Mansfield Questionnaire: Courtney Sina Meredith
Courtney Sina Meredith responds to our slightly irreverent literary questionnaire, inspired by Katherine Mansfield.
Write a prelude to your life in one sentence.
God spoke to my mother, in Ponsonby of all places.
Would your father have accepted your plea for musical training?
He did, and then the universe went one better and gifted me with a jazz muso Dad 2.0
Do you speak French?
I know one song and the names of all the champagne I like. Does my love of French pastries count?
If you were to, at any stage, become a ghost who would you haunt?
If I was a kind of muse ghost with the ability to inspire, then I’d definitely give lots of people beautiful epiphanies. If I was more The Conjuring/ Emily Rose sort, then I’d get all Liam Neesom and haunt paedophiles, human traffickers and animal poachers.
Do you keep ‘great complaining notebooks’ a.k.a. journals?
I’ve kept journals since I was a child, at one point I had one with a lock and key – of course I lost the bloody key. Things changed once I started to travel, my journals became more like sidekicks, it was there job to remember everything – locations and numbers, dates and times, the colour of the carpet, the names of statues and so on. I like my journals to be factual but also majestic, that’s asking a lot of inanimate objects.
Garden parties. Yes or no?
Hell yes, with jugs of Pimm’s and platters stacked with cheeses and chutneys.
Where have you had the best time of your life?
Weekends in the garden with my grandmother Rita before she passed away, massive nights on K Rd with other artists – talking with our hands trying to solve world hunger and poverty before the bar closed, long summer days at Bethells beach, working on projects with my mum, singing with my dad, walking my dog around the Domain with my brothers.
Where have you had the worst time of your life?
Heartbroken and unemployed in London.
If you were to use a nom de plume, what would it be?
Something ridiculously hipster like V//
Virginia Woolf wrote ‘I was jealous of her writing — the only writing I have ever been jealous of.’ Who are you most jealous of?
Where are you in the family birth order?
You left home and then:
Bought the ugliest armchairs you’ve ever seen.
What is your favourite short story?
I have to splinter my answer between: ‘Wants’ by Grace Paley, ‘Prizes’ by Janet Frame, ‘Signs and Symbols’ by Vladimir Nabokov and ‘One Day Amongst The Rhododendrons’ by Jo Randerson.
What was the last real letter you wrote?
A letter I wrote to myself for Women of Letters.
What brings you bliss?
I feel closest to the source of all things when I’m performing.
How would you like to die?
Warm in my bed.
‘There is no twilight in our New Zealand days, but a curious half-hour when everything appears grotesque—it frightens—as though the savage spirit of the country walked abroad and sneered at what it saw.’ What are your feelings on New Zealand twilight?
All I see is Bella and Edward, dammit.
Has anyone ever said of you that you’re ‘a dangerous woman’?
Yes ha… I didn’t stop what I was doing.
Have you ever had an X-ray?
Write a brief history of your eyesight:
I have civil war eyes, they’ve grown independently because of strabismus (squints) in both. I can be looking at you while also looking out the window. Having medically confirmed roving eyes explains most of my 20s.
Is there ‘the taint of the pioneer’ in your blood?
To a degree.
‘I want to be REAL.’ True or false?
True. Just like the velveteen rabbit.