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Friday, August 8, 2014

Powerless - a forgotten post

A quick explanation - the Kiwi, who is technologically challenged, to say the least, just got her first hard drive and, perusing files before saving them, found an old post that never got uploaded. Because, as you will read, the power was off:

April 9

I woke this morning to no power – it was the silence that woke me. I first noticed the absence of my air filter, which provides white noise as I sleep. I checked the dial, the connection, then realized everything was quiet. I tried to turn on a light, and nothing happened. I dressed, checked the hall and a neighbor's apartment, and all were powerless. It's daytime, but I would still expect to see a single light in one of the many buildings outside my window – I don't.

Being a writer, with an overactive imagination, I leapfrog over the most obvious reasons directly to an end-of-the-world scenario and realize Beijing, China, isn't where I want to be for the end of the world.
Aotearoa, my home, is. So, because that's the person I am, I consider how to get there, and survive.

I also quickly realize, if my fictional scenario became real, that, failing death from chemical annihilation or conventional weaponry, I'd probably be a survivor. I know how to grow food, I can teach others, I can forage, I can make do, I can find a port, find a boat, read a chart and sail to my homeland. Which, fortunately, happens to be the place I would want to be for an end-of-the-world scenario, even if it weren't my home.
Thankfully, it is.

I'm also very good at making friends, even when we don't share a language, and even better at being meek, mild and invisible when needed. The ability to calm people and direct their anxiety into useful tasks will probably stand me in good stead also. People like to feel they are doing something useful.

So, having realized that I can and will survive, excepting “Acts of God,” and unable to do any of the work I had planned today without power and an Internet connection, I shall go back to bed and store some sleep, just in case I have to cycle to the outskirts of Beijing tomorrow to buy food from farmers (before they realize money has no value), then find my way to a harbor and a boat. Then home.

I will sleep peacefully knowing that my often erratic life path has equipped me perfectly for such a task.

Then, most likely, wake when the power comes on and go back to my series on Ambassador's Spouses, interview New Zealand directors for a preview on a Film Festival, cycle to visit my colleague in hospital and meet other colleagues for dinner. While knowing, if the worst were to happen, I could  always make my way home . . .

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Power of the Press . . .

I'm not sure about other writers, but in this world of citizen journalism, social media mediation and falling print numbers, I often feel I am only writing for myself, my subjects and their immediate whanau, and my paycheck. (None of which are worthless)

Then, occasionally, I get reminded that other people read and comprehend what I write . . .

I wrote a profile on an amazing Irish artist back in June, and went away feeling I could have written SO much more, but I'm limited to a word count for the paper. I could have easily written a magazine article from the interview and the person.

This week, Niamh contacted me to tell me that a director at CCTV, China's major TV station, read the article and was intrigued and contacted her. CCTV is now filming a 30-minute documentary on Niamh preparing for her solo show. The exhibition venue has also been upgraded.

The funny, funny thing - the documentary on preparing for her show is really getting in the way of, you know, PREPARING for her show.

Well done Niamh, I will be at the opening . . .