Something fishy.

Strange thoughts I had about fishing, and life.

 

I grew up a fisherman’s daughter

I measure my life not by length, or width.

But in depth.

 

These are some lessons I’ve pulled to the surface:

 

The early bird may catch the worm

But the early fishermen catch the sunrise.

 

A line cast out will only cause small ripples.

But from what other actions were waves born?

 

To measure ‘the fish you almost had’ is always as wide as your arms can stretch.

Which is also the standard measurement for hugs.

 

If a fish swallows a hook, it can be very difficult

(and probably painful)

to pull out because of a little barb attached to it,

preventing easy release.

The same difficulty is felt when

you swallow your own lies, and

try to spit the truth out afterwards.

 

A simple knot will not suffice against the struggle of a fish,

for it’s breaking point comes when one line

overpowers the other.

Similar to a relationship, you cannot tie

a simple knot and test the strength in

pulling apart.

Rather you should tie yourself like a lure,

twisting and threading around each other, until

the bind is within the layers and pulling only lessens

the space between the lines and

strengthens the overall bond.

 

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Friends are the best.

I Skyped a wonderful friend, Alheli, recently, and during our multiple discussions about real people and real things I piped up saying my writing had become stale, and I found little to no motivation about any topics since being back home. She came to the rescue by proposing we send each other random questions, 23 to be exact, and answer them in our next post. Friends really are the best.

So here we go.

1. Would you rather drown or die in a fire…on a plane?

I would rather drown as the plane went down. In my mind it feels more peaceful.

2. How do you know when you like someone?

I can look them in the eyes while talking to them. My brain entertains the possibilities further than a one night option. My breathing changes. My skin feels tense. It feels good all over.

3. How do you know if they like you?

I don’t. I’m really bad at the dating game and think no-one likes me ‘like that’.

4. Do you ever feel like the adverse of what you imagined happens when you chose to do one tiny insignificant thing (like eat breakfast) differently?

As in the butterfly effect? Some days I do. Especially when travelling. It’s like if I was a few metres ahead/behind would I end up in a better/worse situation.

5. Ever have moments when you could swear you know what someone across the room from you is talking about without being part of that conversation or listening in?

Not exactly, but I sometimes know what song will be next on the radio. I can’t explain it, but I hum the song, and it appears. Same with card games, I feel like I can influence others who are choosing the suit needed to play just by thinking it.

6. What’s the most intense deja vu you’ve ever had?

Having a regular working schedule, especially when I was working at Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School. Monotonous week day work gives me that feeling.

7. If you were injected into any fairy tale, which one would you want to be in?

Ahh, oh this is hard. I choose Aladdin, because I would sing ‘A Whole New World’ until my voice went hoarse.

8. What would you do in this fairy tale.

Magic carpet, anyone?

9. Which is worse: nose hair or ear hair?

Nose hair. Ear hair I could hide by just wearing my hair down.

10. Would you rather be gifted a wardrobe from the 1980s every year and get to pick and choose or keep your current wardrobe… forever?

Current wardrobe, you couldn’t pay me enough to wear all the fluoro the 80’s provided. And shoulder pads are just the worst.

11. Hot sauce on yer privates for 20 minutes or chlamydia for a year?

Hot sauce. I am cringing as I write this.

12. Finding out your lover is cheating on you with your sibling or finding out your lover has an odd, but fairly benign fetish?

Fetish. I feel like everyone has one of these, deep down. If they don’t, they are lying to themselves.

13. You can eradicate only one societal evil: misogyny or racism.

Misogyny. It affects me more.

14. If someone offered, would you eat human flesh?

If it was obtained in a 100% consensual manner from said person I was about to consume, yes.

15. Would you rather face 100 duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?

One horse sized duck. And then train it so I can ride it. It shall be named Sir Roger Wigglebottom the Third.

16. The world may be hit by a meteor and be obliterated and you only have 10 days.There is no way to know for sure. What you do?

Stay close to my family. Absolve myself. Be at peace.

17. Ideal Halloween costume? Why?

I would actually love to dress up as Hermione Granger. She’s badass, and magic is always a winner. The uniform looks sophisticated enough too.

18. Best joke you’ve ever heard.

A baby seal walked into a club. Heh.

19. Most important thing you’ve learned to date.

You have freedom of actions. Not freedom from consequences.

20. Your mantra/something you like to say…and why

            Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It reminds me that trying is the first step towards gaining anything.

21.What movie makes you cry and why?

