Nifty

At the beginning of the month, it seemed like a pretty nifty idea to dust off an old project. I estimated a few days — a week, tops — to make it submission-ready.

This first-pass of edits was not a good sign:

And a fortnight has passed already.

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Ella 2003–2017

Ella. Rated for 250g of Whittakers chocolate.

The Dog — actual handle Ella — was farewelled by the Mamea aiga today.

She was loved, and she loved us. There’s nothing I can write here that I haven’t already written.

May there be plenteous rolled roasts and Whittakers Peanut Butter Chocolate wherever she is now.

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Eleven Years

Last Sunday was the eleventh anniversary of this website.

I kid you not:  unless my maths is awry, we opened in 2006, our first anniversary would’ve been 2007, which means 2017 makes this site eleven. Years. Old.

Random 2009 pic: less grey hair and my previous pair of specs on my part, otherwise the same old Dog.

I’ve a few productions under my writing belt, I’ve been published, and now I’m also writing for theatre. I have representation. Various projects are in various stages of progress. There are a disturbing number of people out there who I’ve never met who know my face and/or my work.

I reside in a new, improved (and defensible) Fortress Mamea. I remain enthralled by The Lovely Wife whose love and calming words have kept me out of jail all these years. Our children are making their way in this world. Our animals are happy and healthy and loved.

A touch over a decade on, I feel considerably more comfortable with referring to myself as a writer. I’ve a better grip on my process, my grasp of the rules and tools is less tenuous, and my slate of projects means I’m rarely short of a story or an idea to explore or develop.

… Yeah. I think I might have the hang of this writing gig now.

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Box Watch: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale was my first Margaret Atwood book. It introduced me to her other writing. I’m a fan.

So when I heard last year about this television adaptation, I was prepped and ready to hate it hate it hate it so much that I wasn’t going to even bother wasting my time watching it. And then…

First ep in and I’m on the fence: great world-building but I don’t like the flashbacks — I’d read the book, dammit; viewers should either fill in the gaps or use their damned library cards if they were confused. Second ep in and I’m immersed: the flashbacks aren’t gratuitous; and lead (and producer) Elisabeth Moss’ performance is television gold. The eps are consumed in rapid succession — I read somewhere that it’s been renewed for a second season — and then the season ends just where the book ends and something goes off in my head:

They’ve gone off-book.

I haven’t been this excited about a sophomore season since I don’t know how long.

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Home Again

Civic Square with The Lovely Wife, Wellington.

The Lovely Wife and I have just returned from a few days south where we —

It was exhausting but funUntil next time, Wellington.

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Doors and Windows

The phrase, When God closes a door, She opens a window, has been looping in my head for the past week and a half.

On the last day of May I received an email telling me a project I was hoping to set up had fallen through. Within twenty minutes of reading that, I received another email: a separate project I thought was on the slow track had been switched to the fast track — so fast track that some colleagues and I are pitching it this Monday in Wellington. (Calm down: I was already headed to my hometoon for a bit of culture.)

I’m sorry I can’t name names at the moment but believe me, you’ll be among the first to read it here. In the meantime:

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New Media, Old Problem

Besides this website, my online presence includes Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I could be on innumerable other platforms out there but time and aptitude preclude me from being every(virtual)where. It’s the aptitude more than time.

Facebook in particular is a seductive timesuck. I don’t mind seeing what family, friends and acquaintances are up to. It’s the cat videos and trailers for upcoming movies that are the problem. And then I get a timely and ungentle reminder of why clicking on video links suck big time:

Fucking buffering.

(Above screenshot is from the trailer for upcoming Oz zombie show Wyrmwood: Chronicles of the Dead. Official — and full — trailer here.)

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Kool-Aid

Julia Croft and Chicken puppet, and Goretti Chadwick mid-workshop, early May 2017. Puppet by Katie Parker.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of a workshop on the latest play (its presentation was warmly received, thank you), and since then I’ve had a debrief with the principals, I’ve made a couple of pages of notes on what I could do next, and … done nothing else.

It’s partly planned and partly laziness. The laziness needs no explanation.

The planned part is the result of a workshop I had once upon a time. At that workshop, the script was scrutinised by all involved, and opportunities for improvement were sighted and noted. In the month that followed, I made sweeping changes that rode the post-workshop wave of excitement and possibilities.

Some time later when that draft was presented, I was stunned at how easily and quickly I had sold out. At the time of the workshop and in the discussions afterward it had all made so much sense: this and that were all that were wanting — once I had addressed those concerns, the adulation would naturally follow.

It was a harsh lesson: I had drunk the workshop kool-aid — I had believed what had felt really good in the moment of that workshop, believed that where I’d been heading up to that point was a fool’s errand, and endless exciting possibilities and opportunities beckoned if only I could relax a little. I had ignored my instincts to tell the story in a way that felt right to me.

So this month I’ve been cutting wood, pulling weeds, visiting friends, and writing other things. Whatever is still hanging around in my head come June, that will be worth holding onto for the next draft.

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Melbourne

Melbourne was fun. Hard to believe it was only a month ago that the Lovely Wife and I were across the ditch.

She had Her stuff.

Ikea, Richmond. (Photo: JP Kyle, weekendnotes.com)

I had mine.

Forges of Footscray.

Yeah, it’s been almost a decade since my last budget-blitzing-blast at Forges, so it was naïve of me to think it’d still be there, the passage of time and all.

Otherwise we saw family and friends, we bar-hopped, and tried the local fare. We do so like Melbourne.

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STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS: a reading

Three chickens at Fortress Mamea (West Auckland), 2011.

Auckland Theatre Company are hosting a reading of Still Life With Chickens next week.

Directed by Andrew Foster, featuring Goretti Chadwick, Julia Croft, and Fasitua Amosa, with a workshop chicken puppet by Katie Parker, and under the watchful dramaturgical eye of Philippa Campbell Jo Smith, it’ll be 45 minutes of laughs, clucking and gardening.

If you’re in the neighbourhood next Thursday, check it out:

  • Thursday 4 May 2017 at 4:30pm
  • Auckland Theatre Company Studios
    487 Dominion Road
    Mount Eden
    Auckland

Manuia.

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