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Artistic and literary distractions ...


Sculptor Iain Cheesman is responsible for hanging all of the art in my apartment. Who would know that hanging art is its own specialism? Everything in my collection is carefully coordinated. I would never hang anything myself now.

Cheesman's own work has the loosely co-ordinated whimsy that he brings to art-hanging. His sculptures investigate the intersection of time and space. His latest collection Signs of Earlier is a room seemingly left abandoned, the era of the room is undefined. It could belong to an earlier generation, from a simpler time.

The room is an internal encampment, with a collection of objects and amusements, objects crafted with unknown meaning and purpose. The conversation here traverses time rather than the immediacy of the present. There's a signpost, pencils pointing in all directions, where do we go, because isn't this the LAST stop? Where to from here?

Poison arrows break the surface somewhere over the rainbow. The poison arrow pierces my rainbow heart. Who killed the bird with the rainbow arrow? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

There's power in the rainbow arrow!

Iain Cheesman Signs of Earlier shows as part of a group exhibition Exodus at the The Vivian gallery in Matakana until 18 March



Reading from my new short story collection Global Roaming at the LGBTQI literary festival samesamebutdifferent last week was a traumatising experience. Especially an excerpt from a story titled A FADED GLORY. As I read I realised that I am Devon with the new coat. I have what I want but I am very self-conscious and worried. When I read the next time, I will take a tissue.

Abigail gave Devon the coat with the collar at high tea in the lobby of a gorgeous period hotel in downtown Chicago. It's like a scene from a Scorsese film, men in pinstriped suits and fedoras, smoking cigars, talking through the sides of their mouths. Abigail watches Devon unwrap her gift as she smokes a cigarette through a long black cigarette holder, with silver detailing. She has tiny creases around her mouth, which her lipstick bleeds into ever so slightly. Devon has always loved this detail of his mother's visage.

"It's beautiful," Abigail says of the jacket once Devon has it on. "It has room for you to grow into it as well. You will wear it for the next couple of years."

Abigail chortles as she lifts her head towards the ceiling and exhales a plume of cigarette smoke.

"Your father was elegant too, always impeccably dressed. His shirts had to be sent out for dry-cleaning and pressing. They had those detachable collars, stiff as a board, they must have been torture to wear. So you are like both your mother and your father sweetheart."

Devon is anxious as he tries the coat on, he desperately wants to pee, he fusses with the buttons as Abigail touches his shoulder, motioning him to turn around so that she can see the coat from behind.

"Darling don't be afraid," Abigail coos, "I am here. You look gorgeous."

"But Mummy I don't like the buttons."

"We can change them then, honestly you look gorgeous honey."

Abigail pulls Devon to her, he can smell alcohol and cigarettes. Devon leans into her bosom, which rises and with her breath. He can hear Abigail's heartbeat and smell traces of her cologne through her smoky scent.

2018: the year of the child

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