Six days to the Ockhams …



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Ockham NZ Book Awards

The stress dreams are getting quite specific – sitting in the audience in street clothes, suddenly realising that it’s the actual ceremony and I’m up next, and don’t even know what I’m reading. I start desperately scrabbling around in my bag, and for some reason I seem to have brought at least a dozen books with me, and can’t find tumble. Oh, and for some reason most of them are the size of dictionaries.

For the record: I do know what I’m going to be reading, and will make damn sure I have it memorised by the night. In case something goes wrong, I also have it on my phone and will have a copy tucked into Stewart’s pocket. But this is the way my brain works: before big events I have nightmares for many nights beforehand which war-game various things that could go wrong. Turns out I’m really good at imagining disasters. Hopefully though it means I will have dealt with the emotional response well in advance of anything happening. And in theory should also mean I have managed to do the things that need to be done in order to stop them from happening. (Fingers crossed.)

The dress looks pretty damn fine, but I’ve hit a wee problem with one seam being a bit puckered. So I’m unpicking things and will resew that bit. (It’s a little complicated by interfacing, but I’ll manage.) Then it’s just a matter of hemming it, and I’m good to go. It feels really good to wear, is an amazing colour (ZQ Merino in Ruby, from The Fabric Store) and I do have the backup dress if needed. So I’m feeling mostly good about that. Except I’ve somehow managed to mislay the pattern pieces – just the paper pieces. No idea what the heck I’ve done with them, but they appear to be gone. (On the plus side, I can always print them out again if I want to make it a second time. But I will also then have to redo all the modifications I so laboriously made … argh)

It’s just this weird time beforehand, when there’s not really anything I can do to help matters (other than practicing my poem and finishing my goddam dress) and it’s just all aiming towards a single moment. Being naturally a hermit I don’t schmooze well, and it’s going to be a bit freaky to be in a room with so many strangers. I’ve tried sitting down to write, but my workbook has developed the ability to make a sound exactly like sniggering when I leaf through the pages …

Having said that, it feels like the sort of thing that should be a good excuse for playing with a fugue – a poem which repeats and varies a number of phrases, and moves forward in a kind of back-and-forth circling motion. (A mambo spiral?) I’m just a little wary of letting myself brood at the moment – the world really has a lot of horrible shit going on right now, and I’m having to avoid my usual podcasts as a result. (Thank pod for No Such Thing as a Fish and The Infinite Monkey Cage.)

4 Replies to “Six days to the Ockhams …”

  1. I’ve enjoyed your candid concerns of late. On the sewing front have you also discovered

    All the very best topsy turvy tumbling about in your ruby highlights. We’ll all be with you, crossing our fingers and piling the dictionaries up.



    1. Thank you!

      I do indeed know Miss Maude! Have so far managed to control myself on their website, but it’s only a matter of time …

    1. It‘s such a good book! I don’t agree with everything he says, but reading it was hugely influential on my own thinking about line breaks.

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