretched it for a while and voila ... I woke with no pain.

Meanwhile everything continues to happen here.  My huge ring-binder folder, the one I use for my book-writing course, is full of assignments and we're only halfway through.  It's been beyond excellent having to work out things like defining your book's genre, imagining how it will look - ideally.  Hardcover or soft, photographs, text, binding-style, after learning about different options for bindings.

Creating a vision board, a mind map, a set of core values for the book and the process.  Listening to published author interviews, learning all that Christine Mason Miller knows from her publishing successes.  Writing a synopsis and so much more.

It's intense and although we only work with Christine for 6 weeks, the material remains available to us for 6 months.  This course is all about fitting a book in around real life and all the distractions that most people live with ... which is so realistic for a creature like me.

Last night I began trying to select books for the journey next week.  I love reading at night in Genova.  I'm still not an electronic book reader-type, although the Belgian bloke is working on me.  My camera gear makes me a little sad about the extra weight I can't really carry in books but read I must. 

I have Kay Cooke's 2 poetry books on my desk, and 2 of Ren Powell's too.  I'm thinking they would be a great study while I'm out wandering.  Gert found me another Claire Messud book, secondhand, and I picked up Christos Tsiolkas's book, Dead Europe while in France but I think that one might be a little bit darker than I expect.  Let's see it.

There's all that but then I adore La Feltrinelli's in Genova.  It's one of my favourite bookshops out here in the world.  The English selection isn't huge but it's good.  Really good.  Last time I didn't allow myself to go in.  This time, we'll see ...

Anyway, enough of that.  I'm behind with my photo-editing.  I was lucky enough to wander over to Brussels last weekend, to photograph my lovely colour therapist friend, Marcia's, beautiful family.  I need to get on to that now that my head has stopped aching.

They are a truly, madly, deeply exquisite family and I so love photographing them.  It took most of the day but it wasn't just about photography, there was also a delicious cooked lunch after the picnic captured below.

In These Days ...

I sit at my typewriter
remembering my grandmother
& all my mothers,
& the minutes they lost
loving houses better than themselves

Erica Jong, extract from Women Enough.

I've been busy ... a project, of course.  A new website specifically for the project, and all kinds of other things too.

At night, I shift my aching body from my ergonomically-disasterous desk and creak to my bed ... tired from sitting rather than anything deliciously active.

But the website is almost done.  I'll launch soon, via a newsletter that shall become regular.  I'm eyeing Instagram too ... I'm in Genova next week, it seems like a good time to work out all this social media stuff that I've mostly ignored, as the new project is all about Genova.

I've been cooking and cleaning, imagining myself quite marvelously productive there too, although wanting more applause than I get for fitting everything into my day.  I've always been dubious about this housewife stuff.  It seems to run along the lines of 'if a tree falls in a forest and noone is there to see it ...'  Same with housework.  A clean house is the result of many lost minutes and hours.  Many.

Erica Jong wrote the perfect poem when she wrote Women Enough

So precisely, yes.

But I must work.  I have one more in the elderberry series to post.  It's been up to 28 celsius, thunderstormy, calm and cool too.  It's Spring.  I'm loving it.

Ralph Hotere, New Zealand Artist

He was very gentle but held strong views and was extremely inquisitive and interested in many things.

Jeanne Macaskill, artist, describing Ralph Hotere

I think, sometimes, we can grow lacking appropriate role models.  We assume we fit the world wrong and that we carry the burden to change.  But it's untrue.  I think it is more that the institutions that define and model 'correct' behaviour often have it all wrong.

Rather than exploring the full range of what it is to be human, we are shaped so as to fit the structure already in place.

I wish someone had told that it was possible to be gentle and hold strong views.  That one didn't cancel out all possibility of the other.  Strong views do not a monster make. 

The word most used in describing Ralph is the word generous.  That is how friends and colleagues remembered him and yet, he was a man of strong political views ... a man who believed 'art and politics are not separate things, because life does not allow them to be.'

He was described as a warrior artist.  His greatest works embraced great causes.  He used elegance, power, and beauty.  He was a builder of bridges between people.  These are just a handful of the things I've read about Ralph Hotere.

