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Tiny and Big Ruins



This is my comic for the last issue of Metro Magazine – the new Metro is now out, wending its way to newsstands. I did get to see Tiny Ruins, and they were fabulous. The inside of the Crystal Palace was almost everything I’d hoped for – decaying splendour – and it put me in mind of Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter duet, where people went to theatres such as these to experience the dreams of the master dreamer. Unfortunately there were no flappers – only hipsters.


And here is a sneak preview of the comic I’ve got running in the next issue – it’s my public transport fantasia, where Auckland trains are reliable, you can hook bikes on the front of buses, and pedestrians get to share inner city spaces with trams. 


Last night I took the ferry across to Waiheke where I had my One Island, One Book evening at the beautiful new Waiheke public library. Public transport failed me – my connecting train was 15 minutes late so I had to grab a lift to the ferry terminal. And the last train back to Mt Albert left 5 minutes before the ferry landed. Arrrgh!!! Auckland, step up! 

It was so gratifying to be in a room where a significant number of people had read The Fall of Light and wanted to talk about it. They broke off into groups and vigorously discussed character and plot issues. They came back to report that I’d got the adoption part right, which I was deeply relieved about, because I didn’t have direct personal experience, and I had relied on research.  

And tomorrow I’m off to Christchurch, the big ruin in the title, to wave the flag for NZ comics as part of the very exciting Word writers festival programme. I can’t wait. Christchurch, see you there!



Sensory overload




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After this experience I was totally hyper. I was very grateful that I hadn’t brought Gus, who’s had an official ASD diagnosis, because he would’ve completely lost it, it and it took all my self-control not to lose it myself. 

Okay, news, news, news! This week is a bit crazy – I feel a bit like a rock star. 

On Wednesday I go to Waiheke Island to talk at the One Island, One Book event. Yes! I have colonised an island with The Fall of Light! 

On Friday I go to Christchurch to speak at the Word festival. On Saturday night I will be singing and dancing and maybe crying to Kristen Hersh.

On Sunday morning I fly back at 7am (eek!) to appear at the Storylines Family Day festival, where I will be running a comics and zine-making table for kids along with the wonderful Sophie Oiseau. Bring your kids along! Dress up as a big kid!

And I also have some other exciting news about editing an anthology of NZ women’s comics, but I will save that for its own special post. If you’re an NZ woman (living here or ex-pat) and a cartoonist, watch this space.

Self-portrait with Parisian socks



I bought these socks in Paris, in a little shop just around the corner from our apartment in the Rue de Saint-Denis. I bought them with the knowledge that my legs were the wrong shape for above-knee socks, that they would invariably slip down and drive me crazy, but I loved the print and the colour so I bought them anyway. The shop was in between a Lebanese restaurant which sold the most delicious stuffed eggplants, and a chacuterie, where I bought a slab of goat’s cheese. I wish I lived in Paris.

My ribbed turquoise jersey I bought in Palmerston North, in an op-shop off Pioneer Highway, where the circus used to come when I was a child. The circus, the circus! I remember the circus coming to my school, with its little shetland ponies and scary clowns, its trapeze artists with callouses behind their knees. Where are those little circuses now? How can I run away and join them?

I used my socks as a guide for colouring a comic:


Socks can be very useful, even when they slip down.

Self-portrait with hot water bottle cover



Today Violet decided she would dress me, so she fished around the back of the wardrobe where we store all the unnecessary items until she found my Wallace Rose dress from the late nineties. She also found a giant fake fur coat, which I declined to wear. I was a bit worried that this dress was dated, but I figured the nineties were back in style and this was a genuine article. It’d probably cost me a lot of money – I bought it before I had kids, when I had a half-decent job, and I’d spend my Saturday afternoons sifting about the shops. I liked Wallace Rose – it was vintage chic before vintage was a big thing.

I’m holding onto a hot water bottle cover that my mother knitted me. She felt she had to because she made one for my sister, and she worries that we’ll get jealous of each other. My badge was designed by artist John Reynolds and I bought it at a naval museum one afternoon in Devonport. At my feet is a giant pile of weeds – I did the gardening in these clothes because I can never be bothered getting changed into gardening gear and the soil was just damp enough to release the weeds and not wet enough to cake me in mud. I filled up our green bin that will be collected next week, and I marvelled at how we have 2 compost heaps and a worm bin and a giant pile of sticks and leaves and still it’s not enough to contain all the green that keeps on growing harbouring snails that keep on slithering. As I gardened one of the neighbourhood free range bunnies lippity-lippitied over to me, re-dug the dirt and looked a bit disdainful that I’d pulled out all his puha.

Self-portrait with groceries



I used to love going to yoga before I had kids, but ever since I did I’ve been finding it hard to go. And because I’ve left it so long every time I go back it feels so hard. I am particularly bad at holding my own weight with my arms, which always spurs self-loathing as I consider how big-boned and heavy I am. On the other hand, I am remarkably flexible when it comes to doing hip exercises, and I am always reminded of how I managed to birth 3 babies in one or two pushes, no C-sections required. Which was a consolation prize after my over-analysed high risk diabetic pregnancies. 

I have started going to The Centre, a studio a friend has started up, and my yoga teacher explains each move with bio-mechanical exactitude, naming specific muscles and bones as she leads us through a sequence. Today my mat was beneath a hanging orchid flower and it would occasionally spit a gob of water at me. I am wearing green linen pants that I bought at the Gladstone School Gala for 50 cents. All the other yogis wear those tight below-knee lycra pants, but I can’t bring myself to go to a sports store to buy them. I invariably wear the wrong shirt and it flops in my face as I do downward-facing dogs.

After yoga I go supermarket shopping. I do it as quickly as possible, drafting the week’s menu as I fling cans and loaves into my trolley. Today the checkout operator thanked me for giving him the heavy things first because it made it easier to pack my trolley, and I felt pleased with myself to think that I’d made his life easier, when he had to work inside on such a sunny day.

Self-portrait with daffodil torch



Violet made me this Katy Perry Roar staff by picking the remainder of the daffodils and threading them on a stick. I’m sad for my daffodils, but I’m impressed by their sculptural qualities. I’m wearing a favourite op shop dress that my friend Helen sent me a few years back (you can see it for real here) and I added snow because my friend Drew sent me a picture of himself in the Dunedin blizzard. Snow! I haven’t seen you for so long.

Self-portrait with cat biscuits



I was given a little notebook last week and I thought that maybe I would do a self-portrait series, since I don’t work in an office, and nobody gets to see my outfit. I am particularly pleased with my new necklace I’ve been sent from Mali (via Belgium) and I’m enjoying my new boots, which are like my 1991 docs only they haven’t gouged a pit in my foot. Around my feet are cat biscuits – I asked Violet to feed the cat and she flung them like confetti. Next to me is the flower arrangement she made, picking the daffodils and magnolia that have bloomed at the promise of spring, and adding a stretch-marked balloon for extra pinkness.


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