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Me and my smart phone

11 Apr

So, I was given a smart phone recently, after losing about five crappy old Nokias in a row (“hey look! it has predictive text, wow!”) and now I’m on the mission to become technologically / logically techno savvy.

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I’m not even quite sure what this means, but I think it means I need my own writer’s facebook page, and a twitter account, and maybe other things I’m unaware of at this point…. (suggestions welcome)

So – as of now you may, if you so desire, follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IKPatersonHark

Or like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ikpatersonharkness

Excellanto.

Auckland Street Art

11 Apr

In the dwindling light of afternoon I set off with my camera to capture some of the new street art that has suddenly popped up within my neighbourhood (the streets surrounding K Rd, Auckland). In the space of only a few blocks I found seven murals either newly finished or mid-creation.  I don’t know if it’s a new council initiative or what? Are there more to come? (I hope so). I’m not overly fond of drab concrete walls, so if there’s a mural-movement going on then I’m all for it.

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At the bottom of Mercury Lane. A crowd had gathered…

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On Upper Queen Street. I think this is awesome.

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Also on Upper Queen, not quite finished. Not entirely sure what it is, either? Can anyone help me here?

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Poynton Terrace.

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Is this new? I really like it. Also Poynton Terrace.

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Pitt Street, next to the Methodist Church.

I saw this one being finished up today – on East St, against the wall of the needle exchange.

 

I did a quick search to find out something (anything) about the increase of street art in the area, but came up with nothing. I’d be keen to find out what it’s all about / who the artists are, if anybody knows.

Flotsam and Jetsam

28 Nov

These past couple of weeks I’ve had the privilege of creating a music video for this beautiful song, by Sarah Macombee.

Filmed at Karekare, North Piha, and Laingholm’s little beach, we were buffeted by the wind, showered by rain – but the dolls didn’t complain, so neither did we.

And it was nothing that a cocktail coudn’t fix, after a few hours holding up a camera, bracing myself against the bluster.

About me!

29 Oct

I’d been putting off creating an “About Me” page because, well, I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable writing about myself in such a cold and factual fashion. Each time I’m asked to submit a bio along with a piece of my work, I deliberate on it for ages. I write “I.K. Paterson-Harkness lives in Auckland”, then delete it, then write it back in, and then sit there scratching my head, wondering what else to include. What counts as being important? Does anyone care that I taught logic for several years, or that I was once told by a doctor to stop eating so much curry? Is it interesting that I knit plastic bags together, or that I got a tattoo of a garlic plant only to find out soon afterwards that I am intolerant to garlic? Is it better to make a joke of myself (which is far easier), or be all wanky (proud?) about my achievements? I actually have no idea… and I just plain don’t like any of it.

BUT – I knew I ought to write something about myself (since this is what bloggers and writers do, you see), so I’ve created an About Me page. Click on the link, and learn something new and exciting.

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And… action

6 Aug

Last week I filmed Auckland band Loud Ghost‘s newest music video, for their song FIRE UP. It was utter chaos. The beautifully clean and tidy art gallery we had hijacked for the occasion was, in a matter of moments, transformed into a post-apocalyptic scene. All the rehearsed cues were quickly forgotten, and all I could do was try not to be beheaded by a guitar. But all in all, I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

Conclave has begun, so cast your votes!

25 Apr

At around 10am yesterday I rocked up to Surrey Hotel in Grey Lynn, to begin a spec fic writers workshop. I was surprised to find only a few of us there (and a friendly arthritic cat who sat on each of us in turn), as $40 for a full-day writers workshop is pretty darn decent (at least I think so!). Dave Freer and Lyn McConchie facilitated. Between them they must have written something like 50 books. I have to admit that I started to feel quite lazy, since procrastination doesn’t seem to be something they admit into their daily lives. Dave gets up at 4.30am, and begins writing by 8am. Lyn writes about 6000 words per day. I, on the other hand, struggle to get out of bed before 9am, and am pleased with myself if I squeeze 600 words from my head. I’d hoped that the workshop would give me a much needed boot up the arse, and I think it has. At least… I hope it has. At least, I plan to create a plan for myself…

As well as feeling terrible about my writing practices I also learned quite a bit about the NZ and international writing industry. Unfortunately it seems even worse than the music industry OMG, and I’m likely to be even poorer than I imagined. A new writer can’t expect much more than 3K for an advance, and will only get around 6% from sales, which of course they then pay back for their advance. You truly do it for the love of it. Sometimes I just wish I loved, say, marketing. (I take that back, no I don’t).

With the start of Conclave, the 35th National New Zealand Sci Fi and Fantasy Convention, began the start of the voting period for the Sir Julius Vogel awards. In fact click here for the voting form. To be eligible to vote, you’ll need to join Conclave. You can do this as a ‘supporter’, by paying $20, here. The good reasons to do this are (a) you can vote for me in the Best Novella of 2013 category, and (b) your money will likely go straight to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, as all profits go there, and since the convention is half-way through, well, I’m just figuring on most things having been paid for already. Voting closes TOMORROW at midday.

