There’s a lot of love in Aotearoa. Right now, all of it goes to the whānau and loved ones of everyone affected in Christchurch. But there are also bad people, racists and fascists in our country. Āe, even here in Aotearoa. Any minority, especially, can tell you this. It’s never been hard to see, but I imagine it’s easier to forget when you’re not the one living the countless effects of systematic bias, hatred, the second looks, the hurtful names. Or worse. Nobody wants to imagine the worse that happened yesterday. But we could have. There are fascists here. If you are not them, WORK AGAINST THEM. You do this with love. Love for your neighbour. If all your neighbours look the same, walk down a different street. Spend time with people different from you. Get outside your circle and understand more about that person at work who doesn’t share your belief system, your skin colour, your preferences or way of life. Lots of us move in circles of people just like us. Step through the wall of that circle, even just for a bit. Spend some time outside it, get to know those people different to you so you can remember, underneath it all, when you get down to the things that matter, they’re not different at all. You’ll learn things you never knew. You’ll remember that yours is not the only way. And you’ll be working against the hatred. The people who are scared of those who aren’t like them. Those people are threatened because they don’t want to share OUR world with ways of life different from theirs. They’re scared of not being right. They want those walls to exist, it makes them feel strong. They’re not strong if we don’t let them be. Go and show somebody different to you some love. That’s how you beat hatred. Do it today, especially today we need it.

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I gave a talk today about my car crash and my sisters and what living so close to death taught me about life. I’ve performed on stage enough to not be nervous about crowds in general, and I’ve written about, and contemplated, those things enough that it’s not really *painful* per se when I talk about them. But sharing that stuff without the safety lines on a page is probably the most emotionally exhaustive thing I voluntarily put myself through. If you’re ever around after I give that talk, and I seem a bit awkward or off, that’s why! Chur.

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I had a nightmare about spreadsheets last night. Gridlines slicing through the columns, wrapping so tight around my chest I couldn’t breathe – OK, it was really about getting details wrong for a whole school of shoebox kids, but the Google Sheets backdrop was freaky.

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Re-reading my #nzwritersforum notes: “Every child is a poet until they’re 9. When we laugh at their made up words & the way they don’t follow convention, we tell them they’re not like us, not like the normal…kids developing voice is easy, maintaining it is hard” – John Marsden.

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