Source: Mirata Mita's documentary series at the end of this post

New Zealand poet Cilla McQueen, one of Hotere's 3 wives wrote 3 beautiful fragments on the Listener magazine's memorial page to Ralph after his death in 2013.  She wrote of time spent in Avignon as a family, 'We knew these were precious days, of dappled sunlight, warm earth, lavender, grapes, melons, rosé wine. I wrote because a camera was not enough.'

He was a talented artist, a stunningly generous man who gave away more then half of his art - gifts to friends, a silent man who believed that 'there are very few things I can say about my work that are better than saying nothing', a man who understood 'precious days' ... a man I don't want to forget because he shows that it's okay to be everything, to own that character that makes us so uniquely ourselves.

I Think I Have Stories to Tell Tonight ...

I'm almost sure I have things to say ...

I was accepted by the NYC gallery, as one of their photographers but I couldn't afford them.  There was a lot of money involved and, in the end, it seemed more about money than art.  I would have loved working with them but by the time Gert and I reached the end of the contract, it was clear.  And so very over.

Today a client ... a friend, the lines often blur, sent me a pdf of the book she's been writing.  It's full of my photographs from that time when I was working with her, having some of the most excellent adventures and wandering the world, photographing so many friendly and talented artists.

So I'm excited about that.

And I won a prize today.  Last Friday, I almost couldn't breathe for stress because I was two weeks behind on my rather intensive marketing course.  I sat here at the computer, Saturday, Sunday ... Monday, and mostly caught up.  And somewhere along the way, I posted news of my one-day photography workshop for women.  It sold out in 12 hours. So I won the prize that I had taken no notice of last week.  I was 'that' far behind.  I shared the winning with Chris, the one we all knew would win.

I transcribed two Genova interviews this afternoon, then wrote them up as short pieces for a most exciting new Ligurian website launching soon.  Photos were sent.   And now for the rest.  These were the shortest interviews.

It's been slightly manic of late.  Life is humming.  I'm attending a Māori hāngi in the months ahead.  Photos and stories shall surely be posted because I can see how that event might become one of those big old delicious stories, out there on Flanders Fields.

There's talk of Norway and a favourite friend at the end of summer.  Lots of photography.  And I'm organising a series of 5-day workshops in Genova.  If you have ever wanted to work with me then this is the one because I have a truly superb group of Genoese people willing to work with me.  However my webpage is still under construction.  It's all there, just not the 'Buy' button nor dates.  I'm currently looking at July, earlier if there's time for anyone to be interested, then September, October, November.

However, I will get that under control in the days ahead.

Amy Turn Sharp is one of the poets I love best and she has finally published her first collection.  I wrote. I have ordered.  News of that will follow.  Kay McKenzie Cooke is another favourite poet.  She has also published a new book.  I want to get there too.  And Ren Powell is writing and will publish again, I'm sure of it.

Life is good.  It's slightly surreal.  I'm busy.  I'm babysitting Miss 9 for this week-long crocus vacation, and sure enough, there are some little yellow beauties out there in the garden.  And in-between everything else, I'm reading my way through a most excellent book ... the Man Booker prize-winning book, The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton.  I shall be sad when it comes to an end.

Sunday Night, and a poem.

No matter how early I get up, the world
is already whirling; no matter
how silent the kitchen, the stove is warm,
like a great heart, the coffee beans
are sending out their dark signal,
the cat is half-awake, his second eyelids
partly glued to the two suns
of his eyes.  The oranges contain themselves
like glorious planets on the cheese tray,
the milk waits, luminous in its carton,
the round table abides, the day
grows wide.  Slowly I step into
its bright stream.

Matter, by Carolyn Miller.

I found this poem while I was lazily reading my way through the Squam blog, over here.  I've been busy of late.  Madly, truly, beautifully, crazily busy.  It has reminded me of crazy times spent running down scree-slopes back when I was young and foolish.  And while I didn't lose control of the beautiful madness and it stayed fun, I did need to keep that forward-momentum going just to stay on my feet.

