Music Monday: How Great Thou Art by Sir Howard Morrison

It’s Music Monday again, a meme started by The Tattooed Book Geek.

I first learned to sing Whakaaria Mai in primary school. I didn’t like it then, because it was pitched too high for me, and really difficult to sing. It may have also had something to do with my teacher who I hated. *Rolleyes* I also, possibly because of a lack of religious upbringing, had no idea it was the Maori version of How Great Thou Art. But years later, as an adult, I heard Sir Howard Morrison’s version and it just sent chills down my spine. So powerful. So emotive. It gets me every time.

Steve’s grandmother died in 2010. She was the first person I’d lost who I’d been close to since my grandfather had died in 1991. Two of Steve’s grandparents had passed away prior to Nana Rose, but although I thought they were lovely people who I cared for, I hadn’t been close to them. Nana Rose and I had spent hours scrapbooking together. And it was only when she’d passed away and they were planning the funeral that I found out her favourite hymn was How Great Thou Art. *Heart*

I can’t listen to this song and not feel moved. This version, sung by Sir Howard Morrison. It’s just awesome. I’m not religious anymore, but if I was, I’d want this played at my funeral. And even without being religious, it still gets me every time.

Music Monday: Bastard! by Kath Tait

It’s Music Monday (a meme started by The Tattooed Book Geek and I’m also joining in The Soundtrack of Your Life Challenge on Writing.com.  Their prompt this week is ‘emotionally raw’. Which is actually pretty tough for me. Music is a huge part of my life. I associate numerous songs with different events and occasions, and far more with individual people. But I had a happy childhood, and I’m one of those people who tends to be fairly emotionally level – I don’t have massive highs and lows, particularly lows.

Which isn’t to say that my life has been perfect. It hasn’t. But when I think of ‘emotionally raw’, my first thought is grief, and I don’t actually have a lot of experience with grief. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve lost grandparents, but none of my immediate family or friends.

The next thing that comes to mind for ‘emotionally raw’ is heartache, and I haven’t had to cope with much of that either. I met my husband when I was 19. I have a song that reminds me of the boy I called my boyfriend for two weeks when I was 14. I have a few songs that remind me of my boyfriend from age 14-16. And a couple that remind me of the boy I dated from 16-17. But none of them broke my heart.

I was hurt by a boy when I was 18, because we decided we liked each other, but then before we even really had a chance to be boyfriend and girlfriend, he told me we couldn’t be because “the thought of holding my hand made him want to vomit”. Turns out it was an unfortunate choice of words and he was basically terrified of being in a relationship. Which made far more sense when he later came out as being gay. *Rolleyes* I do have a song that reminds me of how hurt and upset I was at the time, before any of the explanations came out. It’s called ‘Bastard’ by Kath Tait, and it’s a bitchy little folk song.

I suppose that was emotionally raw for me at the time. Looking back, it was so inconsequential, but at the time it destroyed me. Isn’t that stupid? I’d never been dumped, and to have this sweet Christian boy tell me that the thought of holding my hand made him want to vomit… I still don’t even really understand the depth of my reaction. I’d been bullied before. Teased, I guess, is how I would have phrased it at the time, but call a spade a spade and all that. I’d been teased a lot for my weight, even though I look back at photos of myself and wish I could convince the younger me that I just wasn’t as overweight as I thought I was. Just because I wasn’t twiggy skinny like so many of my classmates…

Anyway, I didn’t know this boy well. I’d met him at a Christian camp where we were both working as leaders. I was relatively new to the whole Christian lifestyle, not having grown up with it, and he was a friend of a friend. I’d been single for probably a year or a bit more. I hated being single. All that bullying had left me with little self confidence in my looks and body, despite having had two steady boyfriends right throughout high school. I hated being single mostly because I worried no one would ever want the me who I was on the outside. And part of hating being single was a desperation to be with someone…anyone. I had crushes on the stupidest people. Not stupid like they were morons, stupid in that they were totally wrong for me. Crushes for the sake of crushes, in the hope that one of them would like me back, and it didn’t really matter which one, so long as someone did. I guess I was seeking confirmation that someone could find me attractive. So then for this boy to turn around and say what he did…

I remember telling my flatmates, and out of everything, I distinctly remember Vanessa (she was sister to two of my flatmates and I can’t even remember why she was there that day) saying “Wait, he actually used the word vomit?” After that, I remember doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, which made my flatmates panic a little I think. *Rolleyes* I’m not very domesticated and for me to be voluntarily doing housework meant something was very wrong. *Laugh*

As I said, he was a friend of a friend, and one of my flatmates went to uni with his brother. They were talking about it, and as I understand it, the brother went home and said “You told her that the thought of holding her hand made you want to vomit?” and the guy realised how awful that sounded and rang me to apologise. We never spoke again, but my friends told me later that he came out as gay. It explained even more.

