Festive feeling and a bit of a lift

The statue of Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz stands in the Main Market Square in the Old...
The statue of Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz stands in the Main Market Square in the Old Town district of Krakow. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
This week I am tending towards the euphoric. I've been spending time in festivalland, a kid in the Festival of Colour lollyshop, writes Liz Breslin.

Liz Breslin
Liz Breslin

I've been spending time in feministland, listening to and MCing for a brilliantly boggling array of smart, kind, collaborative speakers at the HerVoiceNZ lecture series. And I've been spending time in joyous almost-belief at the news that I've been given an international residency in Krakow later on this year. Two months. To me. To write. Because I'm a writer. I read it in the actual news. So it must be true. See. Euphoric, me.

I'm still not very good at saying "I'm a writer'' out loud. A good place to practise this, I was once told, is on skifield chairlifts. The safety barrier means the unwitting questioner cannot physically escape the conversation. Their goggles shield their rolling, dulled or crossed eyes. You can't see the white knuckles of please-don't start-saying-poems under gloves. And even when it's a real slow TC Saddle sort of chairlift and even when I say something particularly inarticulate or apologetic, ski lift chat is like fight club or what goes on tour. No need to mention it after.

Talking about writing and as a writer is something I think I'm going to have to get more articulate and less apologetic about. It's all very well being eloquent on the page. All praise to copy/paste! All hail to the marvellous delete key! All joy to the ability to crib synonyms and rephrase! To frame my reliance on these, a quick self-survey reveals that in writing/editing those few sentences at the start of this paragraph, I used copy/paste twice and the delete key at least 17 times and that is not only because I am euphoric and knackered, that's absolutely standard practice for getting my train of thought in order.

I talked to Jeff Harford on the oarsomely named OARsome Morning Show on OAR FM last week with a mind full of euphoria and festivalland and feministland and a body more than slightly deficient of sleep and caffeine. I just about managed to string sentences in order and there was only one question he asked that I face-palmed over afterwards with a serious need to copy/paste/delete/rephrase my answer. Because when Jeff asked: ``When we reflect on Dunedin's status as a Unesco City of Literature, for you as a writer, what does that mean?''. I said something random with a lot of ummms about standing on shoulders and darkness and what does that even mean?

Since we're kind of in the chairlift of my column together now, and since the dopamine of euphoria is obviously still uninhibiting my thoughts and since I'm behind the goggles of not watching you read this, what I was actually thinking about, in response to your question, Jeff, was the statue of Robbie Burns and that debate a while back about replacing him and I was wondering whose local head we could put on the body first, because there are so many to choose from. Or how maybe the statue could be a multiheaded hydra of oarsome Dunedin writers only nobody is slaying their heads off to replace them with others, they're more like calendula heads that keep growing peacefully and more and all do poetry readings and put on plays and eat great snacks at events together. (I am not sure how the hydra would get to the events. I am making myself not use the delete key for this entire paragraph.)

And I was thinking about how excited I am about the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival and that when I'd opened each and every DWRF event I wanted to go to on new tabs on my computer, there were more tabs than I could count and it jiggled and froze because its computer-brain-nerve-centre-thing was too full of interesting festival goodness to go on. I know how it feels.

I was thinking about how every time I get in and out of the water at St Clair, I'm struck by the etched reminder about the days being longer than the nights on the steps. And about how I cried the first time I found out I had a poem in Landfall. And about the day of my book launch at the University Book Shop when they kept it open even though the weather was literally treacherous and people turned up even though the weather was literally treacherous.

And somehow all those thoughts morphed into ummms and shoulders and darkness. So - deep breath - all I'm trying to say is this: right now, as a festivallander, a feministlander, a City-of-Literature-representer, a writer, a listener, a watcher and a sayer, I'm so grateful and so all-full and, just, wow.

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