Love NZ

Today we were driving home from town and some kids were playing rugby on a field and their ball flew off to the sidewalk.

A little old lady walking there, in a floppy fabric sunhat, picked it up, switched her cane from her right hand to her left and used her right to drop the ball into an astonishingly perfect dropkick back to the kids.

It was the best.

Then she switched her cane back and kept walking.

#hopelives #loveNewZealand

Christchurch. <3

I held myself together till I got home. Now I am crying and shaking and furious.

How DARE THEY come here to my place and fuck with MY PEOPLE. How dare they bring their toxic ideology to my home and hurt MY PEOPLE??

I don’t even care if they were born here and I wasn’t. I knew we had shitty racists, because shitty racists are everywhere. I didn’t know we had THIS.

I am furious.

And don’t you dare tell me to calm down.

And don’t you dare defend them.

Not here. Not in my fucking backyard.

You. Are. Not. Welcome. Here.

With your hate and your bullshit.

You know who is?

Literally everyone else.

This is not coherent but I’m so angry. I hope you know what I’m trying to say.

Ko-fi

Life is kinda kicking my ass at the moment. Sometimes it feels like I am being the whole internet’s Mom. It’s wonderful, but it’s exhausting, and it takes a lot of energy.
I would do this shit for free, happily, if I never had to actually worry about bills. But alas, bills are real. So.
If you’d like to buy me a virtual coffee, this is a good way to support any or all of my projects, and keep me caffeinated and slightly less stressed. 

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Teaching consent

*kid pats my bottom*
J: No, dude, it’s not okay to touch people’s bottoms without permission. And mostly, it’s not really even okay to ask permission.
C: Awww okay sorry.
J: Maybe one day you’ll have a girlfriend or a boyfriend and they will be okay with you touching their bum. But even then you’ll have to check.
C: Maybe I’ll have a wife.
J: Maybe you will. And she might let you touch her bum. But you’d still need to check because it’s her bum, so she’s in charge of it, just like you’re in charge of yours.
Touching bums is only okay in very specific circumstances. For now, it’s best to just not.
C: Okay. Hey, if I’m in charge of my bum, that means I’m in charge of my FARTS!

And that, ladies and gents, is how you teach consent. It’s really not difficult.
Also, when you’re nearly-8, everything comes back to farts. 😂😂

Zodiac Tales

I’m so thrilled to be working on a project with Min Minn, a talented artist who also happens to be one of my best friends. Those of you in the Critterverse may have spotted some of her art in the art reel and the art book.  I am so proud of her, and very excited that she has joined the Raven for our Illuminated Manuscript project.

We’ve collected 12 stories based loosely on the signs of the zodiac, and once a month will be releasing one of them, illustrated by Min in a kind of modern illuminated manuscript style. If you choose the physical one, it will arrive at your postbox in a beautiful sealed scroll.

Just a little bit of magic, once a month.

Come join us. 

01 (TEASER) [Illuminated + Dropcap] [Coloured] Bloodstone Delivery - Aries - Sierra July

Project Update

I try to get these up every six months or so so that those of you who like to keep track of what I am up to can do so from one place.

Wolfenoot

So, about five months ago, this little thing called Wolfenoot came into being. If you don’t know about it, the short version is that I posted on social media about a holiday my kid had invented and it turned into a movement.

You can read more about it on the Wolfenoot website.

We also have a twitter account, a facebook page, and three facebook groups: one general group, one for crafters and fundraisers and one for memorials of animals that people have lost.

We have a RedBubble Store, and a CafePress Store (both very much still being built) and we have a book that has just gone to print and can be preordered. ALL the merch benefits charities.

Oh, and a podcast.

It has been an INSANE five months, and there is a lot more to come.

If you would like to support Wolfenoot, following us on any or all of those platforms would be great, but you can also throw a few dollars a month into our Patreon and get some patron only bits and pieces and help me keep this thing alive.

The Patchwork Raven

We threw the Raven behind Wolfenoot to publish “The Wolfenoot Story“, which has just gone to print.

We also finally got our redesign of “Allusions of Innocence” up for sale. 

We have also just launched a Raven Patreon, where you can subscribe to get art postcards or illuminated story manuscripts in your postbox (or inbox if physical stuff isn’t your jam) every month.

01 (TEASER) [Illuminated + Dropcap] [Coloured] Bloodstone Delivery - Aries - Sierra July.png

Here’s a wee teaser of the art from the first manuscript.

We’re working with twelve writers and the astonishingly talented Min Minn to make some really beautiful things. As someone who has always had a bit of a thing for illuminated manuscripts, making these modern versions makes me very happy.

Click through for more information.

 

You can, of course, also still buy “Tales for Tired Tykes” and “Twelve Days” from our website.

The Critterverse

I am still running Critter Gifting, which is an astonishing community of Critters from around the world who send each other wonderful things. We are working on creating a website, and we have a Twitter account. There are exciting things in store for the Critter Gifting world. 🙂

Jax, the writer and editor

Sometimes I try to remember that before I was a crazy juggling administrative guru, I was also a writer and editor.

I still write stories here, from time to time, for the people who drop tips in my jar.

I also have an advice column, complete with stories about my mistakes and some strong language. 😉 It’s a bit sporadic, but if you have anything you’d like to ask me, this is where to do it.

You can also follow me on Facebook (my profile is mostly public these days) or on my “official page”, or on Twitter.

MeBooks

I run the Facebook page for meBooks, which is mostly nerdy stuff about books and Kiwi publishing, but we also have a lot of historical fiction and non-fiction, mostly New Zealand historical texts. Some of it is fascinating. When I find time, I read meBooks books and talk about them on the meBooks website. I’ve read a lot of things I would not normally have read. It’s pretty great.

