"It is a good divine that follows his own instructions; I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done than to be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching."
Portia, The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Scene II.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NZATE CONFERENCE 2014: Keynote #2: Dame Fiona Kidman

Childhood reading - Arthur Ransome taught her that children weren't necessarily powerless, JRR Tolkien introduced her to the world of fantasy. She admits she no longer reads fantasy. She feels that the fantasy stories that work are anchored in reality.

She spoke about her school experiences, the 3 years she had at high school (travelling from Kerikeri to Kaikohe by bus every day) and the teacher who introduced her to Gerard Manley Hopkins, especially Pied Beauty:

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;        5
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:        10
                  Praise him.

In Rotorua she met Jean Batten, who came to the library where Fiona was working. She spoke of Jean Batten and the magic and myth surrounding her.

Fiona also talked about the story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. After several diversions via her own romantic story she returned to Maori legend and story to say that she hoped that we taught the work of modern Maori writers.

Suggestions for writing: trigger points - a piece of jewellery,  a special meal, a car breakdown etc. Asks people to pick one they can relate to, get in pairs and tell their story, then immediately write it down.

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