Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekly Geeks

The photos are, from left, the signpost at Bluff, which is a very small coastal town just outside the city _ it's pretty much literally at the bottom of the South Island _ Invercargill from the air, and a random gratuitous shot of the street where my office is. :)
We're taking a literary tour this week, Geeks. Details here:
I live in a relatively small city _ Invercargill _ right at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand. It's a pretty place to live overall; I was born and raised here, but a literary tour will take about two minutes.
The only author I can think of from here is Dan Davin: about whome I know almost nothing. It's a terrible thing to say, probably, but I'm not a great fan of New Zealand short stories. Novels, yes, but Kiwi short stories make me itchy for some reason. I have no idea why.
However, that's possibly another post some time. Or not.
Other than that … the closest literary figures to me geographically would have been Janet Frame who was born in Dunedin, a city about two and a half hours up the road, and where I went to university. I have read some of Janet Frame's novels, and she is Made of Awesome. Her last novel, Towards Another Summer, was published posthumously, and honestly contains some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. It was almost painful to read, it was that good.
One of the things that's important to understand about where I live, is the sheer space that surrounds it. Invercargill sits on the edge of the South Island pretty much, at the bottom of a pretty large, flat farming province. In New Zealand terms, I live in the Deep South. So if you drive out of town (which takes about five minutes) you're immediately surrounded by nothing but sky, and fields. It's either isolating, or inspiring. Sometimes both, come to think of it.
I often think that if I do get off my lazy ass and start writing, it will be heavily informed by the landscape around me _ I believe it heavily influenced Janet Frame.
That was a bit of a digression, but I don't talk much about where I'm from on here, so what the hell. I'll ramble.
The other Kiwi literary great who lived sort-of in my neighbourhood was poet Hone Tuwhare , who lived in the small seaside resort of Kaka Point. I've talked about him here before, and put up a couple of his poems.
Dunedin is very much a university town, and runs at least one literary fellowship, but the older I get, the more I realise that while those three years I spent at uni there certainly informed my reading, they wouldn't really inform any writing I might do _ Dunedin is built up on hills, and winding streets, which is kind of the polar opposite of where I'm from. On the other hand, its mindset is a bit more open, and that can be a hard thing sometimes _ to realise just HOW provincial my hometown is.
Which is my way of saying: thank whoever is out there for the internets. And my fellow book bloggers. Without you guys … I hate to think.
That wandered a bit off-topic, didn't it?
Oh well. Happy Weekly Geeks
Warm fuzzies :)


Anonymous said...

It sounds gorgeous - isolating and inspiring! That's how I imagine my perfect 'home' to be.

Never read any Kiwi literature, though... might try and check out some of Janet Frame.

Have a nice weekend:)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever read any Kiwi literature. The landscape and your town sound very interesting and inspiring. Happy weekend!

Jodie said...

Look at the lovely, lovely blue sky *sigh* - why doesn't mine look like that?

Lynn said...

Yay, a kiwi! I almost posted about New Zealand, but I thought I might be being a bit of a poser...not my hometown, but my husband is from Auckland so we visit often and the photography of the landscape is so beautiful it just begs to be shared. I haven't explored the South Island anywhere near as much as I'd like to, but when I do go back, I know who to go to for some off-the-beaten-path recommendations.

Lynn said...

PS - Our favorite kids books by New Zealand authors so far are The Lion in the Meadow (Margaret Mahy, born in Whakatane apparently) and My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes (by Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd - not sure about Eve Sutton but Lynley lives in Tauranga).

pussreboots said...

Thanks for the links. I have to admit to knowing very little about Kiwi lit.

I posted about a teacher of mine turned writer. Susan Vreeland.

Maree said...

anothercookiecrumbles: Thanks. I can give you some recommendations, if you like :)
whereisrikki: I hadn't thought of it that way until I started writing the post ...
Jodie: It doesn't look like that today - it's overcast and cold. But it IS pretty in the sunshine.
Infant Bibliophile: I lived there for eight months. Liked some of it, but not enough not to come home. I LOVE My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes.
pussreboots: You're welcome :)

Anonymous said...

Rambling is good. I actually wanted people to ramble on about where they live...that way, I can get in a little virtual traveling! :-D Thanks for the post!

Kerrie said...

I didn't realise you were an NZer Maree.
Did you realise Vanda Symon is in Dunedin?

Maree said...

Kerrie: Yep, we're neighbours, after a fashion :)
I forgot about Vanda Symon. I haven't read her books, but I know they've been well-received. Thanks for the reminder :)

Ana S. said...

I'd go crazy too without the internet. I really would.

It sounds beautiful where you live, but I know just what you mean about places that are both isolating and inspiring.

Staci said...

I would love to visit your hometown!! I need to read some kiwi literature!!

Kristen said...

I am loving this week's theme - getting to know other people's home a little bit better!

Katrina said...

Sounds like a lovely place to sit back and read.

susan said...

Enjoyed your post. Here's mine,
Detroit: City of Poets

christina said...

aaahhh. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand. It looks like one of the most beautiful places on the planet!