The Wordinary: Entry No.4


re-cy-clo-path [ree-sahy-kluh-path]

1. A person who intensely and somewhat scarily enforces the practise of recycling.

For more about The Wordinary click here.

The One About Bon Iver

Confession: I have a mild obsession. 

I just can't help it.  It's the bipolar timbre of Justin Vernon's voice, the poetical and enigmatic lyrics, the instrumental inventiveness, the collaborative genius, and yeah, maybe a little bit of the beanie toting flannelette wearing super-cool tattoo sporting elements too.  (But mostly the other bits).  I am well and truly on this band wagon, in all it's nonchalant grammy winning glory.  You are right there with me though, right?

It's not very often that I come across a band whose entire repertoire I love and listen to on repeat; whose videos I queue up on YouTube, whose links I post on my Facebook pages with reckless abandon accompanied by what can only be described as shameless plugging.  "Have you seen this??!" I virtually squeal, (yes, double question mark - exclamation combo) as I come across anyone I think may yet to have had their lives enriched by the sweet sounds of said band. "This is sooooo amazing!!" (again, believing that the repetition of "o" will enhance my point).  I swear I am this close to typing the dreaded OMG.  Yeah.  I am that dedicated a fan.  Annoying much?

Well you know what? I am so not sorry. These guys are incredibly talented.  Put it on, turn it up and pretend you are sitting lakeside on a blanket somewhere with the autumn leaves around you, a mug of mulled wine in your hand and a good book at your side.  Heaven. What's equally entertaining is singing along to a tune or two, googling the actual lyrics, finding out how incredibly wrong you were and laughing a little, but discovering that you kind of wrote a little ditty on your own in the process (albeit with a blatantly plagiarised melody.)  A private duet with Justin becomes a spontaneous poetry writing exercise. What is there not to love?

I recently stumbled upon this musical masterpiece and I have not yet ceased to be enthralled.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bon Iver band members Justin Vernon and Sean Casey in a musical collaboration that might just change your life (or at least your Monday evening).

You are welcome.

Wordinary Entry No.3


fer-tle-neck [fur-tl-nek] 

1. A turtleneck sweater made specifically for, and worn by, ferrets

Note: I would just like to say that I do not in anyway condone what you are looking at right now.  Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have a slight aversion to animals wearing clothes.  "But they are sooo cute!" you say. To that, I say "Nay!" (but in an ironical horse kind of way).  I'm sorry people, I just can't dig the dogs in denim or the cats in cashmere.  It creeps me out.  However, I had to include the following image to back up my word amalgamation.  Thanks Sez!

For more about The Wordinary click here.

Music by Moyenah

Hey friends! I can now share with you a little project I completed a couple of weeks ago.  I was fortunate enough to meet and interview up and coming Christchurch musician Mona Nourozi (aka Moyenah) for Canta's* New Zealand Music Month issue.  I had a great time chatting to Mona about her musical influences and aspirations, as well as her studies in psychology and philosophy and her other artistic pursuits (she is one talented lady...).  You can have a little look at the piece I wrote here.  She even let me take some snaps of her on the campus grounds, and kept a smile on her face as I requested that she prance around in the autumn leaves and look happy despite the freezing cold.  Thanks, Mona!  You can check out her Facebook page here.

*Canta is the University of Canterbury's Weekly Student Magazine.

Life in Five Lines

It has occurred to me that recently I have had to condense myself into five lines or less on quite a few occasions.  Almost every time I submit work to a publication, I am required to "say a little bit about myself", and "little" usually means 50-80 words or so.

Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining about the minuscule word count; I do not pride myself on my propensity to talk about...myself.  What I am saying is this: just what to you say in those five lines or less?  How can you best represent the "you" that you want other people to know about? What is essential? What should be omitted?  How do I stand out from the other hundreds of people attempting to do the exact same thing as me? These are hard questions when a deadline approaches and your creativity has been all but sucked out of you, used up, for the most part, by the pieces of writing you actually want to submit.  

I looked to a few online publications and author bios for some support and alas, I found so many accomplished authors whose biographies consisted of list upon list of previous work published in what journal and where and all sorts of indicators to their level of author-awesomeness.  What am I to do as a mere fledgling in the world of publication in times like these?

