Dear Ma and Pa

Dear Ma and Pa,

When I was seven I was positive that when I grew up I would be a florist.  I loved flowers and their incredible ability to make people smile, despite their simplicity.  You said "okay" and bought me crayons and paints and paper to practise with, and let me vandalise your garden in the aid of my early attempts at floral arranging.  I'm sorry I didn't clean up the first project, before I started on the next one, Mum.

When I was nine I wanted to be Mariah Carey.   You bought me her MTV unplugged cassette tape and I learned her whole routine by heart.  You watched me mime her songs, complete with closed eyes and accompanying hand gestures and you clapped at the end.  I think you even lent me your deodorant to use as my microphone.  I'm sorry I sometimes made you pay $2 to watch my concerts.  I'm think that price was slightly exorbitant.

When I was sixteen, the only thing I wanted to be was different to the person that I was.  You watched me contend with stereotypes and immaturity, with friends who weren't that friendly and with my own distorted idea of myself.  You wore my pain and you wore it willingly.  I'm sorry I couldn't see what you were always trying to tell me.  If it's any consolation, I am starting to see it now.

When I was nineteen, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.  I have since realised that I kind of liked the idea of you liking the idea that I would be a lawyer.  The truth is, you have supported me in every decision I have made, from going to university and ending my time there prematurely, to backpacking around Asia with nothing but a Lonely Planet and a bearded boyfriend to keep me safe (both of which did a tremendous job by the way).  Due to this ever present encouragement on your part, I have since decided to pursue a literary career (which means I am working part time making coffee and attempting to grow my own vegetables).   I'm sorry it took seven years and a considerable student loan before I came to this stage of enlightenment.

Now I am twenty five (nearly twenty six).  And I am home again.  I love that I can bake Anzac biscuits and go walking with you again.  I love that we can talk for hours, laugh, cry (mostly me doing the second one) and watch our favourite movies (even if it is with your eyes closed aye, Dad).  You, my extraordinary mother and father, have granted me, what are quite possibly, the most incredible and life changing gifts one could ever receive: the infallible support to follow my dreams, the permission to feel good about it and the ability to find my feet in the world.

Thanks for giving me the shoes.

Nga mihi nui kia korua.

Kirst xo

The Object of My Affection

Thought I'd muster up the courage to share this with you: one of my pieces I've been working on for the Bring Yourself creative writing course.  I'm in week 3 and it has been really great, reading other people's work and being provided with insight and inspiration from other writers.  This is just a short piece, still in the draft stage.  We were prompted to consider, in detail, an object that had great significance for us.  I immediately knew.  My piece is actually about two of the same object, fused into one.  Here goes:

The Object of My Affection

Here lies a bruised and battered body.

Outstretched on the carpet, with her shadow distorted by lights in opposition, she rests.  Her neck, decorated with steel and mother of pearl now lies free from my constraints and her torso, the colour of burnt pumpkin and bark, defined by one thin line of black, now basks in silent freedom.

Her navel is adorned with a ring of wooden diamonds in shades of toffee and charcoal.  They encircle the nucleus in perfect symmetry, drawing the eye to her most prominent feature: the ebony birthmark on the right of her ribcage.  It is the shape of a magnified teardrop, and glints in the sunlight just the same.  It caresses her skin and protects her.  From me.  

But I still broke her.

We were on the road then, undertaking our own odyssey in distant lands, testing our palates, deciphering unfamiliar constellations, swimming in foreign seas.   And she stayed with me, over every boundary line we crossed and barrier we broke, she rode with me - resilient.  She gave a unifying language to our chance encounters and fostered our infant friendships.  

I should have taken more care.  

Before all that though, before the constant moving and thirst for the unknown, before the chosen homelessness and freedom, she gave me a release.  Back then, when I first began to hear the world spitting its insults and insecurities, its contradictions and competitiveness, she allowed me to hold her, and she held me back.  She let me take my miseries out on her alone, well hidden from the eyes and words of others.  Those intimate conversations I will never forget.  

But I took it all for granted.

She is scarred now.  She fell and I wasn’t there to catch her.  She: the one who never faulted in our friendship and always allowed me the outlet of self expression, who listened to my screams and whispers, my early attempts at poetry and confessions about love, who let me both beat and caress her and didn’t flinch at either touch, fell from a height great enough to break her back bone, tear her flesh and make her weak.  And it was I who injured her.  

She will never recover completely.

Yet here she lies, before me now.   Still waiting.  Still listening.  Still allowing me to take her into my grasp and spill forth the contents of my mind, however disorganised and distorted they may be.  Still granting me her expertise and patience, and the permission to manipulate her, in order that I may attempt to express what it is to be me.  Still fighting time’s efforts to strip her of colour, steal her strength and render her unreliable.

