Samoa author

You Is Beautiful

A message for the Single Ladies from Samoa. (But not the skinny ones.)

I got in to New Orleans at 1am and went straight to the hotel which is in the French Quarter. Couldnt sleep because I’m on Samoa time and at 7.30am I was up and out for a walk, doing the tourist thing as the city slowly woke up.
There’s feathers and gators, blues and horses.

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As a donut freak connoseiur, of course I had to go to Cafe du Monde and get beignets. Which I then savored scrumptiously while sitting in Jackson Park and enjoying the sounds of a street jazz musician.

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Then this happened: Walking along Canal Street, an elderly gentleman stopped me.
“Can ah please ask whea you from?”
Me – “I’m from Samoa.”
“Whea is dat?”
I explained. He then asked, “Ahh hope you dont mind me aaskin, but ahh you  married mizz?”
Me – “Yes I am.”
“Aahm sorry to hea that.” Shook his head sorrowfully. “You aah so beautiful, ahh seen you walkin by and aah aint nevah seen anyone look like you befoah, aahh just had to find out whea you from.”
Me – “Thank you.” What a fabulous city this is! Random compliments on a meandering morning walk!  So he looks about sixty years old but hey, one is grateful for gracious compliments whenever one can get them.

“Do aaallll the wimen in Saamowah look like you? Can you please tell dem to come hea to Nawlins? Coz you married but can your single sistahs come visit?”

Me (laughing, because, y’know… I’m beautiful and it’s a beautiful day in a beautiful city) – “Sure, I’ll let them know.”
#FeelingGood cos #YouIsBeautiful #YouIsImportant… Pharell Williams is singing real loud #BecauseImHappy

Then he added. “Yeah tell the beautiful ladies in Saamowah we would really appreciate dem hea. Y’know, beautiful ladies like you with meat on dem. Curves. We dont like dem skinny girls, all dem bones.” He grimaced. “No dont like dem skinny wimmen.” He held his hands out wide and repeated. “Beautiful with some meat on ’em.”

WTH?!  #BecauseImHappy song scratched abruptly. Did he have to hold his hands out THAT wide?!  Dammit.

Me, not laughing anymore – “Okay thank you. Bye now.”

Then I went and ate another beignet. Because you know, that’s what beautiful women ‘with meat on dem’ do when they’re in New Orleans.

But I’m passing on the message – single ladies from Samoa who are not skinny? You will find great beignets and random 60 year old admirers here. Come quickly.

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How to Become a Writer.

As a writer who writes too many different things all the time – I am often asked: “Where do you find the time and the drive to write? How do you overcome writer’s ‘block’?” Such questions are a puzzle to me and so my answer is 105km and 14 hrs long…

A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I wanted to put together a women’s team and run in a 105km relay that went around the main island of Samoa. It was crazy because at the time I couldn’t even run around the parking lot without stopping to gasp for breath. But I was determined. I convinced some other moms to be crazy with me and we started training.

For 5 days a week over three months, we would meet at the crack of dawn to go for a 5k run. I use the term ‘run’ very loosely since, at first, we did more of a shuffle, which then accelerated to become a waddle, which then after a few weeks, became a jiggly, joggly sort of jog. Did I enjoy it? Hell no. I hated every minute of it. Many times, I only went because it was my turn to drive and pick the team up. Other times, I only went because the rest of the team was honking their car horn outside, waiting to pick me up.

But after 6 weeks, something strange happened. (No, I didn’t transform into a stunning athletic muscle machine. I wish.) I found myself waking up early on Saturday mornings…wanting to go for a run, itching and edgy for a run. Huh? By Wk 9, I was going for a run TWICE A DAY. And when I got the flu and couldn’t train for a week? I was raving mad. As if someone had bought all the Diet Coke on the island, leaving me with nothing but coconuts to drink. By the time the Perimeter Relay came around, I was running twice a day, sometimes 6 days a week. But more significantly, the running had become as essential to me as eating. Sleeping. Brushing my teeth. I wouldn’t dream of going a work-day without it. It took our team 14 hours to complete the relay, running from 2am to 5pm the next afternoon. Many times during that relay, I wanted to puke and die. But many times, I was also running on an exhilarating high as I gloried in feeling like – I could run forever and never stop.

