The pros and cons of life as an iso­lated writer

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - OUT & ABOUT - DAVID JAMES

Writ­ers are sup­posed to hole them­selves up some­where far off and re­mote, right?

Sur­rounded by na­ture and the el­e­ments, in the mid­dle of nowhere, noth­ing to dis­turb their cre­ative scrib­bling.

Mar­ion Day would half agree, as she con­sid­ers for five-hour round trip to civil­i­sa­tion from her home in the outer Marl­bor­ough Sounds.

But liv­ing in a beau­ti­ful re­mote lo­ca­tion such as Clova Bay, in Pelorus Sound, had many pros and cons.

‘‘The pros are that iso­la­tion al­lows you to write un­in­ter­rupted,’’ Day says.

‘‘An­other plus is I am able to write in the nat­u­ral beauty of the Marl­bor­ough Sounds.

‘‘The cons are that be­cause I live so re­motely, the five-hour round trip makes it dif­fi­cult to join weekly writ­ers’ groups, at­tend fel­low au­thors’ book launches or writ­ing events.

‘‘That’s the lonely side of liv­ing out here. I think we are nat­u­rally so­cial an­i­mals, and I see a lot of de­pres­sion with other peo­ple who are re­mote out this way. It can be hard.’’

Day’s con­tri­bu­tion to chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture has seen her ‘highly com­mended’ in the En­ter­pris­ing Ru­ral Women Awards, which show­case the suc­cess of women op­er­at­ing busi­nesses in ru­ral lo­ca­tions. Sel­dom is a writer recog­nised. ‘‘I de­cided this year, why not try? Noth­ing ven­tured, noth­ing gained,’’ the 61-year-old says.

Writ­ing for nine years, Day has six pub­lished chil­dren’s books and two suc­cess­ful New Zealand bi­ogra­phies en­ti­tled In­jun Joe, The Leg­end of Smok­ing Joe Collins and Blood Broth­ers: The Ex­ploits of Steve and Chris Pod­jursky.

For Day, liv­ing re­motely means main­tain­ing a daily rou­tine of writ­ing and man­ag­ing her mas­sive gar­den.

‘‘In the morn­ing I jump out of bed, snatch a cup of tea and write, up to 2pm if pos­si­ble. Then it’s out­side into the gar­den for a cou­ple hours.

‘‘Then it’s back in­side to edit my day’s writ­ing. At night I try to watch some TV or read to rest my mind. I love read­ing and have a huge col­lec­tion of books on every sub­ject imag­in­able.’’

Day grew up on a dairy farm in the Bay of Plenty. When she told her part­ner in 2009 that she wanted to be­come a fa­mous writer they both laughed.

‘‘Af­ter all, I was a cat­tle and pig farmer,’’ Day says. ‘‘I woke up out of a dream al­most, and thought, ‘that’s what I want to do’. I only had sixth form high school. No train­ing at all. I had to learn, and make all the mis­takes by my­self.’’

Day says she plans to re­main in Clova Bay with her part­ner, de­spite the re­mote­ness, with two new books ex­pected in 2018; chil­dren’s book Skid­dies, and the fourth book in her na­ture se­ries The But­ter­fly and the Tui.

SUP­PLIED

Marl­bor­ough Sounds writer Mar­ion Day has been ‘highly com­mended’ in the En­ter­pris­ing Ru­ral Women Awards.

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