Lynn Jenner lives in Raumati on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Lynn specialises in writing creative non-fiction, memoir, literary essays and poetry. Lynn’s most recent book, Lost and Gone Away, was a non-fiction finalist in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in 2016. Her first book, Dear Sweet Harry, won the New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book of Poetry prize in 2011. Lynn has a PhD in creative writing and teaches creative writing. She has taught poetry and memoir, supervised and mentored undergraduate and post-graduate writing students and beginning writers not associated with any institution. Lynn has examined creative writing Masters projects, written reader’s reports for publishers, advised writers on manuscript assembly and published research about how the teaching of creative writing works. Lynn’s feedback is supportive and encouraging and also honest. She is currently writing a collection of essays and poems about her interest in the New Zealand poet, editor and philanthropist, Charles Brasch. At the same time she is writing a collection of essays and poems about the construction of the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway, which passes through and over Raumati. These may or may not be parts of the same book.
A greeting from Lynn
In Aotearoa New Zealand, it is the custom to greet people by naming the mountain near your home, your river, your tribe, your father and your mother. Such a greeting tells you who is speaking. I’m a mischling, a born-here Kiwi Jew, and quite a bit Irish and Scottish into the bargain. Mischlings don’t have mountains and rivers, although someone told me the other day that you can ask a mountain to adopt you. What if it said no? From my house, in Raumati, I can see two Pohutakawa and one Puriri which have all been here longer than any part of my family.
What I do now
I write to find out about things that seem to matter.
Mostly I find books and facts in my excavations. Books are my listening and viewing devices, my undersea cables, my hearing aids, my best friends in troubled times and my weapon of choice. I am not easily cowed by their origins or their methods, even when these are august. I look them straight in the eye and take them on if I think they are wrong and I mess about with them quite a bit. . . .
(From Lost and Gone Away)
Facts make astounding patterns when placed side by side, and are, in addition, much less self-conscious than anything writers imagine. Facts reek of human purposes. . . Sometimes, rising up from a pile of facts or a book, and hovering over it, is something I think of as a moment of knowledge…