Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Smile in the Dark

No camera click
No lipstick

No vote to catch
or image to match

No knee-jerk action
or reflex spasm

No 'cheese' please
on bended knee

A smile in the dark
comes straight from the heart

To tell a quiet truth
to ease the night's tight tooth

Without art --
a smile in the dark

Thursday, June 19, 2014

21 Today!

Now it's not me turning 21 today, it's our first born baby, Conor. And as he rarely deigns to read my blog, being too busy at the cutting-edge of the virtual world, I don't think he will mind my posting this picture of him when he was 18 months.

Yes, just 18 months young and such a knowing look, with a touch of that characteristic wry smile/smirk we have all come to know so well. In some ways he seems less grown-up today. Of course, that was before he began his comance (romance with the computer).You read it here first, folks.

Happy 21st Birthday, Con-pipe! We all love you to bits.

And welcome to the adult world -- I think you're going to love it (except for all the real-world stuff).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Black is Back

Black is all the words squashed into a ball
too heavy to bounce, all it can do is


Black is when you think about walking into the waves
and wonder if you should take your boots off,
if anyone will see or try to save

Never mind the wood for the trees
I can't see the words for the damn treatise

You can be too clever, you know

Friday, June 13, 2014

TIME is changing?

Some things change... and some things stay the same...

We subscribe to TIME magazine weekly and scanning some of the cover pages over the last two to three months, several 'themes' emerge. One I want you to guess with reference to the highlighted three. It is not difficult.

The spread of covers illustrates this too. Other than the
predominance of red there is one strong and consistent theme throughout the ten-week period of TIME pictured here, with a couple of copies missing. And that theme is 'gender difference', might be the nicest way to put it.

In the ten-week period of TIME only two covers showed a female and they showed just one each, Beyonce and Li Na. So two women precisely, to virtually the rest of the covers for that period, which is ten. Occasionally they don't picture a human on the cover, but in all that time of TIME they did. Eight males and two females have appeared on the cover of TIME since mid-April.

Already that amounts to significant GENDER discrimination.

The other stark discrimination is the appearance of the female body half clad in the only two images of women, whereas the males are all, without exception, fully dressed. None of the males are particularly 'good-looking' using conventional measures, some are just the head and shoulders. None are pictured full-bodied and all are engaged in some work-related behaviour or pose.

None of this positive imaging is true for Beyonce and Li Na. Both of these front-page women are pictured full-bodied, with next to nothing on, and both, most brazenly of all, are arranged in shamelessly sexual poses. The tennis champion and the singer/songwriter alike are both pictured sexually.

This proves a few things. One: racial difference is nothing to gender difference. Regardless of the varied races pictures on these eight front covers, in all the men work and/or the women seduce with the allure of difference, regardless of context. The men are represented much more as they are. Most are in work clothes: suits; combat uniform, etc. The women are made into something other than they are; something sexual.

This said, TIME has been steadily improving its gender representation record, with this year's Top 100 most important people including 45% women. This is far higher than even twenty years ago when you would be lucky to have had five women in the top 100.

However, when the first of those women this year is Beyonce, dressed in her underwear with her hand placed nearer to her crutch than it would naturally fall and her see-through skirt hitched up to reveal her most private part represented in tight white cotton close-up, I would say that this percentage gain does not necessarily represent substantive gains in the way men and women are valued, at least in this organisation, which just happens to have the power to travel to every part of the world and act as a predominant cultural gatekeeper and/or pioneer.

These covers of TIME show clearly that weomen are still far too sexualised and represented as 'women' when men just get to be people; individuals. It shows women are not in charge, no matter how much we kid ourselves that we are.

Gender progress is slow and inconsistent. TIME is much more 'female-friendly' than it used to be but there is a sense in which they still see themselves as a 'man's magazine'. This is fine; just don't call yourselves TIME.

(apologies for the looooong post).

Friday, June 6, 2014

My not so brilliant career

I should have read My Brilliant Career long long long long long ago. Indeed, I should have been raised on it; been fed it in place of mother's milk. How I would have thrived then to know what ails and exalts me from the start. Indeed I doubt I would have ailed half as much as I did -- and do. Instead, I developed a dairy allergy.

Having finished (Stella) Miles Franklin's youthful masterpiece just this morning, my life already spotted and wrinkled with time's messy march on regardless, and my writing life ('career') a haphazard course of fits and starts; a series of false beginnings and fuzzy full-stops, I feel I am forced to face the facts and begin in earnest all over again, toughened to that O so very grown-up state of knowing what you'd rather not know beyond the innocent bliss of believing in what is not quite true.

But perhaps it is not too late for me. They do say it never is.

I'll keep you posted,



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Looooooong Weekend

Last weekend was a three-day long weekend for all New Zealanders courtesy of the Queen of England. But my weekend was so much looooonger than three days that I have just come to the end of it today, Wednesday.

The reason being was not that I went away somewhere nice and enjoyed myself a little too thoroughly. No. Fat chance. Rather, I had a writing deadline for the Sunday to finish a critical chapter in order to meet the final deadline for submission of the whole manuscript this Friday and discovered instead that the critical chapter had critical flaws and needed to be entirely rewritten. I have just come to the end of it now. Some long weekends can be just too looooooong (a bit like this dog).

It gives you some indication of the state of my mental health that I am blogging about this sorry situation rather than getting stuck into reviewing the last two chapters to meet that Friday deadline. Of course if I don't make the deadline it will not be the end of anyone else's world but mine -- and possibly my children's, who have made it increasingly clear that they are sick to death of me saying I'm going to meet a deadline and not meeting it. And yes, this kind of thing has happened before. I may never meet a deadline, at this rate. At least that gives all you other wannabe writers out there a slightly better chance. You're welcome.