Friday, September 28, 2018

Debating judging at Rotorua Boys High School and Rotorua Girls High.

Winners of the year 13 debate  Boys High with the winning  trophy.


The great Debate between Rotorua Girls  High School and Rotorua Boys High School .

 I judged three debates along with other English teachers last Tuesday night and it was a pretty close race in many of the competitions. 

 This is the fourth time I have judged debates in association with Boys High and every time I do it I learn more and am always surprised by the professional performances of the competitors.

 It is a time of thinking on your feet and intelligent argument, backed up with sound statistics and research along with formidable rebuttal. 
  Half the marks are awarded to presentation of the argument and this is where I really focus.

Good eye contact, pauses, speaking slowly and audibly, having convincing body language and a flair for the dramatic always helps me to decide who wins.

Practise in these areas is crucial so that you can exude confidence.

The topics this year were interesting and engaging.
 Year 9.  Moot  Homework is not beneficial to students.

Year 10.   Moot  NZ needs to have a sugar tax.

Year 11.  Moot Household recycling is a waste of time

Year 12.  Moot Zoos should be banned

Year 13. Moot  Fake news Threatens democracy.
 
The competition was well run by Rotorua Girls High.
They sent some useful handouts about judging debates before hand, provided a nice supper and gave the judges a lovely present of chocolates and an orchid.

A thoroughly enjoyable event.
It was great to see a lot of parental support and attendances by both principals.
I think having  combined events between the Girls and Boys High schools is healthy.
It teaches  pupils about friendly rivalry and co-operation.

I look forward to further judging opportunities.
It's a great community service to be involved with schools in this way.
It's very inspiring to see all these talented young people being so brave and competent. 


Experiences of public speaking will serve them  well in  their promising futures.

 Public speaking quotes.  
“Healthy debating enforces critical thinking principles - looking at things from the different angles, with increased perspective and less prejudgment.”
Pearl Zhu,
Digital It: 100 Q&as



 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Cabbage tree and Reflections from Rotorua New Zealand. Thoughts on the NZ Society of Authors Forum and writing in general.



Last weekend I attended the New Zealand Society of Authors forum in Auckland.

 I travelled all the way up on the bus by myself and booked into some accommodation that was just down the road from the university where it was held. 
I even made it all the way back on the bus and into the arms of my awaiting husband in Rotorua.

This is no small achievement  for me because I'm not a great fan of Auckland because of the traffic and the urban concrete landscape.









I feel from this experience I would be ready to face travelling to Sydney on the plane  by myself to attend  the Sydney or Byron Bay Readers and Writers Festivals.
This may happen.
Who knows?

Visualise to materialise.
 





.


When I travel overseas I always rely on my husband Graham to sort everything out like rental cars and transfers. 
 He takes charge and I sit down guarding the bags dreaming, writing poetry and watching people.


It's effortless for me and empowering for him.
Even though I'm a rampant feminist I am happy to delegate the logistics to him.





The thought of doing all this by myself is daunting and scary, but  maybe less so now I have completed the mishap free Auckland adventure,




The forum in Auckland  included  around 250 professional writers of all types including novelists, bloggers, journalists and people interested in writing for pleasure or profit.
 I felt like I was with my tribe.


There were panels of published authors discussing people's books and trends in publishing, writers taking workshops and healthy food.







 People were friendly if you wanted to talk to them during the breaks.
I tended not to engage in conversation with people because after each session I wanted some down time to think.

 
Several people came up to me to talk and I responded but these days I don't find the need to endlessly engage my mouth.


 It was a very intense time of learning and writing.  
I knew some people as well and I talked to them.
 

It was invigorating and a time of affirming the importance of being a writer.







When tutors set us writing tasks during the workshops there were  no hesitations or people with writers blocks because everyone was flying or floating on clouds of creativity.








I have attended many courses on writing, slaved my way through a Bachelor of Arts, written many essays for my Art Diploma and  written thousands of words in daily journals. 


I've  composed and presented hundreds of speeches for Toastmasters and written columns for newspapers for four years. 
 
I've been writing more or less continuously for the past thirty two  years and it has made me happy and fulfilled. 


You could say it's vital to my sense of self and happiness.
I would be lost without the ability to express myself with the written word.






Living in Rotorua I always feel that I am pretty much alone with it.
 Far removed from  the Wellington and Auckland 
epicenters where  literary geniuses live.

 I feel that living here away from access to frequent quality literary gatherings has had the effect of watering down my writing to a trickle.

It could be a massive flow at all times.

The key is to keep up the momentum and organise frequent top ups.


