Yesterday I was drawn to the formal rose garden in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in search of my favourite rose: Peace. I was on an errand that took me through the Gardens starting from the wall of flowers, an ever-enlarging memorial to those who lost their lives in the unspeakably awful shootings in Christchurch last week, and my feet took me to the Rose Garden. I vaguely remembered the bed of Peace roses from visits years ago and soon found it.
There are now just two gnarled standard bushes, surrounded by lower-growing modern roses, but what glorious roses they are, reaching for the warm autumn sun. There were crimson buds and blowsy blooms fading from yellow to cream and with a pink flush edging their petals.
This rose, which acquired its name at the end of World War II, is a balm, a promise, a hope that’s still worth clinging to, a harmony of unlikely colours, resilient and still blooming. It was what I needed yesterday and what I need today.
Hmmm, a bit embarrassing to discover that my last blog post was almost two years ago. That’s not to say there haven’t been plenty of other updates to this website, but the blog section has withered away. If I was into excuses, I could say life is busy, but isn’t everyone’s?
Since I last posted I have reinvented myself as a literacy tutor and work part time, which allows me more time to write. Over the past couple of years, I’ve concentrated on poetry and with the help of a fabulous critique group and a more disciplined approach to writing and have started to clock up a few modest successes.
The poetry facilitation project has been ‘on hold’ this year, mainly because my working hours have been changeable, making it hard to schedule sessions. However, my timetable for next year is looking more predictable and I’m thinking about starting up again next year. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve done, and I miss it.
It’s five years since I published What Are You Doing Here?, my book about my mother’s experience of dementia. I hadn’t given the book much thought until recently when I was having coffee with a friend who said that she had lent her copy of my book to a friend of hers who found it useful. Something I’ve heard many times. This is a book that’s out of print, but available in most public libraries in New Zealand. This conversation made me think about the possibility of reissuing it as an e-book. Maybe.
Just when I thought ‘What Are You Doing Here?’ had run its course, a new order pops up! It was as rewarding to receive this order as it was to receive the first order 18 months ago when I first published the book.
The original print run was small and is now almost sold out. The book is no longer available in bookshops, but I still have a handful of copies stored in a spare bedroom. I now wish my initial print run had been larger, but at least I avoided the self-publishing trap of ending up with boxes of unsold books. I’ve contemplated another print run, but it is just not cost-effective.