Monday, February 28, 2011

my efforts to continue to write Birthright

Excuse number one was that I had returned to school and my energies were sucked away by the needs of my students and my daughters. As it should be.

Excuse number two was that I was too tired to write because of the above. Anyone who teachers and/or is a parent understands this.

Excuse number three is because I have been knocked sideways and been consumed by the coverage of the reportage of the Christchurch earthquake 22nd Feb 2011 12:51pm.

I was born in Christchurch (chch). As a young woman, I worked in chch for two years. I rode its streets and spent many hours in the CBD and the outter suburbs.

I have friends and relatives and acquaintances who live in the city of my birth. I visit chch regularly. And, I am beyond comprehension that the iconic buildings I rode past every day for months/years have been destroyed. The streets I walked down just a year ago are covered in rubble. The cafes, the cathedral, the tram line - all currently just rubble.

I once went to the Pyne Gould Guinness building for a job when I thought I wanted to be a stock agent. Back in the eightess, I was laughed out of the building because I was a girl and how could a girl be a stock and station agent? Wrong attitude but good advice for me cos it lead me to university and to fulfilling my dream of being an English teacher.

Though I am currently writing in world that does not have flush toilets, electricity, telephone, water, good roads, easy access to food, (11th C Scotland) the wake up call is still there because though I can turn on the shower and expect hot water to flow out of the shower head, I have begun to appreciate the struggles of my 21Cth comrades.

I have been in a place where water and sewage was restricted and so lived for 6 weeks of not flushing and saving water; I have lived for 3 weeks with the threat of power outage.

But, I have never lived in a place where the very terra firma in not firm.

I try to understand how it might be for those who try to rest and sleep. Perhaps I can appreciate it a bit more than others that I am a very light sleeper and my husband snores and the cats prowl around the house inside and out and it is me who gets up and grumps at my husband, probably seven or eight times during the night.

I get up in the morning never, ever having a good night's sleep. The other night, I felt many of the CHCH after shocks - such is my sensitivity.

Last night, hubby made up a bed in the spare room but the cats kept me awake. WAhhhhh.

As a child, from age 5-13 we many times relied on long drops as our sewage. I HATED this as it was one of my jobs to carry the sewage of our families' waste to the dump site. As a child, sometimes, we had no power. And, no phone, and sometimes, no food other than the basics. Thankfully, we had the land to provide us with meat and fruit.

Reliability of the availability of the above was never guaranteed nor taken for granted especially when my step father was involved in a fatal accident (his 12 year old son died - my step brother whom we all loved).

Anyway, if you want to know more, you can read some of my other publications.

For now, I have to mentally turn my face away from the place of my birth to focus on my children (who are grieving for the loss of life) and my students (who have also experienced loss) and my novel. Callous as it might seem, I have to keep going while I have running water, waste water working and electricity. Who knows how long I can depend on such privilege?

As to Birthright, I am trying to keep writing but life is seriously getting in the way.

2 comments:

Fifi Colston said...

great post Tania :) and :( all at the same time xxx

jtwebster books said...

Ruth and I were talking about this earlier today, about how we don't need to live in Christchurch for it to effect us. As a nation we are emotionally battered and bruised. Everything is harder, tears are closer to the surface.
I woke up this morning to the 7 o'clock news and I didn't want to listen to another word about the earthquake, then I felt so guilty because those poor Christchurch folk don't have a choice. It's their reality, 24/7.