Arriving at the Mid-Point (and Other Tales from a Master in Creative Writing Class)

Hurrah! A profile page on the University of Auckland website (thanks Jonathan Burgess):

http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-students-and-graduates/postgraduate-students-3/caroline-barron.html

I am now half-way through my Master in Creative Writing at the University of Auckland. The goal: finish the novel by mid-November. 85,000 words. I’m 30,000 in and it feels like I’m just hitting my stride; after a year or more of research and thinking about Evelyn and Morgan, my two protagonists, I know exactly who they are and can hear their thoughts in my mind as I write. It’s like everything before has been pressure on the ocean, and now the wave is finally visible from the shore. The sand under my feet feels good and during the five weeks between semesters, I’m grabbing my surfboard, baby.

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Auckland Writers Festival: Hope in the Faces of Strangers: Tim Winton

Before seeing Tim Winton at the Auckland Writers Festival, if I’d seen him walking down the street I’d have pegged him as an aging surfer dude. And maybe tried to sell him drugs. Not really. But apparently that often happens to him.

“Most people expect clever symmetry in life. But most people die mid-sentence” – Tim Winton.

Image credit: Hank Kordas

Image credit: Hank Kordas

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Auckland Writers Festival: Lloyd Davis, Greg O’Brien and Helen Macdonald

It’s 4pm and I’ve begun to feel the insistent pressure of the festival’s hand on my arm, asking me if I’m ready for the next event; if I’ve thanked the right people in introductions; written up posts for the blog. It’s not a harrowing or unbearable pressure, but it is firm, rather like, I imagine, Helen MacDonald’s hawk, Mabel, landing on a leather-clad wrist.

Today’s events have been strangely, inevitably linked. And that link is nature. Penguins, whales and hawks. As if the air’s molecules are bristling with an importance aching to be decoded.

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Auckland Writers Festival: Writing Tips and Orgies with Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

Amy Bloom. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015

To look at Amy Bloom you might not guess she once went on ‘A Cruise to Nowhere’ with 40 cross dressers and their wives. You also might not guess she has been a barmaid, a psychotherapist and the server of canapés and drinks (carafes of vodka) to the Yiddish Opera cast.

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Auckland Writers Festival: Stephanie Alexander and the Everyday Delight of Food

Stephanie Alexander is desperate for our children to fall madly, deeply, truly in love—with food. And with over ten per cent of Australian primary schools participating in the Kitchen Garden Foundation program (also inspiring the New Zealand version, Garden to Table) she has, shall we say, made a big dent in the Australasian food-love soufflé.

Stephanie Alexander (Simon Griffiths) 2006

Stephanie Alexander (Simon Griffiths) 2006

Here’s how to foster a child’s life-long love of food, Stephanie Alexander style:

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Book Review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom (2014)

It seemed to me that if you had to have a mother who’d dropped you off like a bag of dirty laundry and a father who was not above stealing from you (or your sister), you were pretty lucky to have that same sister take you to Hollywood and wash your underpants with hers and share her sandwiches with you (28).

Amy Bloom is coming to town, for the Auckland Writers Festival and lovewordsmusic.com will be in the audience, dangling off every delicious, erudite word. I first discovered Bloom in a fiction class – Silver Water remains one of my favorite short stories ever. I had high hopes for Lucky Us; and – Lucky Me – hope soared and found its mark in a carriage house in Ohio crowded with achingly flawed and real characters.

Amy Bloom reading book

C’est moi, sneaking in a bit of reading over Easter. Image copyright to Caroline Barron

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