Here lies the instrument of my growth.

The object of my affection.

My guitar.


30 Days of Me: Day 23 - What I Really, Really Want...

Prompt: something I crave for...

I'm going to be slightly selfish here.  Of course I crave for happiness for the amazing people who I am lucky enough to call my close friends and family, for the wellbeing of mother earth and all creatures residing with her, for peace and prosperity, for safety and sunshine etc etc etc.  But today, right at this moment, what I really really want...

is to be PUBLISHED

someday (preferably in the near future).  And, (since we are being honest) I'd like it to be a bestseller please, thank you very much and the first of many if that's alright.  Not much to ask, is it?

Not long ago I was craving for my life to be extraordinary.  Until I figured out (the hard way) that in order for this to occur, you can't sit on the couch watching Oprah (or Tyra, or Dr Phil, or Jeremy Kyle...) with a hot water bottle and peanut butter toast feeling sorry for yourself.  If you want your life to be extraordinary you have to make it extraordinary.

So I'm working on it.

The task is alot easier when you happen to have some rather extraordinary people around you propping you up and pushing you forward.  You know who you are and how much I love you.  Thank you for listening, laughing and loving.  Nga mihi nui kia koutou.

I'll send you all a copy of my book.


Image sources
1, 2, 3, 4

30 Days of Me Day 22: Unique (just like everyone else)

I have been prompted to inform you what it is about me that makes me so different to everyone else.


I liken the description of a person, to that of a piece of manuscript.  By that I mean, in every composition, the musical notes exist already, right? There aren't any new notes when a another song is written.  The notes have been used before, in countless other musical creations.  What's different in each piece is the way the musician/composer puts the notes together and the instructions he or she leaves on the manuscript.  It is the combination of these, that give the composition its mood, depth, personality, timbre and uniqueness (just using a bit of my School C music jargon there).

I think that the same is true when it comes to the make up of most people (though not all: there are an extraordinary few who don't fit the formula).  What I'm trying to say (albeit slightly awkwardly), is that the qualities that make me ME aren't unique.  They already exist and are present in others residing from Blenheim to Berlin.  But it's the way the qualities fit together and their varying intensities found in yours truly, that make me who I am (and therefore, slightly different to everyone else).

Here is the recipe for one, Kirsty Helen Dunn, born on a warm November evening some twenty six years ago to loving parents Brian and Shona:

1. Two green eyes that cry a little too often (which can't be helped - believe me, I've tried)
2. A laugh "like a machine gun" (Thanks Dad) It's true.  I giggle rather rapidly.
3. A small, chocolate coloured, oval shaped mole the size of a fingernail mid way down the front of a left leg
4. A habit of hair twiddling (please refer to Day 4 for further information)
5. An obsession of literature, a love for words, a passion for music, admiration for art, a lust for travel and deep affection for nature (all of which can often result in no. 1, as described above)
6. Brown "dead straight" hair (currently matted into dreadlocks in order to save money on haircuts and shampoo...) Note: no fringe (and no comment)
7. A sprinkling of sensitivity
8. An uncanny ability to memorize movie quotes
9. Two hands that can crochet, bake, play piano and guitar, twirl poi, write/type (at lightening speed mind you) brew a coffee and make pretend footprints on window condensation etc.
10. Varying amounts of other ingredients that wont be listed here due to time/boredom/privacy constraints.

The main thing that makes me different from every other being in the universe?

The way I SEE the world and the way I EXPRESS myself.

I'm working on both.  

And it feels SO good.

30 Days of Me Day 21: Happy Happy Joy Joy

The prompt? A picture of something that makes me happy..................

Haha: remember this?!

Another difficult one.  Despite my recent episodes of being predominantly UNhappy and feeling slightly sorry for myself, there are, in fact, so many things that make me happy, picking just one is a tough decision.  We just finished our weekly trip to the supermarket and had the van radio turned UP REALLY LOUD and it came to me...


Just some of the pictures...

Pete Doherty, Glastonbury 2009

Kora, Kentish Town, 2009

UB40, Melbourne, 2008

Ben Harper, Kentish Town, 2009

Shapeshifter, Kentish Town, 2009

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music"

Well said, Mr Aldous Huxley, well said.


30 Days of Me Day 20: Monsta Mash

Yeah.  I'm playing catch up.  This bitty blog has taken a back seat in the 30 Days process the past few days.  Sue me! Ma's been up visiting and we've been out enjoying the sunshine!