My next blog post, outlined on a piece of pink note-paper just now, will be all about things I enjoyed during those days.  And really, there was so much.  But today I rested.  I lolled about.  I read.  I noted down quotes as I read.  I listened to music.  Baked bread.  Had 4 loads of laundry dry outside on the line.  I nibbled, searching for something to magically re-energise me - trying all but those scary vials of vitamins I bought a month or two ago.  Gert has taken to sighing when he asks if I've had any yet.  I have an osmosis theory about medicines and vitamins.  If they sit close by and I look at them sometimes, they work ... magically.  By osmosis.  Julie might snort laughter through her nose if she reads this ...

Today I didn't drink any red wine.  I sighed over all that still needed done but thought 'Tomorrow'.  Tomorrow is Monday and I will begin again then!' as if I really meant it.   And I do.

The house is clean and it smells of fresh laundry ... as the towels had to come in and finish drying on the clothes-horse I use instead of an electric dryer.  And the house smells of freshly-baked bread because the loaf finished cooking not so long ago.  And in just over 7 hours the smell of coffee will be filling the house, as my coffee beans are ground and become a rather lovely espresso.  Thank you to Wesley for selling me her exquisite coffee machine back in October.

And that is how it is here tonight.  The time is becoming midnight in another 32 minutes, I should be sleeping but somehow writing this became that more interesting thing that woke me a little.

The photograph ... taken while out wandering with Lynette, at an ungodly early morning winter hour, last Friday.  The posh fries shop made me smile.  It did.


Tram 11, a poem by Herman de Coninck


Tram comes. Tram goes. Going: a young Zairean
humming huskily with baby, plenty of time,
intimate with each other, in public
yet still alone. The tram looks on.

Tram comes: a Moroccan woman tries to quiet
her whining little tatty boy. The more she shakes him,
the more syllables fall from him.
Until an Antwerp woman's ta-ta-ta

brings him to himself. And to all of us.
Ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling through the town.
Public transport civilizes us, makes us festive,
maintains our confusion.

Herman de Coninck
Translated to English by Cedric Barfoot and Sonny Williams.

Way back in 2007, that was me reading Herman de Coninck's poem on stage in front of more than a few people. 

Saturday Morning

I don't know how we keep meeting these people that become important to us. Will it ever stop? Are we looking for them or were they always there under a current and we just stepped in the creek at the right time.

Amy Sharp, extract from, We will meet in a flower shop or on a corner in the rain and then later I'll tell you everything.

I'm awake before anyone else, on this Saturday morning in Belgium, and I have my laptop here with me downstairs.  It's resting on a tower of toilet paper, bought on special deal yesterday. I must take them upstairs but for now ... a useful laptop table.

The Tasmanian arrived last night.  Jobe is a lovely bloke who visits periodically, when he's not partying his way through Europe.  I've told him, more than a few times, he must put together some kind of book.  He's much-loved where ever he goes and the photographs of him hanging out with happy strangers in Poland and London and every place else, make me smile.

It's too cold and the pollution hangs heavy outside otherwise I would be off and wandering this morning. Like I did early one morning, back at Cooks Beach, in New Zealand.

Woman Enough ...

Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a wordprocessor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is, 'Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?' Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas -- inspiration.

If a writer cannot find this space, then poems and stories may be stillborn.

Doris Lessing.

This ... this is so true for me.  I recently deleted my facebook account and experienced a most astounding silence.  It took time to adjust to a life without interesting voices crowding in but I did.  And I loved it.  I wrote.  Eventually though, I realised how little people-contact there is in my everyday world and so I went back to facebook.

The alarm goes every morning at 6.45am here.  I have breakfast ready by 7.30am, when I'm home, and I'm usually here at my desk by 8.30am.  And then I read my way into the place that I work from.

It's a mixture of going through email, a scan of my facebook wall for news of the world, catching up on my blog feed and picking through a selection of new reading there.

There's no physical journey, beyond climbing the stairs to the first floor but there is some kind of journey into that place where I work.

So much can go wrong ...

I think it's why painters have studios, photographers too.  Ateliers.  Mine would be locked some days, with no visible signs of life showing.  I have this 4 hour window of time where I can concentrate intensely.  It's the time when the best of my creativity comes out to play.  I know this but I can't always hold onto it.