I don’t hold a grudge. He never meant to hurt my feelings, and it was such a non-relationship, it’s ridiculous that this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about it. Does the memory still hurt me? No. Did it hurt me at the time? Yes.

You know, when I started this entry, I had no intention of writing about this incident or using that song. It’s not a great song. It made me laugh the first time I’d heard it, but it’s not a powerful or emotive song. But I’ve written quite a lot, so I guess this is what this week’s entry for Music Monday and Soundtrackers is going to be, huh? A bitchy little folk song for a boy who used an unfortunate turn of phrase to end a relationship that hadn’t even started yet, because he found himself in over his head and was trying to fix the situation before he got in any deeper.

You know what the worst of it is? I can’t even remember his name.

My writing background

Prompt: How did you start writing?

I’m fairly sure I’ve covered this in my blog before. Maybe not even that long ago? I was probably rambling about something that wasn’t even that related to the prompt. Oh, no, I think I remember what it was. It was in the interview I did. That’s right. Okay, well minor recap then for anyone who is still interested.

I started keeping a journal and writing (bad) poetry in my teens. I was definitely writing both by 14. Not sure what originally inspired either. Maybe a boy? I got my first boyfriend when I was 14. I was definitely journalling before we got together though, because I know my journal is all ‘I think we’re together now, oh, no we’re not, yes we are.” Ugh. Teenage girls are so stupid. For that matter, so are teenage boys. He wouldn’t date me because I swore too much. At that time I didn’t even drop the f bomb. He objected to me saying such things as ‘He’s such a dick.’ He considered that swearing. Somehow we still ended up as boyfriend and girlfriend (maybe because I was too stubborn to give up?) and we were together for about two years. Sorry, a bit of a tangent there. So my earliest journal entries are about high school and Jason. Mostly Jason. Although Chelsea is in there quite a bit, as best friends are wont to be.

Some of my early poems were about Jason, but I mostly wrote about people and things that were currently happening. I loved writing them on scout camps and I’d mention everyone and something they did or some characteristic or personality aspect that was prominent. People enjoyed them, even though I look back on them now and think they’re total shit. I used to write poems about living on the farm and the peace and scenery there. I’m certain I wrote poems about Chelsea. And of course about the usual teenage girl angst. Bearing in mind that I was not your normal teenage girl. I wasn’t very girly at all. In fact, I was often mistaken for being a boy right up until I was 17 (which is saying something because I have never had a boyish figure). I wrote about that once, too. I reckon if identifying as another gender had been something that was done in those days, I’d have identified as male. Seriously. I just didn’t know it was a thing. You were born with girly bits, you were a girl. That’s just how it was. I hated being a girl. I know that I’ve got a poem somewhere that’s titled ‘I should have been a boy’ or something similar. I really hated that I’d been born a girl. Girls were stupid. And they had boobs and periods, which was just gross. Boys were more interesting, and they didn’t have periods or boobs. So yeah, there was that.

Sorry, gone off tangent again. Writing. My mother used to write, but not often. When we were living in England she kept a journal. I don’t know why she didn’t keep one when we lived in New Zealand. Maybe she thought normal, everyday life in New Zealand wasn’t interesting enough, whereas in England we were tourists and often out exploring different parts of England. We were there for 18 months. She also wrote poetry, but generally speaking, only in birthday cards. At least, those are the only ones she’s shown me. She did once show me a poem she’d written about Dad, when they were living in Asia, so maybe she writes more often than she lets on.

