Quaked but not Quaking

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Today has been a day of talking with lots of quake affected folk and  of making sense of things. It has been such a long four days since the quake. At least that’s how it feels. This first day of fearing, and then finding people, and of helping connect people to one another has been a strong lesson in what knits my world together. Namely, people, lots and lots of people, who are all connected eventually. The thought of some of those people leaving holes in the fabric of my life was terrifying. The sadness where people have been lost to others is immense. I just said to one dear person ‘light a candle’ having failed to find better words or deeds to comfort her for her loss. The enormity of the loss and damage when a person in our lives dies is huge. When a beloved city is so profoundly damaged, and many people die or are hurt, your helplessness in the face of nature and grief multiplies disproportionately. But if there is anything this has shown me it is that this sense of helplessness is to some degree a huge illusion.

I love the way my Christchurch friends have rallied around. You guys are so brave. I love seeing foreign countries rush to send help (search and rescue from Taiwan, GB, USA, Singapore,  and Aussie for instance), greedy corporations deploy their tools selflessly (Fonterra sending 200,000 litres of water by rail), homes opened, and wallets opened. Please give to the New Zealand Red Cross and the Christchurch SPCA. I have heard through Radio New Zealand that money rather than second hand gear is the preferred donation as it is easier to spread the effect of a cash donation and to administer generally.

It has been amazing to watch people rock the social networks to help each other find loved ones, beds, power, work space, lost pets, food, water, baby formula and more. It has seemed like everybody in the country pitched in on those practical issues. Websites were quickly set up and deployed to marshal assistance. There have also been positives in what we haven’t done. Most people have stayed off phones to allow the overloaded lines to be used by emergency services  and those trapped under building debris.

In the past day I have had some new experiences as have most people I know. I have:  offered the use of my home publicly to strangers, helped find loved ones via cellphone and computer networks,  offered to feed people, looked over my emergency kit and shaken my head in remorse, gone to my sister’s house just to hold her and harangue her to fix up her emergency kit, failed to sleep out of anxiety for friends still unaccounted for and an inability to turn away,  and I have listened to the humour of friends in a disaster and shared mine with them.

All these things have made the world very small. It is a tiny place within which we aren’t just connected, we understand each other and rub elbows even if we never met. My Rosie girl said that in the quake she met the best friend she never knew before – the woman who she hugged so hard and was hugged by while the world tried to undo itself.  Footage showed coworkers carrying each other, digging each other out of rubble, spooning each other on the ground for comfort. What every person does is felt. I have seen it so clearly in the past day. I do not think I will ever feel as alone again in the human, humane world.

I just lucked onto…

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This wonderful Margaret Mahy documentary on channel one. A shame it was screened at god awful o’clock – I was thrilled I caught it.


Mary Victoria's Book Launch and Other Happy Things

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On the fifth of February I went to the Weta Cave to attend Mary Victoria’s book launch for Samiha’s Song.

It was a lovely event and I really enjoyed meeting Mary and Frank Victoria – so much talent in one household!!! Mary has been a Weta animator and Frank still is. Now Mary concentrates on her writing full time and she is working hard on the third book of her trilogy which will be released in August of this year.  I had a great time at the launch – there were many friends there new and old.

While I was at the Weta Cave I also saw this knife:

I’m thrilled to have spotted it – it is exactly the knife I picture the Beast Masters of the Rift Tides series (which Somewhere Else is part of – Beast Masters will appear in the second book To War) using. So I have put it up here as a source of ongoing inspiration.

I bought the first book in Mary’s series Tymon’s Flight because I hadn’t yet read it. I have recently been on a reading frenzy of Sean McMullen books but – perhaps feeling guilty because Bess has chewed the back cover of one of Mundens signed hardcovers *wince* – I’ve succumbed to the tempting cover art of Tymon’s Flight and have just started reading it. I love the idea of a world that exists solely in the canopy of a giant tree. So far the writing is simply beautiful – and I am just at the beginning. I have a feeling this story will swallow me up for hours as all really good books do. I will keep you all posted.

Mary is also running a wonderful series on Strong Women Writers and her current installment features Helen Lowe. You should head over to her delightful site and take a look.

Chinese New Year Parade Pics

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Fantastic News about Lynley Dodd

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All over the English speaking world kids know and recite the rhymes of Lynley Dodd. I was camping in the Middle East several years ago and a group of children, on hearing I was from New Zealand, starting reciting Hairy MacLary. They followed this feat up with much of Slinky Malinki and the story of Bottomley Potts. It has always surprised me that Lynley doesn’t get made more of a fuss of at home.

That being so I am very glad about this piece of news.