If I could send the posts I write in my head straight to my blog by telepathy, it would be a much busier place (although it might need a little editing).
I had good intentions last week, but never quite wrote any of the posts I was planning. So, in brief:
The second of the autumn series of poetry readings took place on Wednesday night. While enjoyable, I felt neither the "bring your own" poets nor the invited readers were quite up to the standard of the previous week. The highlight for me, and a poet to watch out for in the future, was Marissa Johnpillai, a young Sri Lankan/New Zealand poet who attended classes at the Christchurch School for Young Writers with my daughters. Talented then, she has only improved since. I liked her approach to introductions. She explained that she had been told she needed more patter between her poems. But as she didn't like doing introductions, she compromised by writing one for each poem, then bringing them up in a jar and pulling them out at random, so that the introduction didn't actually belong to the poem being read next. For example "the word 'spelunking' doesn't appear in this poem, but it would not be inappropriate".
Frankie McMillan won the vote for best open mic reader. That means that twice in a row I've picked the winning poem. It's never happened to me before. Is my taste improving, or is the audience's?
Earth Hour was held here on Saturday night (due to the vagaries of world time zones, we get to be first). I sort of celebrated it by turning off the television and most but not all of the lights while I did the dishes - leaving the light on above the sink. I am a bit of a cynic and as far as I can see, "saving" the environment by turning off our low energy light bulbs and lighting candles - as many restaurants did - makes about as much sense as turning off our energy efficient heat pumps and lighting our open fires (which will be banned here from next year). I'd rather make more permanent changes that might actually make a real difference.
Local author Helen Lowe is a finalist in the Sir Julius Vogel awards, in both Best Young Adult novel and Best New Talent categories. Congratulations to Helen, this is a well deserved recognition. Still, I am left musing a little. Helen's novel retells the Sleeping Beauty story from the viewpoint of the prince. Some of her short stories and poetry draw on Greek myth and legend. The awards are for science fiction and fantasy, and while I recognise there is an overlap, these days fantasy seems to be winning over science fiction. As a child I loved fairy stories (Andrew Lang's "Yellow Fairy Book", "Green Fairy Book" and the rest of the paintbox of fairy books). Later I discovered science fiction and devoured all I could find in my late primary and early teen years. It never occurred to me at the time that the two had anything at all in common. One short story I read in my teen years actually sparked a science fair project, when I followed up the scientific content of it and found that it was actually possible to extract minerals from sea water (I will spare you the technical details). It was the fact that the science was real, even if the setting was imaginary, that excited me. Something that seems to be missing in most speculative fiction these days.
I'm not against fantasy as such though. Last night I checked out the first episode of a new TV series, The Legend of the Seeker. Entertaining enough, although much of the entertainment comes from trying to identify filming locations and familiar actors. "You went orienteering there, didn't you?" my daughter asked.
It always amused us to spot New Zealand native plants in ancient Greece, in episodes of Xena and Hercules. And my daughter always reminds me of the classic Xena scene, in which a bowl of apples prominently displayed an Enza brand sticker.
That's about it as far as I can remember - maybe I will write a lengthier poetry reading report this week.