I'm studying the 'how' of it because I have had 5 disasterous days in a row, with life crashing into me, again and again.  I think, in the process of opening your self to dig deep and create something that didn't exist before, or to write of something you love so that the passion leaps off the page and convinces people ... you need to go to a place where you can take off your skin and just kind of feel your way with your nerve-endings, with your senses perhaps.

An argument can lay waste to that 'place', to that state of being.  Or realising that this person or that really needs you, or that the house is a mess.  That particular 4 hours out is all that I require but it's so difficult to actually take that much time in the world where I live.

Exit Stage right, and Genova.

I have a favourite poem by a writer I've loved for years. I've posted it before so forgive me if you have already ready it.  Otherwise, maybe this captures something of the struggle ...

Woman Enough

Because my grandmother's hours
were apple cakes baking,
& dust motes gathering,
& linens yellowing
& seams and hems
inevitably unraveling
I almost never keep house
though really I like houses
& wish I had a clean one.

Because my mother's minutes
were sucked into the roar
of the vacuum cleaner,
because she waltzed with the washer-dryer
& tore her hair waiting for repairmen
I send out my laundry,
& live in a dusty house,
though really I like clean houses
as well as anyone.

I am woman enough
to love the kneading of bread
as much as the feel
of typewriter keys
under my fingers
springy, springy.
& the smell of clean laundry
& simmering soup
are almost as dear to me
as the smell of paper and ink.

I wish there were not a choice;
I wish I could be two women.
I wish the days could be longer.
But they are short.
So I write while
the dust piles up.

I sit at my typewriter
remembering my grandmother
& all my mothers,
& the minutes they lost
loving houses better than themselves
& the man I love cleans up the kitchen
grumbling only a little
because he knows
that after all these centuries
it is easier for him
than for me.

Erica Jong.

I had to shower, dress, go find a birthday present for a party this afternoon.  I had to get lunch from the supermarket.  After it all, I came back upstairs just after midday and experimented with layers and frames for my photographs ... trying to 'play' my way back into writing. 

Let's see how the rest of it goes.  The shot ... a city street in Genova.

Rain, by Hone Tuwhare

I love rain.  The heavy stuff ...the kind that used pound down on the iron roof back when I lived in Te Anau.  That small town located in Fiordland, a region of mountains, massive lakes ... a national park that is 1,260,740 hectares in size.

Heavy rain on a gloomy Sunday can actually rescue a Sunday.  It's when the day crosses over from 'lifeless and dull' into cosy and delicious', somehow. 

Real rain is joy-filled.  Drizzle is drab.  The stillness of a grey day, energy-sapping.

I took rain forgranted in New Zealand.  It simply was.  I realised I missed it in Istanbul.  My apartment was 5th floor and the closest I got to hearing the glorious sound of heavy rain on the roof was when the rain angled in and hit the big useless metal air-conditioning unit attached outside my apartment.

Belgium doesn't really do torrential ... although these last two years there have been downpours that have caused cellars to flood, due mainly to the problem of a massively concreted landscape that lacks drainage capabilities.  Te Anau was built on glacial moraine.  Rainfall is massive, drainage is fast.

Genova does rain that makes my heart sing although there have been some tragedies in recent years.  I think it used to be October for the real downpours but these years seem less certain, less defined.  Change is afoot.

I was caught in a Genovese deluge one night.  Unbelievable rain ... like a huge bucket of water pouring down from the heavens and it was so unexpected, so crazy, that I ended up laughing out loud as one of the umbrella-selling guys from Pakistan offered to sell me an umbrella.  It was beyond umbrellas.

What was it about that experience that made joy well up like a bubble.  I have no idea but we were laughing like fools in the impossible rain. 

Anyway, favourite poem ever ... just about.

I can hear you making
small holes in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind:

the steady drum-roll
sound you make
when the wind drops

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

But if I should not
smell or feel or see you

You would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

The image that follows ... I took it on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand last year.  I'm looking down on Tautuku Bay, scene of more than a few school camps.  The rain there was flavoured by the sea and the beech forests.  Sweeter rain you couldn't know ... except in Fiordland ... or traveling up the West Coast of the South Island.