Actually, speaking of Dad, I believe he wrote at least one song. *Pthb* I distinctly remember that the woman in the song had different colour eyes to Mum. *Shock*

I started off writing simple rhyming poetry, which is the style my mother used. Then in high school I picked up Chelsea’s style of poetry which didn’t have line breaks. It wasn’t quite prose poetry either though. More like free verse without line breaks. It’s probably not even poetry by defined standards. It was… What do you call it when you just write without censoring yourself or thinking or whatever? No, I’m not talking about my rambling blog posts! *Rolling* Mind something. I tried to google it and came up with free writing. Which it is, but we used to call it something else. When your brain just explodes onto the page. Mind dump? No… Maybe it wasn’t mind anything. Anyway, Chelsea and I used to call them monologues. I wasn’t as good at them as she was. She had a real ‘free spirit’ personality and was always true to herself, whereas I was always worried about what people would think of me and wanted people to like me. Everyone loved her, so I wanted to be like her, so I would consciously try to write like her. Which is the exact opposite purpose of the exercise, right? *Facepalm*

My first foray into writing stories was to take existing stories and revise them. Like, I’d read a book, then I’d change the ending or give one of the characters a slightly different personality. I don’t have any of my early stories. In fact, I think the earliest story I have that I wrote entirely on my own is from 1996 when I was 16. Actually, that’s way earlier than I thought. But it’s not really a story. Well, it’s a true story. So it kinda doesn’t count. The earliest fictional one is from 1998 when I was 18. It’s quite short, and written in first person. Basically, it’s me daydreaming about pretending to be shot while in a debating class. *Rolleyes* Yeah… *Blush* Aside from that, I think the next earliest fictional story I have that I wrote on my own is from 2012 when I was 32. Wow. That’s a really long gap! I do have a bunch of silly stories that are similar in style to interactives. One person would write a paragraph, then another person would, then another person. Most don’t make any sense, because you were only allowed to see the last word of the previous paragraph in some cases. In others, you could read more and they made more sense. Chelsea and I did a whole bunch of those in our teens, and I still have some of them.

I’m not sure if I can attribute my ‘start’ in writing to one person. Maybe Mum, but honestly, I so rarely saw her write anything that I’m not sure that was it. I did like her style of poetry though. Through my teens, Chelsea was by far and away the biggest influence on my writing. And even into my 20s. I only started blogging because of Chelsea. True story. And her journals, which I only saw when we were flatting together in 1999-2000 (no idea if she even kept journals before then) were so creative that I desperately wanted to make some that looked the same. *Blush* Then I found Writing.com and the people were so encouraging. When I re-joined Writing.com in 2010 is when I really truly stepped out of my comfort zone and started learning and experimenting, and I learned so much from so many people. And that’s a whole other blog entry!

A song to describe me

Prompt: If you could only use music to describe yourself to someone, what song would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s actually really tough. I have to think about how I would describe myself generally first, then what songs would give the other person that impression. How would I describe myself?

Huh. Okay. I’m creative, but not artistic. I’m generous but lazy. I’m inspired but a procrastinator. Family, family history and genealogy are important to me, but I also believe that family doesn’t necessarily mean blood-relations. But on the flip side, when you’re talking about genealogy, blood-relations ARE important, because that’s your genetic line. I’m a strong believer in tolerance, particularly when it comes to religion and gender or sexuality nonconformity. I’m not shy, but I’m intimidated by good looking and/or confident people. I’m addicted to romance novels, an optimist, a romantic and exceedingly sentimental, and yet I don’t consider myself to be a particularly emotional person. I love shopping and pretty things, but if I didn’t have to dress up for work, I’d live in jeans and shorts. I’m a parent, who makes mistakes on what is probably a daily basis, but my children know they’re loved and know they can talk to me about anything, so I like to think I’m winning that challenge.

So… How do you say all of that in a song?