A full list of the nominees can be found here.

Anyway. Onwards and upwards.

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UPDATE: I didn’t win the award BUT was very pleased to hear that this year there were over 400 nominations for the different categories (so to be short-listed was pretty special). The winner of Best Novella of 2013 was Lee Murray (whom I found to be a really friendly lady, who moved over for us at her table when we came in late and had nowhere to sit), with her story ‘Cave Fever’. I was happy that the winning story was one I’d actually read and enjoyed!

Going West

4 Aug

With a rare free Sunday to myself, I began perusing the internet for upcoming events, and found that the Going West Writers Festival is soon approaching again. Last year, all University of Auckland MCW students were invited to read part of their project. I felt like I was doing to faint, and read a snippet from my novel (below!). Somebody wolf-whistled when I finished.

I clicked on the link, surprised to find that the photo they’d used is of me at the podium.

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If I can spare the time, I’ll go to this again. There’s something inspiring about listening to other writers speak about their work.

http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/events/Events/Pages/goingwestbooksandwritersweekend.aspx

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From The Camp (not-quite-finished YA novel)

When Kathryn awoke the world looked peaceful, shadowy yet sparkling. The last trailing tendrils of sunlight slid across her face and lit the tips of the branches above her – which shone like tiny, golden crowns – and she thought that she was dreaming. But then the light was gone and only shadow remained, and the cold ground was suddenly too hard, too real.

Shivering, Kathryn rubbed her legs. They were bare! She wore only underwear on her bottom half! Panic-stricken, she then remembered. The stick hut… the fire. Those people. They’d all been real!?

I’m dead.

The thought sank like the heaviest mud. Dead. No more. Gone. It seemed impossible – some sort of joke, maybe – but when she slowly, painstakingly, began to draw fragile recollections of the previous day like poison from her subconscious, there was a point when they simply ran out. She wrapped her skinny arms around her knees and tried, strained to remember something further.

There was the guy on the bike, right? What was he doing on the footpath? The jerk! He came straight towards her, pushing her on to the road. She remembered the sensation of being airborne – of being lobbed through the air like a shuttlecock. That, and the horrible screeching noise. The silver car. The scream…

That was it.

Oh my God, Mum! Kathryn imagined her mother, sitting behind her desk, receiving a phone call from the police. She’d pick up that gaudy green receiver, shaped like a frog’s head to amuse her young patients, and hear a strange, gruff voice on the other end. She‘d listen, calmly at first, nodding like she always did when she spoke on the phone, even though the speaker couldn’t see her. But then her shocked expression would break – her face would break, the many lines around her eyes and mouth cracking until she lay in little broken pieces on the floor.

Kathryn started to cry.No, no no!It wouldn’t have happened that way. They wouldn’t have told her mother over the phone! A doctor, with a white mask over his mouth and blood on his gloves, would meet her parents outside the surgery room door. Her mother, angry and worried, would ask, accusingly, “What was she doing outside of school? Tell me that! She’s a good girl, she’s never done anything wrong!” And the doctor would drop his head and say that he was very sorry.

Like ghosts – so beside themselves with pain that they nearly vanished at the edges – her parents would be led into the room where she lay. Her mum would sit next to the bed and put her hand on her brow – like she always did when Kathryn was sick. Her father would hold her limp hand and run her red hair through his fingers – the same red hair that he shared, and she, his only child. “Kathryn,” he’d whisper. “I’m here sweetheart. I’m here.”

Eventually, Kathryn grew quiet.

I’m here,” she whispered, as if her parents might hear her. “I’m not really dead. I’m just… somewhere else.”

The words echoed in her head, making less and less sense with each resounding. People don’t really die and go somewhere else. They just die. Wasn’t thinking about your own death some kind of contradiction? Because if you’re thinking then you’re alive.

She wiped the tears from her face, the furnace of fury that stood fuelled but unkindled within her suddenly given a spark. Abi and the others – they were lying to her! She’d been kidnapped and fed a terrible story. The sick bastards! Did they think she was that stupid?

Kathryn leaped to her feet. It would be best to leave while it was still dark. If she followed the river she’d eventually find her way out of there… Kathryn had taken her first steps down the slope when she remembered again the silver car. The woman’s scream…

Trembling all over, she sat back down, the ground gritty beneath her palms.

Death… She’d presumed that eternity stretched away on either side of her, with pre-aliveness to the left, post-death to the right, a short window of being in the middle. It had always seemed so wildly imbalanced, but then why should it be any other way? She felt her pulse – familiar, and amazingly reassuring. Like the reflective posts at the side of a highway that flash by again and again on a dark night, her heart intended to carry on. And it seemed that the highway stretched on now, maybe forever… She’d simply been placed further along the road.