Keri Hulme

OH MY GOD. I spent the whole day with Keri Hulme, and it was fantabulous.

I arrived a-tremblin’ at 2:00 and she bellows, “WHO IS IT??” and I squeak back, “Holly.” I enter the squatty tower of books and she sits behind her big, well-organized desk and for an hour I’m basically tested. She leans back, puffing a pipe, and then another, and telling me to help myself to coffee and goat’s milk.

Her coffee and tobacco are suspended in the air to keep them from the occasional invasion of rats. Each of her books in progress reside in funny back packs behind her desk. This is because she lives in an earthquake-prone place, says she. Pick up and run. There are fish and snails and books books books everywhere and we talk of mothers and fishing, local politics and commercial fishing and I desperately wish that I had a better memory.

The crew is standing at the ready a couple hundred yards away as Keri is “looking me in the eye,” as Gaylene put it. I think I said a few things right. Namely, that I had no agenda, was not after sound bites, and wanted the culture to unfold in the film. I squinch up the courage to say, “It was unclear from your fax whether or not you’re up for being interviewed,” and she says a “yes.” We chat for nearly two hours and she is funny, warm and brilliant with a self-deprecating and slightly wicked sense of humor.

She lives in Okarito, a town of 25. The republic of Okarito has a flag and an ethos. Keri and pals made it up.

When Keri consents to let the crew in and I finally go out to get them, there are only white herons. The crew is GONE. Fishin’. Well on a boat anyway. I about shit but Keri is graceful and patient and they finally come back.

Her bathroom has the Treaty of Waitangi on the door, she has 7,000 books upstairs, her fishing library is in her bedroom, as is mosquito netting. She has a little gun for shooting rats, a machete, and apparently some other guns “properly locked up.” We talked about trouts faking orgasms (in the paper yesterday) and Muir dropping out of the sky onto people’s heads, and intellectual risks.

I pray the interview is framed all right. If so, we got a show.

Destinations: New Zealand

Finally, Keri

Measuring Up

by Holly

our web editrix extracted my personal journal from me upon returning from the shoots. so herewith, are the ramblings of an often very tired whiney git. unfortunately she took out all the sexual exploits and most of the minor felonies.

Editor’s note: The missing excerpts from this journal by Divas’ director & creative heavy Holly Morris are available for a modest fee.

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