My first thought was Bitch by Meredith Brooks *Laugh* but I don’t know if I’m quite as extreme as that. Yeah, I can be a bitch sometimes, and the song is all about contrasts, but she says ‘I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between’ and I just don’t think that’s me. Some people, you love them or you hate them, because they’re such strong personalities. My husband is that way for a lot of people. But I don’t think I am. I’m very middle of the road. In fact, I’ve used that phrase to describe myself in the past. Middle of the road. No extremes. I’m not sure it’s as true now as it was then. I think I’ve become more diverse as I’ve got older. Definitely more interesting! *Laugh*

I took a quiz that was supposed to tell me what song suited my personality, and it told me I was Looking Out My Back Door by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I love CCR, but that song is a whole bunch of nonsense written by some folk who were whacked out on drugs. The quiz tried to tell me that it was because I lived in the moment and didn’t worry about tomorrow or some such thing, but that’s bollocks. Yeah, I’m not the one who stresses about things, but I would never use such a bizarre song to introduce myself to someone. If someone told me that that song described them, my first thoughts would be that they’re either crazy or they do a lot of drugs. For god’s sake, the song is about hallucinating animals playing music instruments!

So I googled a bit more, and found a few that might work, but most were by artists that I’m not really into. And I was still happy to consider them, but they weren’t leaping out at me. Anyway, I was reading the lyrics to All Kinds of Kinds by Miranda Lambert (I like some of her songs but hadn’t heard this one) and I had a lightbulb moment. *Idea*

So here you go. I’d be happy enough to use this song to introduce myself to someone. I’ve shared this song before, because I really like it and it makes my fingers itch to write something powerful and affirming. It probably also gives a real good indication of my age too, because it came out when I was a teenager, and people do tend to relate most to the music of their teens. What kind of person does it make you think of?


I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people’s hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don’t know what you’ve got until you say goodbye

I believe you can’t control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

Writing plans

Prompt: Have you set a writing plan for 2019? If not why not? Do you feel planning makes you more productive or less productive?

I haven”t made a writing plan yet but I think I will.  Generally speaking, plans help me avoid wasted time.  For instance, I might not write any more than I would have without the plan, but what I do write is more likely to be what’s on my plan than random waste-of-time writing.  Okay, I don’t normally have writing plans, I don’t think, but this is generally what happens to me with plans.

I did have a writing bucket list once.  Let’s see what was on that…

*Box* Handwrite all my poems into journals
*Boxcheck* Finish, edit and print Grand & Epic Adventures
*Box*Write a short story based on one of my ancestors
*Box* Write a short story based on my own life
*Boxcheck* Write a poem about Boxing Days
*Box* Write a poem about each of my family members
*Boxcheck* My dad
*Box* My mum
*Box* My older sister
*Boxcheck* My younger sister
*Boxcheck* My husband
*Boxcheck* My son
*Boxcheck* My daughter
*Box* My father-in-law
*Box* My mother-in-law
*Boxcheck* Complete National Poetry Writing Month
*Box* Complete National Novel Writing Month
*Box* Fill a journal with writing
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my younger sister in the UK
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my godson in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my goddaughter in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my grandmother in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my great uncle in the UK
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my uncle in Australia
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my friend Beth in the US
*Boxcheck* Send a snail mail letter to my old next door neighbour
*Box* Take a poetry writing or appreciation class

Hey, I’ve actually done quite a few of the things on my list!  When I was checking the list though, I realised I hadn’t updated any of my 2018 to-do lists and made 2019 lists.  I need to do that.  This is a great prompt, because I hadn’t thought about doing this earlier!

Okay, let’s do writing, and then I’ll do the other ones after posting this entry.

Last year I set myself a goal of writing a poem and a short story every month.  I failed that pretty spectacularly.  I didn’t write any short stories at all last year *Shock* and I think I only wrote poems in about six of the 12 months.  Ugh.  So I won’t set that goal again.

Oh, I should probably mention that I also have a Writing.com list (for entering contests, etc) and a blogging list.  So I don’t count blogging as writing for the purpose of this writing list.  Sorry if that confuses you!

Okay, let’s set a goal of writing at least one short story in 2019.  That’ll be an improvement over 2018!  *Laugh*

I do wanna write some poems this year.  Maybe I should set a number instead of a timeline?  Like 10 poems in 2019?

The more I think about this, the harder it gets.  Because I was like ‘Oh, I need to do some book reviews too’, but that’s a different list as well (reading).  Clearly I have too many lists.  *Facepalm*

So I put this blog entry down, went away, spent half the day watching Youtube videos and making a rock playlist and I’m still no closer to answer.  *Laugh*

Okay, here goes.  Executive decision.  Write six poems and one short story by 30 June, and write a total of 12 poems and two short stories by the end of the year.  Done!

