Libra/Tiger, mother/stepmother, grandmother, owner of cat and wife of Scotty.

I am trying to figure out how to condense 58 years of life into a blog. 
So, let’s start from Te Papa Tupu and why I applied?
I’d followed ‘Te Papa Tupu’ covetously for years.  I wanted to apply but did not feel good enough.  But, then again, I never feel good enough about anything.  Well, that’s not strictly true.  I vacillate between “I am amazing” and “every single thing I do is crap” or, as Nick Hornby put it, a state of genius/wanker.
I know the bad feelings have names like imposter syndrome, low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. I don’t think they are those things.  I believe a lot of Māori women of my generation, were bought up to put everyone’s needs before our own, especially if you are the eldest.  We were also raised to be terrified of the label “whakahihi” which I believe you must embrace to be a creative of any kind. 
I’ve always had a job, before and after school from the age of nine.  I left school at fifteen and have always worked full time, sometimes two or three jobs, at the time. 
I am from the ‘girls can do anything’ era.  Which is really ‘girls can work full time as well as ‘everything’ else they already do’ era. 
The first twenty years of my adulthood was an unwed pregnancy, adoption, breakdown, marriage, motherhood, breakdown, divorce, marriage, bi-polar diagnosis, widowhood, breakdown accompanied by the unrelenting shame that I never felt I had control of anything. 
Then, twenty years ago, I met Scotty, my husband, (No 3) who said to me “Do whatever you want, I just want you to be happy.” 
Hello new life. 
The first thing I did was get me some higher education.   I enrolled at Whitiriea NZ, got a certificate in Applied Art, then a Bachelor of Art and Design.  Then I completed an Advanced Graduate Diploma in creative writing.  During those two years I wrote a novel called ‘Heart of the Tapu Stone’ in the first year, and ‘Till we kissed’ in the second. 
These novels took me in two very different directions.
Heart of the Tapu stone launched our business ‘Dusky’ and which took me to lecture in Europe and an approach from a film production company. 
‘Till we Kissed’ became ‘The Eldest Girl’ and is the manuscript I will be working on with ‘Te Papa Tupu,’ and have been working for years. 
This is my smooth transition into my writing process. 
It is simple.  I have written every day of my life since I could write.  Ask anyone in my family, I have always invented much better worlds in which I wanted to live.  I lied too, constantly, the sign of a good writer apparently. 
I still write every single day. Before computers made a writer’s life easier I used a blue BIC ballpoint pen and lined refill.  Then a gigantic cast iron imperial typewriter that weighed a ton, on my knees, in bed.  Then I got a tiny portable typewriter and then in the late eighties, an actual computer with a black screen and orange text.
I write, almost all the time and everything else is secondary, but, when I’m not writing I am being creative in other ways.  I have a (cabin) studio where I write and a (garage) workshop where I do my crafty, arty stuff. 
I do all sorts of things.  Right now I’m crocheting blankets, before that it was hats and tea cosies, before that I was constructing fairy houses, before that it was miniature succulent gardens te mea te mea te mea  The door to creativity should always be open in case a muse or genius would like to drop by.
I can do this because there is no one at home to take care of except me. 
The kids are all off in the world being spectacular, the cat and husband are self-sufficient, so I am free.
When I am not writing, or creating, I am filling myself up with the World. 
Books are paperback crack to me, anything from tiny stories to grand sagas, my favourites are detective novels, thrillers, romances and those fat tomes erroneously called chick-lit, which I adore. 
The last books I read were 11 Tess Gerritsen novels in a row and before that Nalini Singh’s ‘Rock’ series and before that 4 Ruth Rendell’s “Wexfords” on the trot. 
I do mostly audio and E-books now as the old eyes are getting a bit…well…old.  My go to audio series that I listen to over and over are the Strike books by Robert Galbraith.  Genius.  The most beautifully written books I have ever read are Barbara Kingsolver, the Poisonwood Bible and AS Byatt, Possession.  My favourite writer is Marian Keyes. I love, love, love her.
I watch a lot of youtubes.  I love to see people, especially young people, really going for their dreams.  It is a hell of a lot different from my day and I am glad.  I don’t wish to travel back in time.  Being young was horrible.   Also, the world is a much better place for people like me now; no matter what anyone says about these freakish times. 
I applied to Te Papa Tupu because after being a Pikihuia finalist 3 times, (which I call my ‘always a bridesmaid’ years) and once, with an actual excerpt from ‘The Eldest girl’.  So I forced myself to send the Manuscript of ‘The Eldest Girl’ to Huia. 
It came back with an amazing reader’s report and a lovely rejection email that told me that the story needed a bit of work and I should to apply to ‘Te Papa Tupu”. 
So, I applied. 
I won a place.
I guess I could possibly be good enough.