‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.
But I’m still feeling shattered. And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.
There’s a lot going on in this book.
Outside there’s a colourful riot of flowers cherry and pink blossoms and the joyful Springtime chorus of our birds. Out there drunk and disorderly, cheeky Tuis dangle from Kowhais sucking the nectar from the trees’ golden flowers.
I do love this long awaited time of the year especially this year when dreary winter lingered too long.
“Where is that little fecking orange pill? You repacked – where did you put it?”
Picture this scenario: You’re at a large Asian Airport after a difficult flight from Auckland. The plane was packed to the gunnels, dominated by groups travelling in packs and a child kicked your back consistently through the 10-hour trip from hell. Now you are searching through your luggage with a panicked urgency.
Not long ago Jane Fonda visited New Zealand for a special one night appearance where she was interviewed about her life on stage in front of a full house. I was there. Way up in the back row applauding wildly. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. At 71, I’m a bit embarrassed to confess that I am a “fan”. But I am.
One of the advantages of skirting sixty is arriving at a vast fashion plateau, where peer pressures recede into the misty distance of the 1950s, when our mothers dreaded a hole in our socks.
What a relief it is to window shop today and see tortured blue jeans with unmatched patches, or with gaping holes without patches, and jackets turned inside out with threads hanging off artfully fraying seams! What a joy, to go home and rip apart an old coat taking the scissors to its sleeves, tearing out the shoulder pads and pinning a 1950s rhinestone brooch on its sagging lapel above our heart.
In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.
But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed. Life was hard. The picture, is grim.
These days, we see more and more emphasis on mental health—particularly where topics such as depression, stress, and anxiety are concerned. People are more aware of the psychological aspects that affect and sometimes govern our lives. You see it on campuses and hospitals. You see it in the digital space, such as in social media.
Despite this, it seems many doctors still prefer to treat these mental conditions with drugs.