I think the last time I cried from a film was watching ‘Schindler’s List’. But lately this slam poem brought a tear. Watch this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2Ks06Al8c0

22. How do we fix people who think they’re broken?

We guild their cracks with happiness, new memories, passion, love. We make their cracks their best features.

23. Where do you want to be?

On top of the world.

 

 

 

 

E.

Some raw thoughts about the broken.

I’m tired of the broken state of the world (Syria, I hope you are ok), and tried to find something beautiful, before the powerlessness took over my head. It’s raw and badly edited, broken you might say. But isn’t that the point.

 

 

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery

with a resin of lacquer and gold.

The cracks, the pieces, are joined together

by something rare and beautiful.

 

Its beauty is in the cracks.

 

Maybe we’ve been looking at broken things the wrong way.

 

When a fever breaks, instead of continued suffering,

you know you are getting better.

 

When morning breaks, instead of ‘having to face another day’

you are reminded that another 86,400 seconds are available for you

to change the world.

 

When light breaks, instead of shadows overpowering,

we are gifted with rainbows.

 

When (some) rules break, instead of anarchy,

a revolution has brought the opportunity for peace.

 

When silence breaks, awkwardness isn’t entering the room,

it means thoughts are brave enough to have found a voice.

 

When a hymen breaks, it doesn’t mean a girl has lost anything,

it means a girl is opening herself up to you

more than to anyone else.

 

When your heart breaks, it doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough,

it means you know what love feels like and

when you find it again, it will be better than any shattered memory.

Scientifically inaccurate short story.

Coordinates (rounded): 45.0285 Billion Light Years from Earth.

Estimated time of arrival: 20 minutes.

 

The year was immeasurable.

 

The space probe, Voyager 1, had launched from Earth in 1977. But years that measured four digits in length had not been recorded by Voyager 1 for a very, very, long time. Its tarnished silver sheen and singular blinking red GPS signal singled out its foreign nature amidst the starlight, as it raced across the blackened sky, zeroing in on its new target.

 

It’s initial mission had been to explore deep space. Regularly it had sent back transmissions concerning its velocity, distance, and future trajectory alignments while it passed through multiple galactic systems, some well known, and some newly discovered. The scientists back home, on Earth, would be diligently recording its every position, and hoping they predicted the right answers about the Universe. At present, the distance from home measured almost 46 billion light years, approaching the initial measurement of the observable universe scientists on Earth had theorized in 1977. Soon, scientists would know if the Universe had expanded, or started to collapse, or not moved at all.

 

Voyager 1 was also programmed to send back data regarding possible exosolar planets, aka an ‘exoplanet. It was one such promising transmission, of a nearby exoplanet looking source, that changed Voyager 1’s mission, and the last received signals from Earth had been to re-adjust its course to this new, promising, discovery. Since then there had been no interference from home, and the space probe continued approaching the exoplanet.

 

Coordinates (rounded): 45.8684BLY from Earth.

Estimated time of arrival: Seven minutes.

 

An exoplanet is a planet outside of the conventional Solar System the probe had left, when commissioned for its space expolartion project. An exoplanet is a back up plan. A new destination for humanity, if it ever destroyed Earth. The theories had been proposed on Earth, that for every planet discovered through our telescopes, a 0.0001% chance from these collective discoveries existed wherein one could be viable for life.

 

A 0.0001% chance for Plan B is what Voyager 1 was about to discover, it’s GPS was saying approach to the exoplanet was close.

 

It’s transmitting sensors started to activate as it approached the exoplanet. Initial long-range chemical readings proved promising; there were signs of Carbon and Oxygen of higher concentations than other failed exoplanet discoveries. The life sustaining possibilities, by calculations, seemed to be probable.

 

Coordinates (rounded): 45.9317BLY from Earth.

Estimated time of arrival: Four minutes.

 

ERROR.

ERROR.

ERROR.

 

Spatial scan of approaching coordinates indicate no spherical object present in foreground. Chemical detections still presenting Carbon and Oxygen. All chemical signals currently point to probably exoplanet existence. Spatial scanner shut down and Voyager 1 continued its approach.

 

Coordinates (rounded): 45.9533BLY

Estimated time of arrival: Three minutes.

 

Voyager 1 still on track to destination. No intereference from home.

 

Coordinates (rounded): 45.9838BLY

Estimated time of arrival: Two minutes.

 

Short range scanner detects presence of incoming rock. Iron composite with some nickel. Computer identifies rock composite as being consistent with those of known levels as found on Earth.

 

Coordinates (rounded): 45.9999BLY from Earth.

Estimated time of arrival: 30 seconds.

