Archives for posts with tag: rant

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The Dedes are the reflection of their Artist and truth be told they struggle. When they first popped up, the Artist was still working and had to deal with different personalities on a daily basis. As an educator it was the Artist’s intention to find win-win situations where possible, or if not possible, at least come to an understanding of the thinking of others.

The puppets provide an excellent tool to investigate any issue in an non-threatening way and from many different angles. Like in human society, different puppets have different opinions derived from their own individual experiences. While these, on scrutiny, often don’t even exclude each other, they often result in major disagreements – even animosities, when everyone stubbornly insists on their own position. The key to understanding is careful and sincere listening. A skill well worth developing.

Then Top Dog showed up in their little society and everything changed. All of a sudden there was this knifing, lying puppet that twisted words and didn’t care about reason, truth or the well-being of others, but only about his own advantage and power. In typical Dede-fashion they took it lightheartedly at first. Sadly, what happened to the Dede-society was mirrored big time in the real world shortly after.  Over night, the Dedes were no longer funny! And the struggle began: The Dedes’ life philosophy was challenged to the core, if not endangered.

Meanwhile, the Artist in her typical fashion is sitting on the fence. Should the Dedes die, or should they come out fighting? While there is no definitive verdict, the Dedes are still potting around on Instagram. So the Artist kept the Dedes alive as she believes coming back from the dead is arguably more difficult than coming back from sick-leave. While the Dedes were convalescing the blog was somewhat neglected. They really should be out of their sick-bed by now.

Well, of course I am the Artist and the Dedes reflect my own struggle. Personally, I am blessed beyond my own belief, and live an extremely rich and fulfilled life (not in the monetary sense, though). I haven’t always, and like everyone else I have my ups and downs. I invented Top Dog, when I had to cope with a bullying work environment. Writing Top Dog’s adventures helped me tremendously externalising the issue. Though in the end the real Top Dog and her antics did grind me down and even worse Top Dogs popped up everywhere in the political world, like mushrooms after a nuclear fall-out.

My solution was to withdraw back into the privacy of my own life and onto a 1.5ha lifestyle block being as self-sufficient as possible. It suits me to a tee, as I always had hermit-style tendencies (hence the first puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

The Dedes on the other hand are public figures, they like an audience and once again, they complain that I am not doing enough for them. They believe they have a message worth hearing. And there we are…

Do they really?

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The Super Dede Competition is well and truly over and the puppets have to find a new project. But before the next thing, they had to post the Artist’s Survival Cookbooks to the winners. Foxy Lady volunteered to go to the post office in town. As this is quite a trip nowadays, she made a real day out of it.

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After she had run the errand she visited one of her favourite places, the old Stone Store in Kerikeri, which is the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. Looking across the river she had an idea: “Maybe we should show our readers more of where we live” she said. “People in other parts of the world will yawn” said the Artist. “A building from 1836 is not something to write home about. Where I come from, there are building half a millennium old and older!”

“It’s not a competition” huffed Foxy Lady. And the readers agreed, they would like to see more of where the Dedes hang out.

Though not all Dedes agree.

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“I don’t think it is a good idea to show our readers our dilapidated realm” said Snotty Nosed Prince to his father Benevolent King, when he heard about the suggestion. “Why not? It is refreshing! Everyone on Instagram shows a picture perfect world.When we open our castle, people realise we are just as average as the next person.”

“I’d rather like to keep up appearances,” said the prince and walked away.

“One day you will realise, one-up-man-ship doesn’t get you anywhere!” said the king calmly and the benefit of old age.

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“No one is interested in how you personally live” laughed Court Jester and tickled Snotty Nosed Prince with the tip of a fern leave. “I understand our readers want to see more of New Zealand, our beautiful country!”

“Not quite” a reader responded. “We are interested in both.”

Some of the Dedes are still not convinced. Calamity admitted that seeing all these beautiful pictures on Instagram make her depressed.

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“We live in a beautiful environment, true, but seeing all these nice landscape images depresses me when I have to go back to work on Monday.” Some did understand her concerns, but others believe he should try to live in the moment. Well, good advice, but it is not that easy with her predisposition.

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Calamity found a supporter in Rob D Light who said he totally understands her. “Cheerful pictures on Instagram drag you down big time. It makes me so aware I never will be on the sunny side of life. I’ve tried and tried and tried!”

Now the readers started to get concerned that the Dedes are so down on their surroundings. Most of them are actually not! It is just that the sullen ones spoke up loudly and skewed the opinions so the world got the wrong impression.

You never will please Calamity. She puts a negative slant on everything and is terribly envious of anyone who has a better live than her (in her judgement). While Rob D Light is tired of trying to break down walls, busily put up by others to exclude him.

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“Sadly these two puppets have a point” admitted Philosopher to L’Artiste “the real Dedeland is a place in the mind. When you lack positive imagination it must be an extremely dreary place.”

 

 

What was clear and crisp yesterday, is out-of-focus today.

I will have a bit of a rant today. It’s a pacman day: that means I have hit the wall and need to get unstuck before the ghosts get me. Pretty sure you all know the game.

I have noticed that my book is listed in an online shop of a large New Zealand bookstore chain. (Of course it is, as it is in the Nielsen database and I assume they just republish this database). However this online store shows the book as currently unavailable, which irks me, as it is not unavailable at all. To the general punter it sounds as if it were out of print. So we wrote a nice  letter to the chain with a fact sheet about the book, asking whether they would consider stocking the title as they have it in their database anyway. We even offered them to send an evaluation copy.  It didn’t take them much more than an hour to respond and say it is too specialised. Mmmhm I wonder how they came to that conclusion without engaging.  Furthermore they told us they will take it off the database. (Which is difficult, since I believe they just re- publish the Nielson database). Later on that day we got another email saying they won’t take it off the database, but just order a book from us if someone asks for it. Surprise! But nothing achieved.

This got me thinking about the whole publishing world again. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My book could be viewed as a vanity book or self-published as I am a partner in the publishing house that published it. What is a ‘real publisher’? After all I studied publishing for 3 years and set up a publishing house before, which I successfully sold. I adapted my career path when I came to New Zealand as I wasn’t confident enough with the language. I moved into writing computer books for the German market. I have been sole or co-author of around 30 books. So I wouldn’t really call myself a novice. But gee I am happy that books are not cream cakes and we don’t have to sell them by the weekend. Thankfully, they won’t perish.

Of course not much has changed in the publishing world since Gutenberg… until the Internet came along. We all know that. Generally I am very much in favour of the institution of “the publisher” to ensure quality through the editing process and vouching for well researched and well written stories. But it reminds me so much of the time when computers started to move into offices. I met a lot of 40-year-olds then who said they don’t have to learn computers, it won’t affect their work at all. Ten years later they were too young to retire, but unable to find a job without computer skills.

Enough of the ranting!

On a more positive note: I met up with a friend yesterday to discuss the puppeteer workshops and it is all looking good here. I’ve nutted out a session plan which I will fine-tune after the discussion we had. Then we will take it to the next stage and test it with a group of people. This is volunteer work and I am really curious how it will all pan out.

The biggest hurdle I face is that there is the common misconception, particularly in this country, that puppets are only for children. I have been warned! In Europe, on the other hand, there are some amazing permanent troupes with elaborate stage shows. My puppets are different, as they are not professional performers. With my workshops I want them to become confidants for the participants. I would so love to unleash their creative juices.