Thursday, 26 May 2011

Tina talks

Tina Makereti

- You can’t write that.
- I just did.
- Yeah, but you can’t show anybody.
- Everybody does it but nobody talks about it.
- Still, your father won’t approve.
- That’s true.  It might be embarrassing as well.
- Or not.
- My favourite writers write about contentious subjects.
- Racism?
- Slavery.
- Left wing politics?
- Making it through each day.
- Sex?
- Straight, gay, self service...
- Hmmph.
- You can’t write that.
- Why not?
- It’s not a word.
- Yes it is.  Besides, I can make them up.  Everyone does it…
- But no one talks about it?
- So, why’d you write the story?
- It wanted to be written.
- That’s a pompous bullshit answer.
- Well, it jumped into my head and stayed there emitting an insistent thrum of urgency until I wrote the words.
- Did you know what it was going to be?
- A little.  Not much.  It was going to be a modern take on an old story.
- There’s some mythology in there, but you’ve taken it in a slightly peculiar direction.
- In some of the older versions of the story he doesn’t know how to make love so he mates with her nose and her ears thus producing mucus and earwax.
- Oookay…
- Yeah, but I liked that naivety from a god.  I liked that he had no clue what to do.
- It’s a human quality.
- Exactly.  That was what I was after – the humanity.
- And then there’s her.
- In the old stories written down by crusty white guys who wanted to preserve a dying culture, she is never a real person.
- A bit of a golem.
- I wondered what she would say if she was given space to speak.
- She’s there from the beginning, in the lonely landscape.
- In the end, it’s all about her.


I was struck by the power and earthy beauty of the story Tina offered for Slightly Peculiar Love Stories. To pinch a line from her website, her writing 'disturbs default settings of time and place'.  Her book of stories, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa, has drawn such adjectives as 'bold', 'sexy', and 'crafty'. She's 'one to watch' says David Hill. Says I.


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