Writing | Jillian Sullivan - Part 2
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cycling central otago day 6 jillian

Cycling Central Otago – Day 6: Blue Skies

This morning the frost was so severe the pond froze. Small birds skittered on the surface and the resident paradise ducks were out pecking in the frozen grass. It‘s warm in the sun on the verandah, and lulled by that, I head off for a bike ride minus the second jacket, second pair of gloves […]

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cycling central otago day 5

Cycling Central Otago – Day 5: Distance

Snow is forecast down to 600 metres this afternoon. We’re at 540 metres so the hills around the valley will most likely get a good dusting. In preparation I put on two pairs of gloves and push a folded newspaper down the front of my jacket for wind chill. There’s a slight breeze. Nothing like […]

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cycling central otago day 4 sunset

Cycling Central Otago – Day 4: Sunset

It’s a fine line – to exercise or not. Outside, the sun lowering, the bank of clouds dulling the light, the day almost over. Yet at the computer, such lethargy inside it seems a bike ride is the only cure. I don’t ring Bartali. If we go together it’s a much tougher ride and I’m […]

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cycling otago day 3

Cycling Central Otago – Day 3: Sunshine

A fine, warm day, for this time in winter, and the tussocks in my garden beginning to stir with the breeze. “Where do you want to ride?” Bartali asks. “Up Lockhart’s Hill and back,” I say, without any thought to wind direction. On the slight uphill rise to the top of the valley the wind […]

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Cycling Central Otago nz river

Cycling Central Otago – Day 2: The Bridge

Less than three hours of sleep for me after nightshift and Bobet rings me. “Do you want to come out on the bike for half an hour?” “I thought you’d already been on the bike?” “I’ve come back to see if you want to come out.” Hard to say no to that dedication. Even without […]

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Feeding the Page

A guest blog I wrote for Headland journal, in the midst of mud-making, helped me feel better about all the other things a writer needs to get done as well as writing… That’s one of the best things about being a writer – everything feeds the page: remorse, trout, my middle of the night hospital […]

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jillian sullivan's garden

A Writers Welcome to 2015

Welcome 2015: The wildflowers are out – it must be summer. And this morning snow on Mt Ida. This must be Central Otago, the Ida Valley, where it can snow in summer and reach 40 degrees C the next week. I didn’t stay up till midnight to see the New Year in and instead woke […]

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The Delaware River in Pennsylvania

Make Your Writing Stronger: Details

The right, imaginative and clear use of details in a book, to me, is the single most important way a writer can improve their writing. What makes a book become real to a reader, what transports them from the reality of their own life to the world of the book, are details. And the way […]

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The Power of Seven – or of Just Keeping Going

I wrote and sent away seven short stories before my first story was published (Scaredy Cat, in New Zealand School Journals). My first novel took me seven years to write. (I had four small children, no family nearby and no childcare in those days. It was a long process!) I went on to write seven […]

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sorting stones

Choosing Stones & Sorting Words

“Sorting words,” poet and neighbour Brian Turner said, “is like choosing stones; setting some aside, discarding some, placing others with care in the right place, to make something of craft and beauty that will last.” We talked about this business of word selection while cementing in the last selection of stones, collected in haste at sunset […]

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