Saturday, March 19, 2005

Interesting tidbits about NZ writing

It's not often that I find something quotable in the NZ Automobile Association magazine, although if I were in the market for a brand new car then this would be the first place I'd look. It's really a good thing that you get the option of receiving their magazine online instead of on hardcopy, because it means having less paper to chuck in the recycling bin.

I found an interesting little article about New Zealand writers in the latest issue. It's a joint effort by John McCrystal, Paul Little and John Cranna, called Getting It In Writing, and I've pasted in a couple of quotes which I found amusing (and you don't have to be interested in NZ writing to get it).

About early feminist writings in NZ:
“1920. Jean Devanny won considerable notoriety for her turgid 1926 novel, The Butcher Shop. This was banned in Germany, Britain and New Zealand. Curiously, while everyone else in the world was scandalised by its vicious attack on the institution of marriage, it was banned in New Zealand for making our farmers look bad.”

About Denis Glover's sudden lack of desire to gas himself:
“Plagued by depression, Glover once set out to kill himself by sealing the doors, turning on his gas oven and lying on the kitchen floor. After a while, he became bored, so dragged a mattress into the room to make himself comfortable and opened a Dickens novel to occupy himself. After another little while, enjoying the book immensely, he pulled out his tobacco and matches and was about to light up when he realised, with a start, what that would have meant. “I could have bloody killed myself,” he said, and permanently abandoned his suicide attempt.”

If only all NZ writing was as entertaining.

7 comments:

Frally said...

Ha! Love the suicide story. At the risk of sounding morbid, whenever I get a bit down, I think of all the great movies I'm yet to see and that keeps me going for another day.

I am a bit disturbed.

portuguesa nova said...

Such a funny story...if only everyone could be rescued from the depths of dispair by a comfy mattress and a good book.

Violet said...

I suppose real depression is when you can't think of a single thing worth staying alive for, even if it's just a list of books or movies you haven't read or watched yet.

Make Tea Not War said...

I remember experiencing one very low point feeling pretty down and generally worthless but then I thought about all the books I haven't read yet and things I have yet to learn about and I thought well, might as well stick around a bit longer anyway.

Though of course, obviously the main reason to stay alive is for the people you care about and who care about you but I think sometimes very depressed people manage to wrongly convince themselves everyone would be better off without them.

Nigel Patel said...

When I was 19 I was a little suicidal but since I don't believe in an afterlife I had to face non-existance. How can you be ready to not exist?
Great story. Makes me want to re-read Dickins.

happyandblue2 said...

The book "The Butcher Shop" is still banned in Canada. It's too racy..
I have thought of killing myself many times while waiting for the comment box to come up but then up it pops...

Violet said...

I've never ever thought about killing myself, even though I've felt really down in the past. Maybe it's just fear of non-existence, as Nigel says.

Happyandblue2:
Thank goodness Blogger hasn't quite let you down yet!