Actually, scratch that.  Rain in New Zealand's wilderness areas is usually sweet.  I was rapt to see some of these favourite places in rain when I was showing the Belgian bloke home.  There are places I just don't want to see blue skies and sunshine in ... it's like that.

On Gallivanting ...


There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Ever. Never.

Ryan Adams

I read this first thing this morning, pre-breakfast, and thought, yes.   I was reading Amy's blog.

It was a quiet yes.

One of the things I have most consistently done through time  ... and it's dancing for shadows really, is defend the way I live my life.

My ex-father-in-law was an outrageous monster sometimes ... one who made everyone laugh.  He assured me that the more he mocked the more love there was.  Eyes twinkling, he pointed out how much he must care about me.  He could be charming at times.
I can still see him there in the kitchen of 40 Tyne Street in Mosgiel.  He's gone now, that man who was planning on spending his retirement near some beach where he could fish everyday.  But his most serious and real accusation was always his ... have you been off gallivanting AGAIN?
The men I grew amongst were men who believed that a woman's place was there in the home, next to their husbands.  They also believed that a husband's place was right there next to their wives.  Kind of chained together.  And that was a problem for me because I've always wandered.
My first husband gifted me an entire month off interviewing climbers and mountaineers for a book I was writing.  If the authority figures in my young world were telling me I must stay at home, then my husbands have always told me to ignore them and wander anyway.  But maybe they knew that I had to.
'Never apologize for your enthusiasm' was timely.  I have tempered my enthusiasm over time.  It is less evident although still explodes out of me on occasions but the need for flight ...  there are no apologies in me.  If anything, I'm becoming more convinced about the beauty and the need for flight.
There is the goodbye and hello of it all.  You never stop appreciating a partner when you have a little distance sometimes.  But more than that, filled with a compulsion to fix things for people, it's better to give myself a little people-less time.  To live on toast and red wine and stand on the edge of societies I'm not part of ... there's something healing about that.
I do worry that things will collapse while I'm gone but it's so good realise that it's not all about me and that the world does go on when I wander off.  I knew it as the small child who wandered.  Perhaps I was my entire universe back then.  I didn't care so much as the teenager who disappeared with her dog and dreamed dreams that she doesn't recall now.  And I needed it on becoming a wife and a mother.
Negative people find their walls. So never apologize ...  I'll run with that I think.

Amy Turn Sharp

Amy Turn Sharp writes poems I adore. 

On a day like today, when that UK storm is passing over us here in Belgium.  When the sun comes and goes.  When I am waiting on all kinds of things, unable to concentrate, I wander on over to 'Amy's Place' and find treasure like this.

I found Anna Sun over there once

Amy's poems are like this ...

Reading her website feels like going on a roadtrip, with good music and truly excellent stories.

Belly laughter and red wine, without hangovers.

I found the quote on the photograph below ... over on Amy's website, of course.

France ...

You must learn one thing.

The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
Except the one in which you belong.

David Whyte, extract from Traveling With Pomegrantes.

I was in France these last 5 days, near Lyon, for a beautiful wedding and was startled to realise that not every hotel offers good internet connections.  The one I was on was pre-Flintstones and I was unable to reach the back-end of my website.

It was disappointing because I use my blog like a journal on occasion.  I was reading a superb book full of ideas that I would love to have noted and there were photographs like the one below, taken that first evening.

And now, two full days to process a few hundred wedding photographs before flying out unbelievably early on Thursday.

Tot straks.

Ren Powell - poet, playwright, translator & teaching artist

The book released here in Norway in December is An Elastic State of Mind, which is an imaginative autobiography in formal and free verse. Three years of intense work with form, two years of historical research, and another two years with the translator: this baby was a long time in coming. The review that came out last week was positive, with the caveat that it was demanding of the reader. 

The book I am editing now, which will be finished in March, is Ewe in the Rain. It's more of a seduction than a demand.

Ren Powell, an extract from her post over on Mad Orphan Lit

Fascinating reading!  Take a peek. 

The photograph ... Boccadasse, Italy.