I am delighted to announce that yours truly is the new columnist for North & South magazine! For my overseas readers, North & South is ‘New Zealand’s best-read monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine’ (Bauer Media website) and they’ve won more than 200 journalism awards to prove it. In addition to being a fantastic read, there are three inspiring women (and great writers) at the helm—Virginia Larson, Joanna Wane and Donna Chisholm.
My column is called ‘The Heart of the Matter’ and each month I interview a high-profile New Zealander, opening with a short bio and explanation of why this person at this time. The series’ point of difference is that I reveal the private person behind the public gaze, through a set of humanising questions that remain the same or similar each issue.
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.
Finding her pet rabbit Liza murdered in the barn was the second worse thing that had ever happened to 14-year-old Harriet. When she saw the hutch lying on its side in the barn like a dead animal, she panicked. She wanted to run and search every corner, but it was like that dream where you’re at the starting blocks, the gun goes off and your legs won’t move. Eventually, a dark trail of blood lead her to the hole in the wall her father used to say said he’d fix. There was poor Liza, half way out – her head strung to her ruby throat by a mere thread. Harriet felt like she was in a scene from Evil Dead.
So now, the first worse thing that had ever happened to Harriet and her rabbit’s death were forever linked. He’d given Liza to her when he’d abandoned them. Now, Liza was dead. The whole thing felt shocking and achy like chewing tinfoil. But still, the first thing she did – after gathering up Liza into the bread bag her mum handed her, and placing her in the chest freezer next to the frozen peas and vanilla ice-cream – was phone her father. Continue reading