Saturday, June 1, 2019

Third Age Vacation

In May I went down to Wanaka to talk to a branch of the University of the Third Age. They were running a four week 'course' on NZ writers. One writer a week, two hours per session (with a tea break in the middle). Cilla McQueen kicked off, discussing poetry. Paula Morris was next, covering fiction and teaching creative writing, then it was me, and Carl Nixon went last.

My talk was titled 'Career? Calling? Hobby?' and covered everything I've done in the last fifteen years, from writing the first draft of a novel in 28 days as a 21 year old, to my third published book that drops in August, along side the places I've lived, the jobs I've worked and the kids that have joined team Cliff.

The answer is you can't consider writing a career, at least in the financial sense, nor a hobby, in the emotional sense. And a calling seems to highfalutin for something that, so far and to my knowledge, hasn't changed anyone's life.

Writing books, having a family and paying the bills: it's all a juggling act. You can only persist so long if you don't have passion in all three aspects.

I also explained the geneses of The Mannequin Makers and Nailing Down the Saint, how my novels take-off when I see the connection between two bad ideas. A father raising his kids to be living mannequins and a shipwreck around Cape Horn. A levitating Franciscan friar and modern movie-making.

After the tea break there was time for almost an hour of questions and we could have kept going a  longer. The crowd was around 130-140 people and they were really engaged. Lots of retired school teachers and university types.

My family came down south with me and we spent two nights in Wanaka and two in Queenstown and did lots of touristy things (and spent a lot of money)...

Queenstown from the top of the gondola

...the kids highlight was the motel in Wanaka because it had a trampoline (typical)...

but those two hours with the University of the Third Age was mine.

1 comment:

Ifigenia Bourneli said...

Ok yeah I know how New Zealand feels like. Wanaka was great, but the greatest was Albert Town. I visited last year and we tasted some organic products there (there weren't many). Such an experience i had also in in Santorini, Greece. This is my type of vacation :)