Who is Tusiata Avia, Winner of the Poetry Prize 2021?

“It’s really important [for Pacifica people] to see ourselves [reflected in society]. I never saw myself anywhere, growing up in Christchurch during the Muldoon era,” Tusiata Avia told Breakfast News this morning, after receiving the 2021 Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry, for her fourth poetry collection, The Savage Coloniser Book.

“Being a brown girl in the seventies and eighties was very uncool. I’m so thrilled that our kids get to see themselves reflected back in a number of different places. And it’s cool to be a brown kid now; I love that. …


But to Claim it, there’s One Thing You Must Do.

His happiness column is popular. He writes for respected publications. He has a new book out. His publisher claims he is a ‘happiness expert’.

Do not be fooled.

He tells you, ‘you have to work for it’. He bases his claims on ‘research in the worlds of science, philosophy, theology, art, and literature’. He will ‘teach you how to have a better life.’

Don’t let this seduce you.

You were born happy. Happiness is your natural state. And you have all the expertise to reclaim it if you feel you’ve lost it. Like the seed that contains a tree. …


For enriched and inspired output

My brain often responds like a dead horse when I try to spur it into action in creative ways. When we try to do anything, our nervous system tenses up. This restricts the flow of blood and all kinds of stimulating, inspiring hormones that flush our body/mind system to create the state in which our ideas and output flourish, aka the biology of optimal experience. (By the way, trying too hard is different from trying out something).

This is why I’m forever interested in tricking my brain into stopping internal censorship, to let go, to open up and to release…


Wait until you read about their sex life.

Each individual worm has both female and male sex organs, yet they still mate to procreate. Their lovemaking is a true feat of multitasking

Spotting an outsized earthworm slithering over my patio ignited my instant interest in this critter, its origins and its life. To my surprise, I forgot about my breakfast. I felt a biological hunger instead. Darwin, here I come. At the time of this exclamation, I did not know Charles Darwin actually wrote an entire book about earthworms and spent half his life studying them.

Who would…


A True Travel Story

‘St Kilda in sight!’ Kees calls out, his head around the cabin door. His glowing face makes me jump up and grab my shoes, ignoring my nausea. Despite a calm sea I feel rather queasy. Last night, the skipper told us the ocean was as smooth as it could be. This was terrific news. St Kilda is only accessible by the weather’s grace, and many travellers have been disappointed by their inability to get there.

Even at force zero, however, the gentle North Atlantic swell can upset your vestibular system. ‘Next time, sleep with your shoes on,’ suggests a seasoned…


19 Possible Mistakes with 19 Fixes

Even the Financial Times wrote about morning pages and they, too, supplied incorrect instructions. To be fair, Julia Cameron, who gave the world morning pages as part of ‘The Artist’s Way‘, wrote: “There is no wrong way to do morning pages”. But this line is usually highlighted without referring to the rest of Cameron’s instructions. ‘You cannot do it wrong’ refers to content, quality, results and effects of the practice; What you’re putting on the page doesn’t matter. But how you’re doing morning pages is crucial! …


“Reading Recipe Books And Dancing On Bad Children’s Music”

When it comes to staying sane, focused and efficient, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern knows what to do. But she admits it took her a long time to realize you don’t need to feel guilty when taking the space and time to look after yourself and your mental health.

“When we’re in a responsible role, we can have this idea that it’s somehow selfish to take time out. People have an expectation you work every moment that you have. And for the most part, many of us do. …


An intermittent coffee-fast maintains caffeine’s long-term beneficial impact on creativity and productivity

Gioachino Rossini, the famous Italian composer of operas like The Barber of Seville loved drinking coffee. But he became aware his body would soon get used to the caffeine, with the happy-drug effects wearing off after prolonged, constant consumption. He found this would happen after about 15 to 20 days of regular coffee intake.

It’s Rossini’s good fortune that this was precisely the time he needed to write an entire opera. Well, that’s according to the French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac, who wrote about Rossini’s coffee habits in Traité des excitants modernes.

In his article ‘Music in the…


A 10-minute Writing Prompt

Because the silence of a writer not writing is among the most deafening, here is a 10-minute writing prompt to get started. I’m offering you 4 different, easy ways to go about it.

First of all, set your kitchen timer (or the timer on your phone if you must) for 10 minutes. This is important! The reason to set a timer is explained very well in Pat Pattison’s book ‘Songwriting without boundaries’:

“Soon, during your timed writing, something like this will happen: Your writing will start to roll, diving, plunging, heading directly for the soft pink and blue glow below…


(And other nostalgia-inducing scenarios)

Moving house in one’s home country or going on holiday evokes homesickness in up to seventy-five per cent of us, research says. Sometimes a mild bout of it may even take us by surprise when only making a short trip to a nearby place!

So moving overseas is definitely a risk factor for homesickness, heiweh, saudades de casa, mal du pays, sıla özlemi. Leaving behind all that is familiar and shaping a new life, a complicated mix of feelings is unleashed.

Apart from the excitement and a sense of adventure, you may feel grief and depression, loneliness and sadness. …

Sitara Morgenster

Freelance Journalist & Correspondent. I specialise in not knowing, I find out by writing. * Living off-grid in New Zealand native forest. * NVJ/IFJ-accredited *

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