Writing is just like that. If you want to BE a writer, you don’t ‘find time’ in your busy schedule to write. You make time. You start with a goal. A crazy dream. ‘I want to write a romance. A best-selling thriller. A children’s book. A memoir about my grandmother…’ You set aside a time and a place every day that you are going to write. You start off small. Shuffling, waddling baby steps to get you building the consistent writing habit. You write anything and everything. Start a journal. A family newsletter. Write down those bedtime stories you tell your kids. Record your family history. Write long, chatty letters to friends. Start a blog AND THEN STICK TO IT. The best thing I ever did for my writing career was to start a blog – it forced me to assert and accept responsibility for my writing. Your blog readers can be like that relay team of runners who force you to stick to your crazy dream by bugging you every day for your latest piece of writing. At first, it will be hard. You will probably hate it. Complain. Whinge and whine looking for excuses NOT to write. But if you keep at it, doggedly, persistently – you will hit that point where you can’t imagine a day, a moment, without writing. When you’re not writing, you will be thinking about it. If you have an unruly mob of children like me, you will dread the weekends because it means less writing time. ( And don’t even get me started on the horror of school holidays…aaargh!) You will write because you feel like you will die if you don’t. You will write because you are a writer. And that’s what writers do.

My 105km relay showed me that crazy, impossible dreams are possible.

A Very Sad Footnote to this Writing Story: Since the relay, my first book of narrative non-fiction, funded by the Australian government, ‘Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi’ was launched in 2010. I published four books in my Young Adult series, Telesa.  My collection of short fiction won the USP Press Fiction Prize. My story ‘The Beast that Came from the Sea’ was professionally recorded for radio by the Commonwealth Foundation and broadcast in 54 countries. I have written numerous children’s stories that are published in the NZ School Reading Curriculum. All while being the slave mother to five fabulous children. However, I have not been running anywhere. Not even in the parking lot. And it shows…

 

Kick-Butt Awesomeness AND a Giveaway

Today was a good day. We (finally) left the house and took the Fab5 to the city to try ice skating and look at the city. Which transported them into paroxysms of delight because these poor woebegotten creatures hardly ever get to go anywhere and the sight of bright lights, shop windows and an endless array of well-dressed people going about their night life socializing was an otherworldly experience for them all. And even though I’d been dreading going out with them all – I ended up having a blast and reflecting upon how much I love these people who live in the same cave as me. Especially after ice skating when we bought a bucket of hot sugar-covered donuts from a donut stand and then sat under sparkling winter wonderland lights in the cold and ate them. And everybody was smiley and cheerful and happy. (Because donuts can do that to you.) Me and the Hot Man were feeling rather in synch that yes, it rocks being parents to five fabulous children. Here we are, looking and feeling this transient feeling…

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But today was also a kickbutt awesome day because I got my copy of ‘The Bone Bearer’ in the mail. It came to me all the way from America where the books are already available from Amazon. The NZ printer isn’t done yet with the books so I have had to endure people on Facebook posting pics of themselves with THEIR paperback copies of MY book when I hadn’t even gotten my hands on a copy yet. BUT, today I got my book and it was beautiful. And I was super excited. Im now the author of six books but I gotta tell you, the buzz of getting your new book in your hands never goes away. I don’t scream as loud and I don’t dance all over the house – which the children greatly appreciate, but otherwise, I’m pretty celebratory!

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And then I was a little tearful because its kind of the end of Daniel and Leila’s great love story which has taken me over two years to tell. And I thought about all the wonderful people who have helped me on this journey and supported these books and gone out of their way to share them and take them to the universe…and I wanted to tell you all how grateful I am for you. For your enthusiasm and willingness to embrace a story from a little island in the South Pacific. You’re kickbutt awesome. Thank you.

To celebrate FINALLY getting my book…I’m giving away TEN print copies of ‘The Bone Bearer’. This giveaway is open to the universe and to enter – tell us WHO your favourite character is in the Telesa Series and WHY. Please also tell us where in the universe you live and where/how you first found out about the Telesa Series.