 

As you can see, I have a lot on my plate! This doesn’t even count my actual job (at the Hamilton Zoo) or my parenting, or my budding pole-dancing hobby. Life is nuts. But if you’d like to support me by following or buying or subscribing to any of the things in this multitude of links, that would be so wonderful.

I thank you and love you all. ❤

Ask Jax Anything (Part 14)

Learn from my Motherfucking Mistakes (An Occasional Series)

Got a question for me? Ask it here. I see only what you put in the textbox, so it can be totally anonymous.

My 6 year old doesn’t enjoy reading to the point he is way behind national standard. Any ideas on how we can help him or get him to enjoy it more? We already go to the library and let him choose books.

This is a hard one for me because the only real reference point I have is my own kid, and it has never been hard to get him to read.

I guess the real trick is to figure out what he’s into so that the reading itself is secondary. Does he love dinosaurs? Find books about dinosaurs and read them with him. Get him to tell you the names. Be amazed and appreciative when he knows them. Then knowing things becomes cool and books are a good way to know things.

Does he love Minecraft? There are loads of Minecraft books, and I credit the “Diary of a Minecraft Zombie” for getting my son into chapter books so fast. He wanted to read the stories and I didn’t, so he just did it himself.

A lot of bookish people foist their favourites on their kids (I have been guilty of this) or worry about books being “literary” or “worthy”. But sometimes what a kid wants is to read every single damn Geronimo Stilton book in a row or devour Marvel comic book spinoffs. Here is my mantra to stop myself being snobby: Whatever a kid is reading is still reading. If all he wants to read is The Guiness Book of Records, let him. If all he wants to read is comic books, let him. If he only wants to read books full of very terrible jokes that he then insists on reading out loud to you, let him.

I guess the other thing is to read with him. I have read the kid a story (or part of a book) every single night of his life when he’s been with me. It’s a ritual. It’s an opportunity for us to snuggle up and share a tale. Sometimes I only read a page or two; sometimes I read a whole chapter. But there is always something.

If your kid (like mine) hates to go to sleep, give him an extra 10-20 minutes at bedtime IF HE IS READING. My kid LOVED it when I made this rule, but then he loves reading.

I guess the thing is there is no simple answer, and at the end of the day, maybe he just isn’t a reader. But I think the trick is maybe to figure out what his book gateway drug is. Does he dig reference books he can just browse through? Maybe the reading itself is hard and something like The Guinness Book of Records would work because he can dip in as he wishes. Comic books are good for this too, and there really are some good ones. If all that fails try to make reading with you a fun and awesome thing to do. That may then translate.

I have no idea if any of this will help, but I hope something does! Be gentle on him and yourself. Maybe he’s anxious because everyone around him is making a huge deal out of it? (I don’t know if that’s happening, but if it is it may be giving him a mental block about it.)  Try to make it less “chore” and more “fun”.

I hope something in this post helps. Best of luck. ❤

 

This is the last question in my list, so if you have anything you’d like to ask me, now would be a great time!!

Monkeys

Yesterday I lay on my back and thought, “Holy crap, I never get enough done.”

I feel like a slacker. I feel lazy. I feel like I *could* do more, so I *should* do more. I nap too much. I play too many games on my phone. I spend too much time on social media.

I told some of this to Adam. Then I said, “The stupid thing is that a lot of people probably wonder how I get so much done. And here I am telling myself I am not doing enough.”

He gave me that look he gives me when I’m being sarcastic but I’m also (accidentally) right. “Yes. They do.”

And then I just think: Good gods, imagine what I could do if I wasn’t lazy.

Ah depression. You goddamn asscactus. We’re doing fine. Hush your monkey chittering.

Pole Dancing

Let me tell you about pole dancing.

Once a week, I take my almost 40-year-old body to a studio in Frankton to learn how to pole dance. It is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to learn. I am a cerebral girl. Before I started this, I hadn’t danced in 15 years. I am finding muscles I forgot I had. I am getting stronger. But holy shit it is HARD.

It is also one of the most empowering things I have ever done. It is an incredibly supportive environment of (mostly) women wearing almost nothing (skin grip is the best grip) in all their variety of shapes and sizes because what their bodies LOOK like is nowhere near as important as what they can DO. And those of us who can’t do as easily as the others get nothing but love and encouragement.

Recently I got taught to hula hoop by a woman who is at least ten years, maybe 15, younger than me. I have never been able to hula hoop. I am still not awesome, but I can keep the hoop up now.

My pole instructor is becoming a dear friend.

When I tell people I am learning pole, at least half the time I get raised eyebrows and laughter. And I smile sweetly and say, “It’s incredible. I’m getting so STRONG. It’s the most fun I have ever had getting fit. Way better than the gym. It’s frikkin’ HARD. But I love it.”

I have learned more self-respect hanging upside down half-naked from a pole with these extraordinary women than I ever did following the rules.

Do what you want. Bollocks to the haters. 

This kid

Forgive me, but I am about to brag about my child.

Since Wolfenoot happened I have watched my feckless typical 7 year old begin to develop a work ethic that threatens to rival mine. He sits down and does pictures to go in the letters without being prompted. He hassles me to get podcast episodes done and uploaded. The true test will be when he has to sign 100 books in a couple of weeks, but he is prepared for that.

“I know it’s going to be hard work, Mom, but sometimes, when you get famous, it means you have to work hard.” 😂😂😂 – my jaded little internet celeb. 

It’s just neat watching him thrive under the added responsibility. Ask him to tidy his room and he whinges and groans like any normal kid, but if I say “I need you to do a Wolfenoot picture please” he gets this serious look on his face and goes “Oh yeah, I need to do that.” And goes and does it.

Sometimes he frustrates the living crap out of me, but honestly, more and more, I look at the human this little guy is becoming and I am so damned proud of him.