I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Hazel Menehira for a chat over a coffee at Strait on the Beach. This lovely little Holloway’s beach cafe, north of Cairns, is fringed with shady coconut palms and overlooks the Coral sea. We chatted to the gentle sounds of waves lapping the shore, Rainbow Lorikeets added their own chatter in the balmy breezes. It truly is a tropical paradise.
Coffee and Promite on toast for Hazel as promised but I had to indulge in a large slice of chocolate cake. A day isn’t complete without coffee and chocolate.
Hazel told me she is currently working on her memoir which is to be launched in celebration of her 80th birthday in July 2013. I can recall Hazel’s 75th birthday celebrations and find it so hard to believe that five years have passed. Hazel is a prolific writer in many genres so I imagine this memoir will be fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading it.
Hazel is quietly thrilled by some recent successes which include: several book reviews, commissioned N.Z.service club book Kowhai Park a Wanganui Community Success Story and companion Kowhai Park is Kool poetry book for children. Hazel has brought the poetry book with her. It’s beautifully illustrated with photographs taken in the park and Hazel’s poetry is a joyful celebration of fun. Check out Hazel’s latest Kindle publication at: Hot Poems for Kool Kids: Hazel Menehira
Moving onto best moment as a writer so far Hazel tells me it was the launch and international media response 2009 to Three Dramatic Decades-Wanganui Four Seasons Professional Theatre 1970-2000 a commissioned history. Hazel has a background in journalism and theatre particularly Children’s theatre and I’m sure all the highs and lows of her life as a theatre practitioner will be included in her memoir.
Talking about lows Hazel goes on to express her worst moments as a writer. She says they are not moments but DAYS of frustration. “Coming to grips with and continually adapting to new technology since my first electric typewriter became obsolete is such a challenge.”
As we were coming to the end of our chat, reaching the dregs in our cups I asked Hazel what advice she would give to an aspiring writer. She had this to say, “Read the masters of literature (all genres). Learn good writing rules before you break them. Be discerning about all feedback… listen to all, consider all, including editors, publishers, but accept only what works for you. Write daily.”
My final question – why do you write? Elicited this response; “Because I was born to. It’s what I do.”
It was a lovely coffee break in a wonderful setting with a local writer who, even at age eighty (almost), writes daily and is always involved in a project.
I first met Hazel when she launched her book Snowbird Collectables in 2006. Hazel had been asked to review my first book The Duck with no Quack – her kind words were definitely influential in my early days as a writer. She instilled belief in myself as a writer and that is something I will always treasure.
So thank you Hazel for your time and wise words.