 

Rocks pass by Voyager 1 at an unrelenting pace. A suggestion of a recent explosion is what the scanner calculations on board the space probe predict. Rock continues to careen past Voyager 1, some pieces hitting its external shield in the process. Damage report sent to Earth.

 

20 seconds.

10…

9…

8…

7…

6…

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

 

Coordinates (rounded): 0BLY from Earth.

Estimated time of arrival: Destination arrived.

At a loss for words.

Amongst a library stack, surrounded by those whose words are already inked in success and bound by triumph , I performed in my first ‘slam poetry’ competition.

 

What a setting.

What a feeling.

What an experience.

 

I went there alone. No family member, or close friend, was told about my plan to enter a competition. A month leading to this night, I was preparing myself at workshops I would pass off as ‘listening sessions’.

I would say we are speaking in front of a group.

But never would I say it was to compete.

 

I didn’t want anyone to know.

 

I didn’t want another influence, telling me why I was doing this.

Why my gut ached to do this.

Why it mattered to me.

 

I was selfish.

 

I wanted this for myself.

 

And never has self-liberation felt as good as tonight, realising that you, and you alone, can be the driving force leading to victory.

 

To the slam poets out there, I raise my voice, and salute you all.

zine |zēn|

I attended Bryce Galloway’s zine workshop today, and proclaim it as one of the most liberating, and creative, workshops I have attended in all the years I have visited SPARK.

 

A zine is a self-published magazine, using original or appropriated materials to produce a small limited circulation. The main method of production is by using a photocopier. This is to limit costs, and to add a grime/raw aesthetic to the zine of which they are well known for.

 

Before this workshop, I didn’t know a publication like a zine could exist, or exist for more than one edition (Bryce will be having his 50th edition celebration tomorrow night). The advertisement suggested those who identify as ‘frustrated poets, comic artists, or politically inclined banterers’ should come and investigate this word, so I signed up.

 

Bryce started the workshop by showing slides of some New Zealand and international zines he had seen at various zinefests he had attended, and co-ordinated (he is currently the operator of the NZ zinefest held in Wellington).

 

Afterwards, we were grouped around three different tables, and took votes as to what theme we should work to when collectively producing our own zine. We had some magazines that had been provided/people had brought in from home laid out on the tables to use, as well as our own original drawings/poetry/prose to provide.

 

We had one hour to produce two A4 sized pieces of work. The theme my table chose was ‘anti politics’, a popular theme considering the daily news is filled with keywords like ‘GCSB’, and how there are always bigger fish to fry.

 

After hurriedly finishing the second page (we all forgot our mission was two pages, not one) we had to cull back to one page, lay everyone’s chosen page on the ground, and work together in producing layouts that were both cohesive to our theme, and looked nice. This process happened quite quickly, even though there were 17 voices in my group to argue with.

 

We photocopied our zine, and set up a production line for folding, clipping, mashing insides together, and finally stapling it all up using a $150 long handled stapler (they do not come cheap ladies and gentlemen).

 

Holding my first zine, I was reminded it was the first tangible piece of creative work I have accomplished in, what feels like, eternity. The beast of desire in my head had been awokened from its slumber, and was ready to get its zine brain turned on.

 

We learnt how to make a small eight-page zine from a single sheet of A4, so I have a starting point with which the beast will roam freely.

 

It feels very liberating, during experiences like these, to be reminded that there are others out there who will do things simply for the love of it, like creating beautiful things like zines.

 

Here is what a zine is not:

A zine is not traditionally ‘good’ to look at.

A zine is not made for money.

A zine is not made for fame.

 

Here is what a zine is:

A zine is an expression, a thought base, a movement.

A zine is frustration, anger, passion, wit, humour, emotion.

A zine is proof you are not a commodity.

A zine is proof you are something more than dollars and glory.

A zine is for the lols.

A zine is something everyone should do.

A zine is for ‘them’ to be reminded of the previous step.

But most of all, a zine is for you.

 

 

 

 

E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incomplete – help me?

This poem feels incomplete, so I need your feedback.

 

At birth, the umbilical cord is cut.

 

From this moment, the now phantom limb burns

deep in our gut, and wonders

how it’s ever going to

feel connected again.

 

Luckily for my generation,

never before have people been so

‘connected’.

 

With technology we can attach,

we can attach,

we can

attach.

 

But there are glitches,

mixed signals,

crossing between what we knew,

and what we now

know.

 

We know using our hands to swipe is a control,

and as such waving goodbye has become

a command.