 Otherwise your writing could feel like an irrelevant task.
Or just a frament part of a worn out dream.


 I feel after attending the forum that if I want to write I just have to keep writing and look out for opportunities.


If it is supposed to be,  opportunities will flood towards me in an endless stream of abundance, but I need to have faith and believe.


 





Goals can't be watered down by geographical isolation.

That is just another excuse and there will be endless excuses that are promoted by the nagging, negative voice inside your head. 

The trick is to negate the voice, meditate, tell it to shut up and keep on focusing on hitting the ball. 

One of my latest excuses was perhaps I'm too old at 57, perhaps I've missed the boat. 

It used to be I'll never get published, it's a waste of time.
 Be prepared for hundreds of rejections many of the tutors running workshops would say.


There are endless stories of doom and negativity and you can either buy them and give upor keep on plugging on.

 What separates someone who says they want to write book from someone who gets on and does it?
Determination, focus and committing to writing every day.


Having an organised framework of how you are going to attack the challenge and  having good role models also helps.


For the first time; (since attending the forum), I really feel it will be possible to keep on track with all the writing projects I have in planning stages.




If I had unlimited money and time I would like to do a Masters in Creative Writing at Auckland University.
Focusing on poetry and short stories of hope.

This would be my dream.
 
 



 I'm not going to write dark dreary stuff.
There's too much of that already and many members of the public don't want to read it.










What is stopping me?
1. Money I don't want to be devoting that much to study unless I received a scholarship
2. Geographical location, I don't want to be away from my husband and cat in Auckland.
3. Time I need to keep running my art business to earn money here.



 However in my experience if you want to do something enough you will find a way.
 



Ways could be to seek out other writers forums and systematically attend them all over the country.

I have a huge library  of books on how to write and I am doing all the writing exercises in a book. 
I am assuming out of these exercises, I will find something I want to develop to a publishable state. 
 


Travelling all around the world attending writing workshops would be magnificent.
Blissful, superb.
Making a poster about it and visualising that I obtain opportunities would be a great start.
Having faith and accepting opportunities that open up would be a plan.


I would like to travel all over New Zealand to schools to teach  poetry writing and art making classes.


I am focusing on entering poems to literary journals.

It  is no longer true that you need to paper your walls with rejection slips from the gatekeeper publishers.
 



The self publishing scene is gathering respectability.
 Everything is changing so much with the advent of the internet.

Did you know that Harry Potter was self published at first because no-one wanted to publish the book?
Seems ridiculous now doesn't it? 
 




There are huge opportunities for children's book writers.
 When I was first looking into it everyone said it's practically impossible to be published.

Children are all giving up reading books because they are glued to their computers.
  
 Which proves you don't want to talk to naysayers because things change.

 I have been going into children's sections of the library for over thirty years and I've been making children's book  illustrations for about twenty years.
I have a huge collection of illustrated children's books and love them.



I buy and read a lot of books.
 I have taught classes on writing.




So now it's a matter of putting it all into action.
Ticking off the jobs.
Publicising and flying.
Turning the production into money making possibilities.



It's all out there it's a matter of harnessing it all.




It is possible to write about anything and make it interesting.

Do some research and add your own magic.



Swamp dwelling cabbage trees
Used by ancient Maori as food
and medicine for gastric upsets.



Roots of the cabbage tree were
 cooked and had a similar taste
 to kumara.




The inside of each clump has soft,
green inner leaves that are edible.
Maybe the taste
 reminded the European
settlers of cabbage.





The cabbage tree to me  does not look
like any cabbage I know 
More like  the spines of porcupines or  hedgehogs.

The country about the bay is agreeable beyond description and with proper cultivation might be rendered a type of second paradise.
The hills are covered with beautiful flowering shrubs, intermingled with a number of tall and stately palms.
We saw the tree which produces the cabbage, which ate well boiled and amongst such variety of trees are upon this land, there are doubtless may that produce edible fruit. Our botanists were agrreably employed in investigating them
Sydney Parkinson Tolaga Bay 1769. The Endeavour.
Creativity Quote of the day

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.-Hal Borland

Friday, September 14, 2018

Farming Bay of Plenty New Zealand








I have been trying to find the perfect opportunity to travel out to my client/friends farm for the past four years. 




I love animals and  I like to photograph them. 
I also love the fresh air and green grass of  farms and would have wanted to marry a farmer.
But I knew this wouldn't work because  part of that deal includes child manufacturing and I always knew I didn't want to go down that track.


I had a pet goat when I was young and these shots so remind me of Candy