Friday, December 27, 2013


Name? Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely) 1950 Mercedes 300SL

Location? Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast New Zealand

How long have you been writing? Since 2007 in Australia - I was walking every day to exercise a broken ankle, and words started coming. I moved back to New Zealand in 2008 to help care for my demented mother, and used the time to study Creative Writing at university. Graduated with MA in 2011

Do you have a specific writing style? I use words a lot.

Do you write as a career? Yes - I have had many careers, sometimes overlapping, but this is the only one I have now. Apart from trying to be a publisher as well.

Do you write full-time? Yes, when I’m not reading.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? The first poem I had published. It was called For the Tuhoe and was published in Mana magazine here, Oct/Nov issue 2008. No publishing accomplishment since has felt as magical.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? To say something worthwhile.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? To say something worthwhile.

What projects of yours have been recently published? This is the last six weeks or so (copy/pasted from a poetry site)

A poem of mine in this Noir Erasure Anthology from Silver Birch Press

My CNF piece "A short stop in New York" (an excerpt from Looking for Kerouac) appeared in NY.underscore's issue #5, transportation

I'm proud to have two poems in the new, 20th Anniversary edition of 4th Floor. So many great NZ writers in here!

18th Calypso, Lorca's Duende for Five and Heathcliff's Final Night here in DM #75

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I’m in that horrible slough of despond between works. I just finished a long examination of Jean Genet’s writing, 100 poems or so. I think Hammer & Anvil Books are going to bring it out in Kindle next year. I want to attack Gertrude Stein now so I’m reading her and trying to find a way in.

Where can we find your work? I have an Author Page at Amazon here (some of those titles are anthologies with others) and you can read some published work online here

       How often do you write? Every day.

       How do you react to rejections? I feel rejected.

       How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I feel accepted.

       What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? I wouldn’t know, I doubt very much that I am sane!

       What is your favorite book? That is a really tough question. The only book that has been with me since I bought it, that I still read often, is Han Shan’s Poems from Cold Mountain.

       Who is your favorite author? That goes through fads - when I like an author I try to read all they wrote. At the moment it’s Joyce Carol Oates but it has been Paul Theroux, John Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky, Rumi, C P Snow ...endless list really.

        If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? Beatrice, because I want to see what Dante saw.

        What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Being lonely.

        What is your favorite word? Gemütlich (German for agreeable, congenial, pleasant). Either that or Schlagsahne (whipped cream) - I love the sounds of both of them.

        What makes you laugh? Foolishness.

      What makes you cry? Ignorance.

What is your preferred drink while you write? Tea - endless cups of single origin Ceylon black tea made in a teapot.

Beach or Mountains? I have both!

Cats or Dogs? None at the moment. It would mean committing to staying in New Zealand and I’m not sure I want to do that. I have had a lifetime of animal companions - and parrots - I really miss them. But a Burmese cat visits me every day and the garden trees are full of birds.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Stones.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Hendrix

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Shakespeare

     Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog: I’m in the process of setting one up for my new venture - Bench Press, publishing my Kindle books in print. but you can find me here

Other page(s) or profile(s):

      Books for sale and/or press

      Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals?

We don’t have any native animals! Native birds yes, many, and native lizards, but no native animals - although rats soon arrived on ships, and pigs escaped from ships etc. Possums from Australia and ferrets from wherever they came have been a huge problem here, decimating bird numbers. It’s still a beautiful country though.
New Zealand’s fishing, shooting, mountains? Where do I start? Fishing - we have a coastline of 15,000 kilometers, not much less than that of USA  at 20,000 km. We can usually fish safely even within the major city harbors, our waters are clean and we have a huge variety of fish! and of course shellfish and crustaceans - while Dad is fishing from the beach for snapper the kids are collecting mussels, pipis, oysters (if they’re lucky) or catching rock crabs to cook up in seawater over a driftwood fire. Magic.
Then of course, in late spring to early summer you go at dawn to the creek mouth with your nets, and catch whitebait. Toss them in flour and egg, and pan-fry for the most sublime essence of ocean!
There’s game fishing as well, in the Far North swordfish and sailfish if you’re good enough, and for freshwater the best sports fishing is in the south - arguably the best trout rivers in the world, some accessible only if you’re flown in by chopper

Shooting - well, we have no native animals, so all the sports shooting targets were imported by enthusiasts two hundred years ago. Some of them, like deer in the South Island, flourished and overran the back country. My father used to fly a small plane herding deer from the air into open pasture so shooters (who paid for the pleasure!) had a better show of getting a shot off. This vid was shot in mountains not far from where I live - many varieties of deer here, and culling is important. Also pigs - huge and dangerous - these two vids together give you some idea of the back country here.

and you can do all these activities without worrying about snakes - we don’t have any! No dangerous wildlife - unless you go looking for them - no snakes, and only one or two venomous spiders - outdoor paradise!

We eat mostly the same food as you do in the States - only not so much of it! lol. We eat a lot more fresh and unprocessed food here, so far, but no doubt we’ll go the easy way as well, in time. Here’s a look at some of our favs The most different I guess is the hangi, cooking food with the ground as an earth oven - though I know in the North-East of America, shellfish are cooked in sand in much the same way. We have our native kumera - much like your sweet potato, and other traditional Maori foods - but we also have many MacDonald’s and Starbucks.

New Zealand wine is rated amongst the world’s best, and many tourists come here just for food and wine tours New Zealand has many boutique beer breweries as well, and I can recommend Tuatara! Brewed close by, and my local pub has it on tap. The Pilsener is my fav, closely followed by the Hefe.

I’m totally spoiled, living a 40 minute train ride from the capital city shows and restaurants, yet in the intimacy of a small coastal village where artists and musicians gather. I walk each day along the beach and into Queen Elizabeth Park, where there is a memorial to the American Marines who were stationed here during WWII, training before their stint in the Pacific War theatre. Leon Uris was one of the marines, and wrote about Paekakariki in his first book Battle Cry.

Just offshore from me is Kapiti Island, once a stronghold of a local Maori war lord, Te Rauparaha, and now a sanctuary for birds. Endangered species are breeding here, and numbers are growing steadily.
So - picture me, this is the view from my window as I write. On the ridge top right is the road the marines called The Little Burma Road because they trained in full battle gear, running uphill, across the ridges and back down again to their camp.

Apart from my writing, and trying to get a publishing company on its feet, I also do work for Danse Macabre - I post a daily poem/story to and edit books etc for Hammer & Anvil Books, just generally try to be useful while I learn as much about publishing as I can.

Ah, my father’s Jaguar! Named in only one of my poems: from Weddings - shoes and dresses -

I’m in the wrong country for
Diane’s and Rex’s weddings. Photos
show them grown up, my mother
in matching shoes, gloves and hat

my father smaller. His white Jaguar
parked in the corner of a picture, bride
doll on the bonnet, satin ribbons trailing.
My nieces bumps in the brides’ gowns.

but it’s always there in the background of my life, along with his Tiger Moth, motorbike, the car he built for his kids to learn to drive in, the jet engine he built to control frost in orchards.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Catfish and the Ppigpenn Gang! I made myself sound like a right wanker. :(