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Keri Hulme

  • You need eyes like an archerfish, able to see what happens on two planes at once. One set for watching the hands [signing], and the other for watching whatever it is he mouths.

  • Through poverty, godhunger, the family debacle, I kept a sense of worth. I could limn and paint like no-one else in this human-wounded land: I was worth the while of living. Now my skill is dead. I should be.

  • It's the possibility that when you're dead you might still go on hurting that bothers me.

  • All her feelings are dulled these days, as though life is already going, slowly leaking out and ebbing away. Maybe it will make my dying that much easier ... when I come to die, there will be little left to die. I'm already a ghost with set wings, stalking tombstone territory.

  • Another real thing! I am not dead yet! I can still call forth a piece of soul and set it down in colour, fixed forever ...

  • I have faced Death. I have been caught in the wild weed tangles of Her hair, seen the gleam of her jade eyes. I will go when it is time — no choice! — but now I want life.

  • It's been a rare year, o paper soul, and against all the preceding bitterness and bile, this one shining scrawl ... maybe I should fold you away to pull you out again in a decade, see whether the flowering that now seems promised, came; see whether it was untimely frostbit, or died without fruit, because you chart the real deeps of me. No: I hold you a pelorus, a flexing mirror, strange quarters for the wind of God.

  • There is a time, when passing through a light, that you walk in your own shadow.

  • The company you keep at death is, of all things, most dependent on chance.

Keri Hulme, Maori/New Zealand writer