My answer: I don't take myself too seriously.  I know this will not always work.  I know certain times call for professionalism, for "selling yourself", for maybe making yourself sound maybe slightly more accomplished than you actually are.  Yet sometimes the situation calls for something truthful yet slightly silly, in an attempt to show that the real me, doesn't actually take me too seriously; that I acknowledge I'm a newbie in this world and am trying all the same; that I have to make myself stand out somehow, when my small amount of published work might not be "enough".  A couple of my recent attempts:

"Kirsty *  is an English student at the University of Canterbury.  Her poetry has appeared in teenage diaries, on the front of the fridge, on bits of scrap paper stored in various forgotten drawers, and in numerous handmade cards addressed to her parents.  She hopes to gain a wider audience now that she has finally started to submit her work for publication.    She has a website where she shares her thoughts and writing experiments.  You are welcome to visit it (if you bring tea and cookies)."

"Kirsty * is an English major who once worked in law firms until she saw the light.  Unfortunately, that light belonged to the rear of a 1989 Toyota HiAce, which she now has to live in to support her creative meandering.  Thems the breaks (literally)."#

(# ok, so admittedly this is no longer true.  But at the time of writing it kind of was.  Long story...)

What would you say in a 50-80 word limit?

- because I talked about tea and cookies.  
- no: there is nothing wrong with this image

Wordinary Entry No.2


dork-ward [dawk-werd]

1. Used to describe a situation where ones dorkiness has led to an awkward situation - or

2. When one is heading in the direction of dorksville
e.g. "And then I realised my skirt had been tucked into my tights the whole time.  I'm on a downward, dorkward spiral..."

(Refer to all back episodes of New Girl  and Never Been Kissed for ample examples).

For more about The Wordinary click here.

Book Review: "Death and Fame: Last Poems" - Alan Ginsberg

"Who cares what it's all about?
I do!  Edgar Allan Poe cares! Shelley cares! Beethoven & Dylan care.
Do you care? What are you about
or are you a human being with 10 fingers & two eyes?"

From "Is About"
New York City, October 1995
Death and Fame: Last Poems

I, like so many others, was introduced to the incomparable Alan Ginsberg through his infamous work "Howl." I remember sitting in an English lecture, lamenting the fact that I was indoors on a Friday afternoon, counting the ways in which I could better spend the time, when I heard a recording of Ginsberg reading from his monumental piece of literature.  I was instantly enthralled, entertained, and intrigued by way in which he belted out lyric upon loaded lyric with such passion and enthusiasm. I've come to learn he had that effect on many people fortunate enough to find themselves invited into his world.

"Death and Fame: Last Poems" is a collection of Ginsberg's work that he penned in the final four years leading up to his death in 1997.  The poems portray a Ginsberg dealing with the ailments of old age, lyrically laughing in the face of such challenges, making games of the mundane or slightly squeamish topics other poets might leave absent from the page.  Such works are interspersed with the political and social commentary Ginsberg is so famous for; works entitled "New Democracy Wish List: for President Clinton White House" and "Newt Gingrich Declares War on McGovernik Counterculture" amongst others, are rife with sarcasm and satire (the former was actually sent to The White House and received "politely" apparently).  One can't help but smile at the fact that the two things that appear to be in the forefront of Ginsberg's mind as he was writing the collection were bodily functions and government policy.  For him they appear to have more similarities than differences...

I enjoyed the collection; it's short enough to be enjoyed in one sitting, yet diverse enough to get a good feel for Ginsberg's work as a whole.  The only downside for me was the explicit sexual content - this only bothered me in a couple of the poems, though I realise it's Ginsberg's challenge to the conservative and prudish pieces of my personality!  My favourites were 'Peace in Bosnia - Herzegovina' with the poignant last stanza: "Who'll council who lives where in the rubble / who'll sleep in what brokenwalled hut / in the full moonlight when spring clouds / pass over the face / of the man in the moon at the end of May?" and the haunting "New Stanzas for Amazing Grace": "So rich or poor no gold to talk / A smile on your face / The homeless ones where you may walk / Receive amazing grace...".  "The Ballad of the Skeletons" is exceptional also; you can watch a performance of this piece with Ginsberg accompanied by Paul McCartney on guitar here.

