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Posts Tagged ‘Frame’

The Answers

From the last post

a) Lauris Edmond

b) Rita Angus

c) Janet Frame

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Today I had cause (or perhaps just the time) to consider the difficulties of being mother while retaining some space for myself to pursue my interests. It has struck me that perhaps I need to scale back what I want to do and accept that my world is smaller just now. After all – I chose to have the kids.

Things that make this difficult are the awesome women I know and read about who have or are combining motherhood with creativity. Some stories make me intensely annoyed as their reflections simply don’t ring true to the realities of being at home with little children. Others are more inspirational such as Rachel Power’s (I don’t think it’s that one) book , The Divided Heart, and remembering that Patti Smith was Trisha for a time.

Sometimes I think I should can this blog and the ‘net in general and stick to my knitting (or sewing in my case) but I don’t want to put it all on hold while my family grows up. So I keep studying and writing and looking and noticing and making plans.

On the art front today I popped in to De Novo Gallery to see the Ivan Hill exhibition although I knew it probably wouldn’t be my thing. I found it disconcerting seeing Ralph and Jeffery with the mermaids too (Ralph Hotere as a pirate, Jeffery Harris, as his first mate). A review can be read here. However, later it did spark an intersting discussion about the two sides to the mermaid myth. One a male fantasy of the woman who can’t walk away and the other, the siren, the unobtainable woman, the woman’s woman.

I have also been thinking more about the Arts and Literature Heritage Festival. Although rich and full of great events I do wonder about those absent in a literary sense. What of Baxter and Frame for example?

dowlingbraschbaxter
Basil Dowling, James K. Baxter, Charles Brasch. c.1966-67 (Hocken collections)

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Contact!

Woohoo – we have broadband. It only took 19 DAYS!!!!

Anyway – dialup has been keeping me off line and I’ve also been doing a lot of exploring of our new area with the kids and filling in the school holidays. A reader sent me a link to a survey that rates Dunedin as the best city to live in, in NZ – based on some different variables than usual (thanks Giovanni). I have to say I am falling for the city, every time I venture in there is something interesting, surprising and quirky to see. The survey says “The arts made a strong contribution to community strength and identity with Dunedin’s culturally rich and diverse arts scene.” and so far I’d agree.

Mosgiel is a different kettle of fish. However I’m not going to knock it even if the street we are in could well be Kowhai Street from “The Carpathians”, in fact there are a lot of parallels between Mosgiel and Levin. I did choose a house in a 1940s/50s brick and roughcast era and many of the homes have original features such as windmills, wishing wells and house butterflies. I don’t mean in a cool retro chic kind of way either. We are talking older owners with gardens full of roses and dahlias. I actually quite like it though – especially now that I have located good coffee in the town.

What do you think though – do we need a butterfly?

house

And yes it is possibly unwise posting a pic of your house on the net.

EDIT: Please note I did NOT take this photo – its from Google Street View

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Gothic NZ

My dear friend Helen came around today to help me separate emotion from inanimate objects. It was very ‘cleansing’ and we managed to get rid of heaps of stuff*. However at one point, looking out my front window onto the 1970s beige neighbourhood, she said something like “you really are deep in suburbia here…”

I have just re-read Janet Frames “The Carpathians” and have decided it captures suburban gothic very well. This is also funny because of Helen’s recent birthday trip to Levin where the book is unmistakeably set. Frame’s snapshot of Kowhai Street is so real that the unusual events don’t seem so unusual, and knowing Levin well myself, quite believable.

So it was serendipitous that the book Gothic NZ arrived from the library today. A great essay by Mischa Kavka “Out of the Kitchen Sink”  completely encapsulated the feeling of darkness hidden behind closed doors. The book as a whole is pretty good but certain parts really capture the curious suburban gothic that I keep running into and also how gothic tendrils extend out into the countryside. There were also various examples of NZ art with a similar tone including Yvonne Todd’s photos, working “a fine tension between the conventional and the creepy“. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but I’d put a great deal of Ronnie van Hout’s work in this category as well.

Of course our film-makers do a good line in gothic too. A funny moment this morning was when going through my old my tramping gear, Helen and I both exclaimed “Vigil!” as I pulled out a large green woolen balaclava.


Still from Vincent Ward’s film “Vigil

*However it has left me very tired and probably not making a lot of sense

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