Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: “Glory! Glory! There’s the salt!”

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  • richard,

    One amusing fact -- The Catalogue of the Universe is also THIS book http://www.abebooks.com/CATALOG-UNIVERSE-MURDIN-Crown-Publishers/1363595292/bd

    Mahy must have liked it enough to inject it into her own book (and borrow the title). Any self-respecting geeky young astronomer in Christchurch would have owned both. And the luckiest geeky astronomer of all got to have his Angela, as well :-)

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6,

    Lovely, lovely piece, thank you Jolisa. 'Every damn time', as you say. Glad it isn't only me blink, blink, blinking at that point in the story. A deep breath and a bit of a pretend cough...and back into it again.

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    A beautifully written tribute. So true. Thank you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 170 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to richard,

    I melt.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Tears, tears, tears. God, how I have missed your blogs.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Laura Vincent,

    Terrifically written, Jolisa. Made me remember things I'd forgotten, and now I want to rush to the library to revisit all these books - although I guess several others might have beaten me to it. I was a suspicious child (and have become a naive adult, haha) and I always resented it when something was, as you say, written down to children - which is why I loved Mahy's books. Exciting, challenging, and making the place I grew up in seem more full of possibilities and enchantment.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Thank you Jolisa. Enduring gratitude Margaret.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/margaretmahy

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    That's three times in two days I've cried at work. So beautiful.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I just cried reading the final section, Jolisa. You reminded me that The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate works as it does because the parent reader internalises not only the words but the ideas they embody. I'd forgotten, you know?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    She knows she’s inherited this beauty from her unknown father, about whom her eccentric single mother won’t speak

    I also love the way many of her stories have this gorgeous subtext in celebrating diversity, eccentricity and people on the fringes, overturning stereotypes.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hey, Dad of Boys Whose Father IS a Pirate -- I know. It's like you look up from the book and someone's quietly given you a tattoo of a sailing ship while you were reading.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Oh man, did we *all* cry reading this post? Hard out.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    I also love the way many of her stories have this gorgeous subtext in celebrating diversity, eccentricity and people on the fringes, overturning stereotypes.

    Absolutely, Carol - and even the "normal" families aren't particularly normal (Tycho's family a splendid example). As Hilary S was saying (on Twitter? on Craig's thread?) Mahy humanised solo parents, in particular. But also any sort of off-the-beaten-path life.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Everyone, quick, grab another box of tissues and head over to Elizabeth Knox’s blog for more powerful tribute, from one who knows the magic inside and out!

    (Midnight last night must have been Mahy-time on the internet!)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Tim Michie,

    Thank you Jolisa. Enduring gratitude Margaret.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/margaretmahy

    Great link! And we should all dash over and watch this too. Tattoos, porridge, lions, hard hard work… and a fascinating disagreement about the ending of The Lion in the Meadow.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah,

    Oh Jolisa! Just beautiful. And I am fairly sure the page that floors you in After the War is the one that floors me also. With a 15 year old in the house, I am leaving the re-reading of those marvellous YA novels till later on - remembering how important it is to discover these things for oneself, as opposed to having your mother tell you that you must read this book.But I'm rapturously re-reading The Librarian and the Robbers aloud to the smaller fry. The joy in the language, the wonderful women Mahy wrote, who take no crap and can fix the world. Serena Laburnum may just be up there with Flora Poste for me as a bossy, bluestocking role model with ridiculously long hair and a distinctive fashion sense - courtesy of the Blake illustrations.

    And I love The Catalogue of the Universe story - what a wonderful foundational myth for your family ...

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Laura Vincent,

    I was a suspicious child (and have become a naive adult, haha)

    That strikes me as a perfectly excellent evolution, beautifully described! I'm a bit the same. The world only gets bigger and more unfathomable, eh?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Tamsin6,

    A deep breath and a bit of a pretend cough…and back into it again.

    We should start a support group :-) Picture books are great - it's always good to be able to point to the illustrations while you go "ahem" and get it back together. Whereas the other night I lost it while reading Great Expectations (Pip leaves the village and never looks back, waaaaaaugh, and then keeps thinking he'll hop down from the coach at the next stop, or the next, or the next, but doesn't, WAAAAAAAUGH), and there was nowhere to hide!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I've missed them too. No shortage of things to say; I've just been waiting for my voice to return. Sometimes it takes a gentle whack on the head with a book, y'know?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Yes! Jolisa and Jackie - I thought "Yay! she's written something!" Wonderful...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    I am fairly sure the page that floors you in After the War is the one that floors me also

    I once showed the book to a friend, and then glanced over to see her bawling. Oh, man. What I love about that book is the huge background arc of history, and the relentless pace of those overlapping single life-spans. Superb.

    And I love The Catalogue of the Universe story – what a wonderful foundational myth for your family …

    Thank you. I'm not sure I'm fully Angela (too nerdy and book-learny myself, plus could never pull off the tiny-shorts-transparent-blouse look; more of a Tricksters Harry), but it's always a joy to imagine that I could be.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Jolisa,

    Midnight last night must have been Mahy-time on the internet

    The Midnight People? MM would have approved!

    We need a new adjective - an equivalent of Dickensian or Shakesperian - Mahian? That one sounds a bit like an entry on the geological timescale.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Danielle,

    Oh man, did we *all* cry reading this post? Hard out.

    Yep. First time I've actually cried over this. Previously it was just all a bit too big for tears.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Attachment

    Much loved, to within an inch of their existence. We would normally have 'recycled' books that had been consumed to this extent, but couldn't part with these.

    Dickensian or Shakesperian - Mahian?

    Mahyem? I just wrote 'lost in the Mahyem' elsewhere in regards to the many wonderful tributes being written about MM.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2448 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to JacksonP,

    Mahyem is fabulous. Kind of a synonym of rumbustification. Love your photo too.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

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