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The Second Location

The Second Location

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The Second Location

87 pages
2 heures
Aug 31, 2020


'Never Get Taken to the Second Location.'


This book abducts you. It takes you to unfamiliar places. Using the doomed love affair of painter Rita Angus and musician Douglas Lilburn as a backdrop, Bronwyn Lloyd's first collection of stories is a leap into the surrealist dark. From her tale of doppelgänger suicide, 'Sink or Swim,' to the haunting cancer landscape of 'Kaikuia,' this collection may be strange, disturbing, and worrying, but it is never dull.


Bronwyn Lloyd completed a PhD in English at the University of Auckland in 2010. Her doctoral thesis provides a literary and art historical account of Rita Angus's symbolic portraits. Since 1999 Bronwyn has published catalogue essays and articles on New Zealand painting, applied art and design as well as a number of short stories. She currently teaches Academic and Creative Writing at Massey University, School of English and Media Studies (Albany) and works as a freelance writer and curator.

Aug 31, 2020

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The Second Location - Bronwyn Lloyd

the second location

Bronwyn Lloyd

ISBN: 978-1-877441-87-5

©Bronwyn Lloyd 2010, 2020

This publication is copyright.

Any unauthorised act may incur criminal prosecution.

No resemblance to any person or persons living or dead is intended.

The Second Location was first published by Titus Books in 2010.

1416 Kaiaua Road, Mangatangi

New Zealand


Cover design: Ellen Portch

‘Epitaph’ first appeared in Far Far Away: Romance, Anxiety and the Uncertainty of Place. Rawene: Hokianga Art Gallery (2009);

An earlier version of ‘Flight’ appeared in The Argo & The Wahine. Auckland: Pania Press (2009);

An earlier version of ‘It goes like this Douglas’ appeared in Orange Roughy: Poems and Stories for Tazey. Auckland: Pania Press (2008);

‘Sink or Swim’ first appeared in Landfall 214 (2007);

‘Rotten Sun’ first appeared in The Eternals: Graham Fletcher. Auckland: Anna Bibby Gallery (2007).

Published with the assistance of Creative New Zealand



Imeret and the Strawberry

Rotten Sun

The Blood Lily

After Wednesday

A Wish and a Word

Sink or Swim


The Shared Lunch

It goes like this Douglas

The Dismemberment of Austin Brown





for Jack


So often when I read biographies I am left wondering about the person who wrote the book. What led them to their subject? What compelled them to undertake the laborious process of writing about another’s life? How is the biographer’s life implicated in the story they are telling? Where are they situated in the text? What is the nature of their investment?

The backdrop for this sequence of thirteen stories is my recent experience of biographical research using a large archive of letters as the primary resource for my doctoral thesis. If anything, the collection shows how the investigation of another person’s life has repercussions in your own. In some ways your subject takes over your life, and your own here and now slips into a secondary position. At the same time as you find yourself in the second location, at one remove from your own life, you also see yourself reflected in the window that you have opened on the life of your subject, and their story filters into yours in strange and unexpected ways.

I didn’t realise until recently that the group of stories I wrote between 2005-10, most of which are inspired by events in my own life, closely paralleled my research on Rita Angus’s symbolic portraits including her Goddess paintings and her portraits of composer Douglas Lilburn. The story I was reading in the 400 letters that Rita wrote to Douglas over 29 years (1941-1969) that told of a failed love affair, the loss of a child, the reclamation of virginity, sublimated experiences, doubles, role play, animism, and dream children, crossed over unexpectedly from my intellectual life into my real life. The stories in this book are the result.

Imeret and the Strawberry

It was apparent that Douglas had re-read at least some of Rita’s letters before giving them to the National Library. A few of them had neatly written notes on the envelopes signalling that the contents were of special significance. It must have been strange for him to look at them again after so many years, this time assessing their value as relics, and no longer sensing the heat of the blood flowing through her fingers holding the pen to his own holding the paper.

Slowly, and with care, I warmed the arteries running through the letters, attentive to changes in temperature, like that cold Christchurch morning when my mother found me frozen in my cot and warmed me back to life in a tepid bath. After a time I dipped my pencil into the current of her words and watched as the first white hot line curled around the point.

I wondered whether Douglas ever recognised the consequences of that one heat of the moment word he used to end their argument on that March evening in 1942. Did he realise, upon reflection, that his choice of that word in particular had been the catalyst that changed her life completely?

Rita made every effort to let the word go. She batted it away with sarcasm. She rebutted it with a history lesson, enlisting Herodotus, Rembrandt and Mary Butts in her defence, but months later the word continued to scorch her. Through the first, second, and third leg of the journey from Christchurch to Napier, it scorched her. It smouldered in the corner of the dining room of the new house high on Milton Terrace where she set up her studio, and as she taught her young students to sense the arm beneath the sleeve her own raw flesh chaffed against the fabric of her blouse. Every evening, to relieve the discomfort, or perhaps to expose the tender brand, she removed her clothes, faced the mirror and drew.

He had called her Cleopatra.

Little attention had been paid to the nudes. They were incomplete studies, regarded as addenda to the larger body of more than fifty completed self-portraits in watercolour and oil, charting the process of self-imaging that for one reason or another had absorbed the artist for a considerable part of her life.

The three nudes in pencil and watercolour record her body and its shadow with no extraneous detail. She represents herself, once seated, twice standing. Her figure is thin, her torso narrows dramatically at the waist, and her ribs, collarbone, and hips are visibly delineated. The luminosity of her figure is accentuated by the shadow tracing the contours of her body, which turns her into a sculptural form in relief on the white page. The inscription, ‘Study for Carving’ written on the pencil drawing, asserts her intention to

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