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Writing Wellington: Twenty Years of Victoria University Writing Fellows


We meet in a small interview room. When Pauline arrives she is carrying an electric jug, milk, a mug for each of us, coffee and her own smokes. One day she comes empty-handed. It's a new guard, doesn't believe her story, confiscated her things—'Arsehole,' snorts Pauline, 'having a bad day, and takes it out on me—'

Sometimes we gossip. Like the time we'd both seen the film on TV showing murder victims dressing up to go and watch an execution. We agree we wouldn't want to live in America. 'It's just revenge,' she says. 'Can't see the point. You have to forgive—everyone does. I mean, am I going to go on for ever blaming my mother? or Bill, bastard as he was? I have to be responsible for myself, for what I've done.'

Other occasions come and go. At home I write to the woman I now know, the silent archetype who endures Pauline's sufferings.

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