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I’m torn. I like classical books — I would list some names, but I also like to be liked, not discarded into irrelevance by the exhibition of insufferable pretentiousness. The opposite of a classic is an amateur collection of mixed-form creative works. Or, at least, they’re not the same. So, having read Mimicry 2, said collection “of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, comedy, music, art, photography and design by young New Zealand artists,” I will try hard to be insufferably even-handed in my review.
Every piece in this journal made me feel / think things. Therefore, I first conclude: this is art. This is not some rushed high school nonsense. Each piece was thoughtfully crafted and evocative, because they were personal — like the events of Jaws: The Revenge… “this time it’s personal”… you get it. Here’s the proof: Claudia Jardine’s poetic recollection of the time she was informed “your cervix is iron.” Or Mia Gaudin’s admission, remembered vividly in the beautiful Canadian wild, that her mother cried. Or Matafanua Tamatoa’s “brown hands working big machines,” and it’s sad and it’s family and it’s simple.
But the key point is that, despite the risks inherent in a journal like this — the self-conscious over-writing; the adjectives as far as the bright, clear, sea-green eye can see; the insanely popular use of Second Person (stop it… looking at you, hipsters); the free form structure that you can’t be sure is knowingly breaking the rules, or not knowing the rules to begin with; the inevitable inconclusiveness of liberal writing — I still saw moments of pure, perfect talent that gave it all meaning. Like Mikee Sto Domingo’s line: “For a moment, as she tucked a lock of her burgundy hair behind an ear to reveal the round slope of her jaw, I felt that she was pretty.” Now, I’m just an amateur reviewer, too. But that line caught hold of something. To everybody: write, and continue to write. And read this collection, if you have time on top of the seventeen textbooks you have to read by next week for a class whose summary online you didn’t “fully get.”
There will be a reading of Mimicry 2 on Friday, March 17, at 12.30pm at VicBooks.