It has been a seriously big year.

In some ways, I feel like I’ve achieved nothing – no new books, no awards or collaborations, fewer events and sales – but in other ways it has been a fantastic year.

The Otago Peninsula in Dunedin ❤

After moving to Dunedin (new city, new job, new people, new house, and a relationship that’s become temporarily long-distance) I felt an internal shift. It was so beautiful, so relaxed, and has a much smaller population. In this new environment, I felt a new perspective. I utterly relaxed, in stark comparison to the last few years. While this was great and all, it was a MASSIVE shift, and I ended up taking some counselling sessions. It pretty much felt like mental/emotional bootcamp at the time, but I have come out with a new sense of self; of groundedness.

I have rarely felt grounded or centered in myself, bar a few times that have mostly been when painting or tramping. It’s been refreshing to feel so strong in myself, less concerned about others’ opinions and the “right” way of doing things.

With this in mind, I made some decisions about my creative work, including taking on full-time hours at the day-job in 2019. I hope that by taking the pressure of making money away from my creative work I can be more authentic (currently anything I make is a tug-o’-war between what I really want to make and what I think people want to buy).

Hamilton Zinefest May 2017 (photo credit: Bryce Galloway)

I also decided that I want to stay small. I remember seeing a thread on Twitter (or was it Facebook?) about this, and it has been echoing in the caverns of my brain ever since. I’m not just “okay” with being small, I actually want to stay that way. For my work, and for Blue Mushroom Books. I’m shifting my fantasy series from perfect-bound paperbacks to hand-bound chapbooks, and I’m taking everything down a gear. I’m about sharing creative voices, an appreciation of beauty, and enjoying life in the process. 

It feels so incredibly good.

So next year is about making work that is truly true to me, giving Blue Mushroom Books its voice, being more hands-on with my work (hand bound chapbooks, zines, junk journals, and mixed media illustration). In my personal life, my big project is our new garden, and continuing to lean in to myself.

2019 is going to be wonderful ❤

(With all that said, it’s not like I haven’t done anything. I’ve started making handmade journals (which is such a deliciously creative process), kicked off a happy mail swap group, and attended the Hamilton Zinefest, NZ Book Festival, & Christchurch Wham Bam Author Jam events. Earlier this year, I taught a picture book writing class at Studio One Toi Tū (with one of my students going on to set up her publishing company, Blue Goat Books), visited over a dozen schools to talk about authorly things, and got mentions in both the Waikato Times & the Otago Daily Times.)

Ranting & Rambling