Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beehives and Joy

Broken China at BATS Theatre, photo by Almost A Bird Collective

I love my new house. But I do not love unpacking. Yes it's fun deciding where things can go and hanging posters and pictures on the walls, but I still have so many boxes piled up in my room and SO MUCH STUFF. So many books, so many tea cups, so many photos in frames, so many items of clothing that I can't get rid of even though I never wear them because 'they might be good for a costume one day' or they were bought specifically for their costume potential.

Lucky I am going to hipster camp this weekend at which there are THREE dress-up parties... A four day weekend! Camping at an old agricultural school! Random bands! Dancing! I cannot wait. And hopefully I can just forget about the mess of a room I will no doubt return to. But really, it's only been a few days and I've hardly been home to do any unpacking. I've had better things to do, such as see Broken China at BATS Theatre. I now want to wear my hair in a beehive all the time!

The other week I finished Joy Cowley's memoir, Navigation. I requested it for Christmas and my request was duly granted - fortunately this time it didn't take me almost a year to get around to reading my Christmas book.

The style of the first chapter (very dreamlike and metaphorical) made me a little wary as to whether I'd end up enjoying the book or even make it to the end, but it seemed to serve more as a preface to the book and the style of the second chapter was much more what you'd expect from a memoir and carried on throughout the book. I have a particular interest in children's and young adults' fiction which is why I was keen to read Joy Cowley's memoir - I loved Bow Down Shadrach when I was younger. Plus I am nosy and like reading about other people's lives.

Being a memoir, it's more a collection of themed chapters than a detailed, chronological account of her life to date, which made it an easy read. Some things - such as the end of her first marriage - were only very briefly touched upon and the few details dropped in here and there leave it up to the reader to work out what happened and how she felt about it. But you get a great sense of who Joy Cowley is as a person - very caring, hard working, spiritual, and with a great love of, connection to, and respect for the outdoors. She has led a very varied life - she loved motorbikes and learned to fly a Tiger Moth before she became a mother, and she trained as a pharmacy assistant (the story behind how she came to do so very much reflects the times she grew up in in terms of expectations and attitudes, especially with regards to women, and the fact that she ended up enjoying it, considering the circumstances, is quite surprising and goes to show that sometimes when you think the worst has happened things can actually turn out rather well).

Overall, the 'story' moved along at a steady pace and I enjoyed it, although I was hoping for more detail about her journey to becoming a writer and how the various individual novels came about; but she was clearly very selective about how much she wanted to share about all aspects of her life, and I guess you have to respect that.


  1. You are going to hipster camp!!1!!! JEALOUSSSSS.

  2. I know! I am so excited!!! Counting down the is going slooow.