 

We know that while

our eyes

give the greatest clarity and definition,

they cannot be trusted anymore,

because their shapes do not mirror

our rectangular visions.

 

We know our first words learnt are

‘iAm

 iAm i

Am’

and missing from our vocabulary is

‘we

Are’

 

We know the heart vibrates

when we receive messages from others,

and soon anatomy books will show

it being no longer in

our chest,

but in our pockets.

 

(Though every time we raise it 

to our ears, we are surprised to hear

no beat).

 

We know our ancestors could successfully

navigate all four corners of the globe

by repeatedly getting

lost.

Now we play a delicate

balancing act

walking, heads down, too scared

to deviate from the 5cm

tightrope screen,

we tip-toe to

the coffee shop

right in front

of us. 

 

We know how to like things,

how to like things,

how to like

things,

 

 

 

but not how to love.

 

 

 

 

 

E.

Little slices of death.

I hate sleeping. I find it strange how we’re designed to shut down for 5 – 12 hours, and have hallucypnotic (a combination of hallucinatory and hypnotic) tricks played on us by our beloved organ, the brain. Sleep equals zero productivity, and I am a workaholic in the sense that any accomplishment comes from ‘doing’. But ‘doing’ is a broad word to define, and most of the time my ‘doing’, is really just thinking.

 

So I’m not sure if I’m being hypocritical here, or not.

 

However I thought I’d share with you thoughts plaguing my brain at the moment.

 

  1. How powerful is a thought? Is it powerless until established as an action, or are some thoughts meant to remain confined in this non-physical realm of conscience?
  2. Some careers seem designed to promote a sense of elitism, and nothing more, which is rather sad considering the potential each of us have.
  3. Slam poetry is like heroin, you ache to perform, but once you get to the stage your heart races to infinity and the shakes set you off balance.
  4. How are there homeless people in NZ, and why does the image of the old man selling seashells for $1, with notes of goodwill written onto them, still plague me?
  5. David Farrier said“hey” to me and it was rad.
  6. I’m jealous of those who have no public display of their track record to success, and I want to know when personal success tips into the real world.
  7. Or perhaps there is no tipping point, and worlds collide.
  8. Girls.
  9. I really need to learn more Chinese.
  10. And WordPress.
  11. And code.
  12. And.
  13. And.
  14. And.
  15.  
  16. I hope China receives my paperwork soon, and will let me back there within a month.
  17. Being carless feels horrible.
  18. Thinking starts off meaningful, and deteriorates quickly into this mess.
  19. I’m hungry.
  20. Must stay awake.

 

 

Sometimes, words of maddening clarity appear, and I take action and write these thoughts down in an intricately compelling manner.

 

I’m sorry to say readers, tonight is not that night.

 

I think I’m writing this to show myself what a real ‘to-do’ list looks like.

 

Or maybe it’s simply to say I have ‘done’ something.

 

How do you feel about sleep? Do you caress your bed like a lover, and mold into it? Or stay awake like myself, and see that our punishment is gazing at the stars?

 

More importantly, what have you ‘done’ today?

 

 

 

 

 

E.

Cristina de Middel

Artists are a rare breed of mind. Rarely do they care much for the truth, for they know it is a myth. Yet, they love to instigate discussions surrounding this myth. They love to make you think. By means of light, eyes, and hands, artists across centuries have lined the road to curiosities, paved with good intentions from such minds we call ‘Masters’.

 

Cristina de Middel is one of this century’s new Masters.

 

At Spark International Festival of Media, Arts and Design, we were informed Cristina has 12 exhibitions opening globally this year, three of which were occurring on the same day. Two years previous to this, Cristina was, broadly speaking, relatively unknown on such a scale. How did she achieve such success at a tremendously quick pace?

 

Passion, delight, and “a little revenge every day”.

 

Cristina was a successful photo-journalist, working for large businesses like Reuters, all the way across to NPO’s based in third world countries. She learnt the traditional formulaic approach, in which news stories would be re-hashed every year at around the same time as years previous. There were only so many corrupt politicians one could photograph before the sport became as exciting as watching paint dry. The “informative value of the document” (document meaning photograph), recycled year after year, started to lose its mystical qualities of “truth” to Cristina. As a result, she created a blog http://eltercerpie.blogspot.co.nz/ (and a little payback) that ignited her curiosity and set her future alight.

 

This blog allowed for her experiments to gain momentum alongside the traditional 9-5 job she claimed as her security blanket. She would photograph the generic “truth” wanted by the media, then set about obtaining her own story from the same locations. This parallel allowed for quirky and delightful discussions. It was here that she could see documents need not be for shock/horror, but can be used for fun, for play, for discussions that asked from the audience, not tell you what you need to know.