Now I gotta update my other lists…

You’re my density

My husband sent me flowers at the office today.  Gorgeous roses in an array of different colours, including a couple of really pretty variegated ones.  He’s so naughty.  The card said ‘After 16 years, you’re still my density’, referencing the Back to the Future quote.

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I worked out that next month, it’ll be 19 years since we got together.  I was 19 then, so that means I’ll have been with him for half my life.  Half my life!  That’s insane.  And married for 16 years.  I guess that’s the good thing about getting married young, you can celebrate some pretty epic anniversaries.   Ha ha!

Travel dreams

Prompt: Where in the world would you like to visit the most? Assume you are not worried about money in any way.

Ooh, fun. Travel with no money restrictions, yes please! Living in New Zealand, it’s so expensive to go anywhere. And some of the flights are so freaking long. It takes about 30-odd hours to get from Auckland to London. In cattle class, that sucks. You arrive so exhausted that you have to spend two days recovering before you can start exploring. So money-is-no-object travelling? I’m in.

I haven’t been to many places, although I’ve been lucky with where I have been. I’ve done most of the North Island of New Zealand. I’ve been to Melbourne, Australia and the Australian Outback. I’ve explored London, England, and Inverness, Scotland pretty well. I’ve been to Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland as well, and Northampton and Keswick in England, but not explored, so only seen one or two specific places and a whole bunch of English and Scottish roadside.

When it comes to travel, I have some priorities I guess. Like everyone. Some people want to immerse themselves in a different culture. Some people want to get a sense of history. I’m a country girl at heart, and a photography enthusiast, so I tend to go for natural scenery.

I know, it’s insane that I can say that and yet I haven’t been to the South Island. People come from all over the world to see the scenery of the South Island, and I’m a Kiwi and I haven’t seen any of it!  My friend Charlie on Writing.com was talking about Norway’s fjords, but New Zealand’s South Island has fjords too. And glaciers. And mountains.

Why do we spell it fiords? That seems very American of us. *Wink*

So yeah, the South Island is high on my list. I also really want to explore the Lake District of England. I’ve been there twice, once as a child and once as an adult, but only briefly. I want to explore it.

Where else? I want to drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria. Again, amazing scenery. And I love road trips. My mother and older sister rave about cruises, because you do all your travelling at night while you sleep and just wake up in the morning at your next destination, but I actually like road trips, and so does my husband. You get a feel for the country, and it’s interesting and relaxing. Plus, you can pull over anywhere you like and explore. That’s how we ended up in Gretna Green. *Laugh* Oh, and Stoke-on-Trent. That was a heck of a detour for what ended up being a walk around a pottery museum. *Smirk*

I’m sure no one will be surprised to know that I have a travel bucket list. No, I thought not. Me, the queen of lists, having a travel bucket list? Kind of a given, I know. So here you go:
*Boxcheck* Fly business class
*Box* Fly first class
*Box* Apply for a UK passport
*Boxcheck* Go inside St Matthews in the City, Auckland, New Zealand
*Box* Go to New Zealand’s South Island
*Box* Go to Larnach Castle in Dunedin, New Zealand
*Boxcheck* Go to England as an adult
*Boxcheck* See Buckingham Palace in England as an adult
*Boxcheck* Go inside Westminster Abbey in England
*Boxcheck* See the Tower of London in England
*Boxcheck* Go to Hyde Park in England
*Boxcheck* Go to Scotland
*Boxcheck* Go to Gretna Green in Scotland
*Box* Go to Dunfermline Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland
*Box* Go to the Isle of Skye in Scotland
*Box* Go to the Orkney Islands in Scotland
*Box* Go to Ireland
*Box* Go to Wales as an adult
*Box* Go to ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli
*Box* See the Northern or Southern Lights
*Box* Go to Antarctica

See? IrelandWalesthe islands of Scotland and Antarctica. That’d be fucking awesome. I’m so jealous of my friend Jody from Writing.com who is going to Antarctica. Again, so close to New Zealand (ironically, that one we’re actually close to whereas you’re all so far away from it) and yet it might as well be on the other side of the world. No, I’ve been to the other side of the world, but still haven’t been to the South Island or Antarctica. *Facepalm*

Where would you love to travel to if money was no object?