Day 20's prompt is (was): Someone you see yourself with in the future.  I think I have already made this crystal clear on two previous occasions  (here and here).  But what the heck.  It's an excuse to use my picture perfect polaroids again, ain't it?! Whoop whoop!

To You (Mr Monsta)

Dreadlocked, hippy, cookie lover,
For me there couldn't be another.
(Unless we count a certain Briton
Whose vampish tendencies have me somewhat smitten)
You, however, I love the most,
More than apple juice or vegemite on toast,
More than bike rides, more than books,
More than famous cursing cooks,
More than second hand clothing shopping,
More than bar and cafe hopping,
More than playing my guitar,
My most favourite thing is what you are.
More than crochet on winter nights,
More than seeing foreign sights,
More than dancing to new tunes,
More than apricots and prunes,
More than music, more than art,
You have a hold upon my heart.
More than famous music fests,
More than the Outrageous Wests
More than a good, cold, kiwi Sav,
More than a barbie or christmas pav,
More than singing in the summer sun,
My monsta monkey you are the one.
More than the Steinbecks on my shelf,
More than Will Shakespeare himself,
More than the oceans or forests of home,
I want you beside me, wherever I roam.
Dreadlocked, hippy, cookie lover,
How could there ever be another?


30 Days of Me Day 19: The Nick in the Name

Day 19- My nicknames and why I have them...

Are you ready for this?


That's pretty much it.

Why?  Well, my name is Kirsty.  So, one need only conveniently, and without much complication, omit the Y on the end, thus resultng in the aforementioned "Kirst".  Two syllables becomes one.  Faster to say, easier to spell.  Smiles all round.

I quite like this simplified nickname of mine.  Whilst it may sound as though I am under the constant cloud of a witch or sorcerer's spell (or "cursed" as it were), it's the nickname I've held since birth and my preferred term of address (I've always maintained that I only ever get called the full "Kirsty" by people who either a) don't know me or b) are angry with me...(the latter emphasise the Y - as in, "KirstY!"...) Also, I guess I should count myself lucky in that I didn't inherit my elder's nicknames pertaining to our surname (Dunn) - Dunny, Dunno, Dunnit.  I'd take Kirst over those any day.

I've had a couple of other nick names from my ankle biting days (but they wont be reiterated here in order to preserve my street cred), and on school camp in fourth form a good friend of mine started calling me "Kid" and it kind of stuck.  That one's just between us though.

Between me and my monster? It's pretty simple: just "love": what started out as a joke has now become our delegated daily term of endearment (albeit an old-school and slightly unoriginal one...)

That's it.  That's all.


30 Days of Me: Day 18 - "The Plan"

Day 18: plans/goals/dreams...

If only ALL plans looked THIS groovy...

(Just me or is Donnie slightly Bieber-ish...? Or rather, the other way round... Hmmmm)

And if only all plans were THIS simple...

(It's hard to find good humour these days...)

MY plans will, from now on and forevermore, be set forth in pencil.  I've learned (very recently) that permanent marker plans can get messy when you have to keep putting lines through them and writing new ones underneath.  I also think plans shouldnt be called plans, they should be called "flexible, non concrete lists of stuff I'd like to do at some point in my life time" or "FNCLOSILTDASPIMLT" for short (?)  You know, just to avoid any confusion that may arise at a later date when you a) lose them b) change them or c) forget what they even were in the first place.

So.  I will now share with you, my FNCLOSILTDASPIMLT (in no particular order):

Write a book (novel, short story collection or poetry) and have it published
Own a kombi (preferably candy apple green or orange)
Learn to surf
Travel to Mongolia, Alaska, Israel, Peru, Nepal, New York, Tokoroa (ETC - as in, list so long my fingers will seize up)
Perform at an open mic night
Volunteer here and overseas
Take a photography course
Have a collection of lava lamps/owls/bangin' vinyl/cacti
Learn to drive (I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't judge me!)
Sew my own clothes / curtains / cushion covers
Make jam
Own a cafe/bar and showcase emerging musicians/artists
Live in East London again
Have an article published in Frankie
Spend a winter in Canada
Speak / write fluently in Te Reo Maori
Sell my handcrafts at a market stall
Be a movie extra (and I am too tall to be a hobbit, apparently)
Grow strawberries/lavender/numerous herbs
Walk New Zealand's most picturesque tracks
Sell coffee out of a van at music festivals
Read more
Write more
Bike more
Laugh more
Complain less

And all the while, continue to draw inspiration from my crazy/cool/creative/ friends and family...

(You guys are the bestest)

(Image source)