Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Waves today out along the coast.  Unfortunately, I've been hammered by the flu, so although I took a board out looking with me today, the fear of getting cold and sick again kept me out of the water.  I've lost about half a stone in sweat and vanished appetite, so jumping into sub-ten degree water is probably not high on the list of things I should be doing.  There were some guys on it and having fun though, and I took a few shots.  It's definitely harder trying to take decent surf pictures with a compact as opposed to an SLR - shutter lag, struggling to make out an LCD in daylight - still, got a couple of frames to make something of...

Plenty of grunt on offer today, for sure.  Beautiful blue skies and sunshine, and the headland at Blackhead is still just about big enough to keep the north-easterly off it.  It's vanishing surprisingly quickly - it's been quarried out for road stone. I can't help but think it's a little unnecessary to take an entire headland out.  

Smooth as a baby's bottom.

And here's the token arty attempt.  I can't wait to get back on it.

The surfing's not the only thing that's suffered.  Along with my physical energy, my creativity seems to have been well and truly sapped.  I keep resolving to get up at stupid times of night and write - just to harden the creative muscle, as it were.  (Stop sniggering at the back.)  Unsurprisingly, bed always seems to win.  Perhaps it's indicative of just how drained I am at the moment that I can't even link those two thoughts together properly.  Best stay away from pen and paper then, because it's never good to look back at past efforts and realise that yes, it really was utter crap.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Picking things up, putting 'em down...

It's a well-known technique for writers - putting a work aside, and then coming back to it with fresh eyes, motivation, or ideas.  After a couple of fallow months I got around to picking through the thriller again, and I'm feeling quite good for doing so.  I've been playing around - as I've mentioned in a past post - with a early-teen/young adult story which is, I think (and to continue the agricultural allegory,) in the fullness of time going to be quite a fertile row, or whatever.  But to labour a point, it needs fertilising, and to lay fallow itself.  Annoyingly, I don't seem clever or inspired enough - any of the time - to be able to string together a whole book's worth of good ideas without putting it aside at least once.  So that one's out to pasture, and the thriller's come back into the stable.

Maybe it's the genre, or maybe it's because parts of this story have been kicking around my head for so long, but I haven't had too much trouble getting the words out, and it makes me wonder if the reason I put it aside was a blockage of another sort - perhaps an emotional one on my part: an I'm not good enough kind of blockage, perhaps.  Think of it like a golfer getting the putting yips, perhaps - either way, it seems apparent that I can only write constructively on a project when the drive and inspiration together outweight the self-doubt.

Putting things aside in another way, I haven't been surfing since I got back from the 'naki.  I've had some truly beautiful, cold bike rides up and over Mount Cargill, heading out towards Blueskin Bay with snow-capped mountains on the skyline.  I've been looking for surf, mostly found none but once or twice blown it out because I can't be doing with getting cold on a miserable day.  Maybe I'm just going to have to mentally put my surfing aside until the elements align, and just pick up the bike instead and see what happens.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not quite a lightning bolt...

It's been an odd, great week.  I flew up to Taranaki with daughter number one, and from the moment we landed it felt very clear to me that I was home.  This is odd for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I've lived in (count 'em) thirteen different places in my life, and I've not yet ever moved away from somewhere and then had any tug to it whatsoever, let alone one as strong as that exerted by Taranaki.  I felt like the blessed child - I got to surf Weld (and got waves there, which for me is seldom a given), the Patch in the sunshine and light offshores with just me and a friend out, and then drove south along the highway, stopping in at a couple of places I've never even seen before, then getting good, if hungover waves south of Opunake. 

Quite apart from the obvious - going for a surf without having to check into the thermal injuries clinic afterward - the trips along the coast really did it for me.  It's easy to take waves round every corner for granted, easy to growl at the rocks that remove fins and lumps of shin, easy to take umbrage at the amount of cow shit coming down Taranaki's watercourses.  It's less easy to explain why it felt so right.

So, after not even six months the estate agent was back in the building last night and the house is - quietly for now - on the market again.  I have a month to try and knock the garden into some kind of shape.  The days are getting longer, there's even almost occasional warmth in the sun.  I'm sure there'll be waves along too, and I'll get to see Otago at it's best.  I'm going to enjoy every moment and try and garner more memories for the rest home, which will hopefully have a view something like this.