Sport 38: Winter 2010
Kuki the Krazy Kea…
My first real success was Kuki the Krazy Kea. For a while, i.e. in development stage, after the usual treatment and page-dimensioning processes, it was Kurly the Kooky Kea, but I was never convinced that would catch on and sales have proved me right. That bird! You could say he gave me my start in life. Yes, KKK as I call him went down very well, aside from the school teacher complaints. So, you know—all good.
Then in the early 90s Jack Lasenby brought out Charlie the Cheeky Kea and it was all over for Kuki.
So I wrote poems for a while.
After that I burst back onto the kidzlit scene with a YA number. Or it could have been a cross-over work, it was certainly read by several adults of my acquaintance. That was The Rugby Girls. The stuff those girls got up to! Then I did a picture book, Robert the Rugby Rugrat, with some pictures that looked as if they might be photographs.
Then I rewrote some Rider Haggard novels with many sex scenes inserted and made a lot of money.
Then I thought I would hang out with Margaret Mahy down near Christchurch, but that came to nothing. I had never used a public library in my life, all I knew was Enid Blyton, and MM as I call her was totally unimpressed by my new-found wealth, so we really had nothing to talk about; and to be honest there were just too many aspiring or minor children's writers around the place—crowds of them digging her garden, doing her washing, demanding endorsements, dressing up as pirates. I thought I would go and try Joy Cowley, but I page 281 got lost in the Marlborough Sounds. The outboard motor just cut out. Anyway, I heard later that she was already spoken for. By an ex priest! So I gave up and went back to Timaru. I almost met Jack Lasenby at a festival in Christchurch but got sick of standing in the signing queue. Kate De Goldi did not answer my letters.
One day a very fat man went by on a skateboard. He did that leaping thing that people do. Well, that gave me an idea or two. Fresh material is everywhere.
Skinky the Skateboarding Skunk!
Or should that be Skanky, I wondered? Answer: It depends on the market.
Stanley the Stubborn Stoat.
Porky the Podgy Pukeko.
Tui the Tempestuous Tui.
Anyway, I changed my name to Tane Thomson and sales rocketed.
I moved on to Wanda the Wonky Weta. Then I did some yoga classes, just to meet people, after which I wrote Downward Dog, the less said of which the better.
Except . . . big hit?
You bet. Big hit.
About this time I started having my invisibility dreams, and I wrote a sad story called The Last Huia, which had the whole nation in tears. At first it was about Henry the Hopeless Huia, but one day I was struck by a melancholy thought, and out it just poured, the whole tragedy of loss.page 282
I wrote a story about children who had a pirate party only a real pirate came along and made them all walk the plank. Things were happy in the end, though.
Then I had the big success with The Hairy Plane which went around the world. He flew everywhere, with his friend the Dandy Lion, having adventures. South Pole, North Pole, the parched Sahara Desert. This made me very wealthy, of course, though I believe I wear my wealth, like my success, lightly.
The conference on my work was interesting—flattering, of course, especially the man from Canterbury University who did a Lacanian analysis of Kuki the Krazy Kea, which referred to an earlier study of my story by Patrick Evans that I had never even heard of!
Next came Tanya the Two Timing Tui, which certainly sorted Tanya out. What a bitch. I had to have another invisibility dream.
But the conference gave me new confidence. I wrote letters to Elizabeth Knox, but she didn't answer a single one of them. I considered going round to her house.
Then my musical Erewhon became a world-wide hit.
Everything went backwards.
I mean, why don't you all fuck off.