 

I particularly enjoyed her project involving spam mail. She proudly declared she probably owns the largest collection of spam mail in the world. Now, spam is something we generally try to avoid. It wastes time (and for some ridiculous folks, their money). But spam is a great curiosity, in that it shows the creative nature of people, especially when trying to coerce others to release some of their hard earned cash towards their woeful tales of despair. Stories from her collection ranged from Nigerian banks, to marriage proposals, and a thousand more in between. Cristina selected eight delightful spam ‘stories’ and created from them an image to represent it. Turning a fictional string of sentences, into a real world image. Instantly, she blurred what we took to be fake Internet hash, and created images we would take (with a grain of salt) to be a representation of some idea of “truth”. 

 

Her wonderment and inspiring dedication to her work fuelled the rest of the presentation, with works like ‘The Afronauts’ detailing how she tricked mainstream media, the world she learnt all the rules of “truth” in, and changed what can be considered ‘real’.

 

Cristina de Middel is a force to be reckoned with. This new Master is going to show us that the galleries she shows in, these white cubes well known for holding fiction in high esteems, might instead show us, inside her documents, the real world we’ve been curious about all along,

 

Trust me on this, it’s the truth.

 

 

 

Cristina de Middel: http://www.lademiddel.com/

SPARK: http://www.spark.net.nz

 

 

 

 

E.

 

 

 

 

Review – Cassette Nine.

Generosity within hospitality means something more than standard definitions. It’s not simply brought about in the form of charity case handouts because you “forgot” your wallet/money/dignity. Nor is it used in false pretense to acquire an allegiance from patrons to encourage their return. When hospitality hands you a silver spoon (like free food/alcohol), you take it and you appreciate it.

 

My friend Heather and I had been walking around the perimeters of central Auckland looking to get some food into us after a long mental work out at the St Paul St symposium. Down Vulcan Lane we saw a wonderfully designed vintage-type-movie-poster-esque menu, the keywords ‘burger’ and ‘teapot’ on it took our fancies, and up the stairs we climbed.

 

Here is where we discovered Cassette Nine.

 

We were greeted at the top by a gentleman behind the bar, who flashed his dashing smile and directed us to a table that faced the dance floor and stage (this was to become a terrific location later on). He left us with some menus and said he’ll be right back. About three minutes later he was back, but alas, Heather and I were still debating the merits of chicken and onion rings. He said it was no trouble and he’d return again soon.

 

Unfortunately this ‘soon’ extended into over a quarter of an hour. Now to myself, this isn’t a long time. I’ve been to high-end restaurants where the wait between each course was in the 45-minute range, so I’m not using the word unfortunately from my position, rather from his. He returned behind the bar after being absent from sight, to which I caught his attention and he came rushing over. For our supposed days long wait (yes this is over-emphasised) he courteously offered us a free teapot as our supplement. Teapot drinks are, of course, awesome, and we unanimously agreed this was bad-ass of him.

 

Heather ordered a chicken burger (which came with the option of having the chicken breast deep fried, awwyeah) and I ordered their classic cheeseburger. Both were absolutely phenomenal (and ridiculously cheap for central Auckland prices). The onion ring side dish was crispy with a lovely aioli accompaniment, and we finished our meals at risk of stomach pains because leaving food feels like defeat and nothing tastes worse than defeat.

 

The bar started to become more occupied, and strange decorations started to appear. We quickly assumed a jungle theme night was to happen, because camo nets were hung from the ceiling. We were partly right; the facebook event we found online said ‘best dressed camo guest wins a prize’. What we also found was the pièce de résistance of the night: Electric Burlesque.

 

Free drink and now free burlesque, Cassette Nine you quickly placed in the top ten of bars I have ever visited. Seduction and fire dancing were not mentioned on the menu outside, but were quickly eaten up by the now largely packed crowd surrounding the stage, Heather and I still sitting in our now front row seats. We were given our receipt after the fire dancer’s performance, because the table was taking up too much space and they were transitioning from restaurant to nightclub. Looking at it we noticed one burger was $0.00. Now I can add free food to the list of free drink and entertainment.

A trifecta.

The Holy Grail of hospitality. 

 

Dashing gentleman wished us a pleasant evening, and we stumbled down the stairs with less grace than our approach only hours ago.

 

Walking back to our hotel we were on cloud nine, coincidentally the same number as our newly cherished establishment. Cassette Nine, please replay this magical night on my next visit.

 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cassettenine