Listening to writing

I started to write this post on Wednesday evening, but found it just wasn’t going anywhere. Then this morning I read this on Sally Frawley’s Food, Finds and Forays

Creativity can free your mind from the everyday allowing your brain and body to enter a different realm from that in which you dwell on a daily basis. Often our routine lives can be mundane or lacking fulfilment. Creating can deliver this to us in big and small ways whether it be as an act of meditation keeping hands busy and minds distracted or the ‘return’ of joy when our creativity comes in the form of something we can share with others like cooking or gardening.

and thought gosh yes…that is what I was trying to say, and failing to find the words yesterday. Creating can bring joy and happiness that we can share with others.

So what brought on this reflection? Well, recently I attended two events on writing here in Wellington, which were both interesting in very different ways: one being on food writing which is something I want to do more of but keep putting off and the other, the award winning writer Eleanor Catton. Yes, on the surface, very different experiences, but deep down, it was all about creating something to share with the world.

Anyway, enough of the ‘deep stuff’ and onto the first event The Eat Your Words: The New Zealand Symposium of Food Writing and Content, part of Wellington on a Plate, a day dedicated to “cookbook authors, food writers, food commentators, and food content creators who have something to say about food”. I attended two sessions, How the Past is Influencing Our Emerging Kiwi Kai* and Telling Stories of Culture & Heritage Through Food & Travel Writing.

In the first session, we heard Lois Daish, the well known New Zealand Listener food columnist for over 20 years, as well as a Wellington restaurant owner and the author of four recipe books; David Veart, a freelance writer, archeologist and historian whose first book First Catch Your Weka: a story of New Zealand cooking tells the story of the what has made New Zealand cooking distinctive and Joe McLeod an Executive Chef with over 50 years in the hospitality services industry, with strong connection to traditional Māori food and cooking. I particularly enjoyed listening to David Veart’s story of archeology and the history of food on these islands. I really have to find his book as it sounds so interesting, examining how cooking and what we eat has changed.

Session two saw Ben Groundwater, a Sydney-based writer, columnist, author, blogger and broadcaster who specialises in food and travel and Jennifer Yee Collinson, writer, dietitian and food scientist who has worked on many projects involving food in Aotearoa New Zealand. To be honest. I was slightly disappointed with this session, though Ben Groundwater did have some amusing stories. I was hoping for inspiration and insight but got neither.

This week I attended a very different event, Eleanor Catton in conversation about her latest book, Birnam Wood, organised by Verb Wellington and held at the Embassy Cinema in the city. The poet, Joan Fleming, who had done her master’s degree at the same time as Catton, was the host for the evening. The conversation concentrated on the inspiration for the work (Hamlet, global politics and the environment), and the writing process itself. It was clear that a lot of research and reflection had gone into the work and interesting to hear how she approaches her writing.

I do enjoy going to these sorts of things, so need to keep my eyes – and ears – open for more events like this. Apologies for a bit of a rushed post, but it is one of those weeks!

Entered in Wednesday Words and Pics hosted by Denyse.

*Kai is food in Māori

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. How interesting. I have a book on my shelf called Eating To Extinction by Dan Saladino, my mum has raved about its importance to our future food needs, but it is a big book and I keep putting off reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy events like that, too, but because of COVID, I got out of the habit of going to talks and exhibits. Thank goodness for my library and for books. Also for streaming services. Now that COVID has subsided to a dull roar, I need to get back in the groove. After the spring rush of gardening is over. 😉 As for creativity…to me, it is a current that runs through human beings and takes many shapes, both great and small. Without creativity, life would be a dreary place. In my own life, I have placed a big emphasis on creativity, perhaps to the detriment of other things, but I have found I cannot live without it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is nice to get out and see the ‘real’ people if that makes sense! Mind you, watching online means you can get access to a whole lot more – I certainly enjoyed a lot of varied things during Covid.

      I agree that without creativity life would be a dreary place. It can take many forms. My current job has zero room for being creative so I have to let it flow at home…hence why a lot of housework doesn’t get done 🙂

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  3. Eat Your Words — love that!! Those sessions sound great. I haven’t had a lot of luck finding much in the way of writing classes in my city and it is something I am interested in. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I love events like that – that nourish your soul… but I can relate to your point about ‘creating’ as well. I have a half-written post about creating vs consuming that I really need to finish. (And part of the reason I haven’t isn’t because the two aren’t currently balanced for me!)

    Liked by 1 person

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