Continuation of interview with Hazel Menehira
Today’s wonder is words – I love them for what they convey, and authors like to play with them, and poets like to rhyme and make music with them. So the conversation with Hazel continues and touches upon readers and writers – there are many links to follow as she has such a varied interest in reading.
JUNE: Who have you enjoyed reading at different times in your life? Why?
HAZEL : I have been an avid reader all my life.
Definitely a lover of the classics in all genres. Why? Because they’re great!!!!
For my LTCL and FTCL I covered the development of English poetry and the novel and also history of theatre.
If I had to pick personal favourites – I guess for poetry: Dylan Thomas, Poe, Yeats, Hopkins, Wordsworth, Edna St Vincent Millay,oh so many… NZ poet James K. Baxter was a friend and great influence on me….novels again classics, Tolstoy, Brontes, indulgences:, New Zealand’s Janet Frame, British Catherine Cookson and historian Edward Rutherfurd…playwrights Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and Pinter .
I did my fellowship thesis on Tennessee Williams.
Seriously a lot of my reading has been spiritual or aspirational work ..Gibran, Krishnamurti, Rohit Mehta, Vivekenanda… much theosophically based writing. Blavatsky and Besant. I read lots of non-fiction and text books and nowadays international books for reviewing.
JUNE: Finally what advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you want to write…WRITE… keep writing…no matter where you are or what moves you to put pen or pencil to paper.
Never discard a note or a line of your scribble…when you feel the urge make your first rough draft. Put it away for a time.
Remember good writers are re-writers. No matter how many drafts it takes keep going until you make a tight professional presentable manuscript that satisfies you.
If you want to write-read …read as many different types of prose as you can to become discerning about different disciplines and genres. Find out what works for you and for your readers.
Above all aim for tight prose….if poetry is your passion read poetry continually. Study prosody and the use of poetic devices to enhance your own poems. And ensure that compression is paramount to reduce over-wording.
Prose is walking…poetry is dancing. Writing is never a chore…but self editing can be.
Above all else maintain a healthy balance between the different worlds you move in and try to develop a balanced writing practice so that health is not endangered nor important relationships damaged.
Accept feedback willingly but pigeon hole only sound advice that works for you. Know that knockbacks and rejection slips are all part of the process
Write because you enjoy it….If you don’t enjoy it then play golf, garden or go fishing.
(c) June Perkins