A recommended read.  

Wordinary Entry No.1


beard-o [beer-doh]
noun, plural beardos. Informal.

1. a person who looks weird with a beard.

E.g. "Bro, you should shave.  You look like a beardo with that face carpet you got goin' on".

Origin: Term first used during Neolithic period (or "Stone Age" during which homo sapiens first began to develop the use of tools).  It is believed that the term was a primary trigger in the development of the first razor prototype.

For more about The Wordinary click here.

The Wordinary: An Introduction

We all have hobbies.  Some of us like to collect stamps, crochet, struggle through Sudoku puzzles or fervently bake their way through their Grandma's old recipe books.  Others sew patchwork quilts, take long bicycle rides, watch copious amounts of bad reality television, or plan imaginary marriage ceremonies to Ryan Gosling while simultaneously practicing what their signature will look like post conduction of said ceremony.  Whilst I may or may not have dabbled in any number of the above (cough), I have one hobby which takes precedent on my procrastination list (closely followed by "Pinning" of course).  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce you to the wonder of:

 Word Amalgamation.  

It needs no in depth explanation.  One simply takes two words (or three even, the more the merrier - it'll be slightly harder to decipher but we like a challenge) that fit together rather easily, thereby creating a new  word to enhance and enrich ones vocabulary.  An example:

My lovely Mum's name is Shona.  Sometimes my brother and I like to light heartedly make fun of her just to show her how much we really do love her.  This is all fine and dandy until Shona decides to fight back.  If she manages to come back at us with a scathing retort we call it getting "Shoned"; as in, getting "owned" by "Shona".  E.g. "Damn, you just got Shoned, girl!".  See how this works?  Doesn't it sound like fun? (I mean the word amalgamation part, not the getting Shoned.  That's not fun.  It's actually quite embarrassing.)

The idea for this hobby came about in the workplace by accident.  My colleague referred to a small white dish as a "ceramekin" and I automatically assumed she was some kind of hilarious genius who had merged two words to so adequately describe said item: a ceramic ramekin.  Alas, she had merely erred and truly believed that to be it's name.  The phenomenon was explained and thus began my hobby.  Which leads me to the point of this rambling.

I have decided to add a weekly feature, whereby I share a word amalgamation - either invented by myself, or fellow Word Amalgamation Enthusiasts (WAE).  I realise this exercise predates the "ceramekin" incident: Brangelina anyone? I will be leaving examples such as those out of the Wordinary however, for obvious reasons.

"Wordinary!" you say? "I see what you've done there!" You exclaim.  Welcome to the game friends.  I have decided to call the collection of amalgamations the "Wordinary" - the combination of "ordinary" "words" with a slight homage paid to the "dictionary". 

I will be featuring one word every week.  If you have some potential entries for The Wordinary please e-mail me: as a dedicated WAE I am more than willing to delight in new amalgamations and will happily post them with a link to your website/blog etc.  You can send them to

(One of my favourites! Cushion from this Etsy store).

Potroast: Issue 9

I recently submitted a poem to the editors of Potroast - an Auckland based experimental art and writing zine - and last week they accepted it for publication for the upcoming issue.  This is somewhat of a big deal for me, considering that the last poems I wrote were of the "teen-angst, life is excruciating, nobody likes me" kind.  (Cringe.  I've got them all somewhere, hidden.  I hope.) The poem is called "De-Con-Struct", and was inspired by Issue 9's theme: instructions, diagrams, how-to guides etc.  It reads similarly to a cryptic crossword, and each stanza breaks one word up into separate parts, suggesting an alternative meaning.  I am working on further pieces which explore this theme at the moment.

I'll post the link to the on-line version once it is published next month.  In the meantime, you can access previous issues of Potroast here and take a look at the list of contributors for Issue 9.

I'll also post the poem here, I'm just waiting until it's officially "in print" first.  Small steps, exciting times.