From the Editor January 2012
|Sally wears a dress by caroline sills; Photographed by Jane Ussher; hair by Michael Kent; make-up by Kaitlin Chapman.
When I went to school, one of the worst things a teacher could say was that you were disruptive. Now it can be high praise.
In a recent Radio NZ interview, Elizabeth Iorns, the New Zealand-born founder of an online business, told how the word “disruption” is used in Silicon Valley to describe something very positive: the breaking up of stale old-school habits to create something better.
I was pondering this – the way the same concept can be positive or negative, depending on context – on the day my plum tree snapped.
This is the tree I have written about before – my beautiful, reliable tree that year after year produces a munificence of glossy, scarlet plums and sends me into a frenzy of jam-making. Not any more. The text from the kids that day was blunt: “Plum tree broken in half :(” There was a pxt showing the trunk split to reveal a rotten interior.
My plans to whip up gift jars of Christmas jam were disrupted (negative). My vision for the garden, with the tree at the centre, was disrupted (negative). Nick got out his chainsaw and in an obscenely short time the plum tree was a wood pile.
I looked at the gap in our garden and thought about planting another plum tree. Then I thought about how I’d never had the right space for a lemon tree. I thought about gin and tonics and jars of marmalade. And suddenly my plans for the garden were disrupted (positive) with visions of a glossy citrus grove.
Disruption – with its positive and negative connotations – is a common theme in this magazine: very often there is one disruptive moment in the lives of our homeowners that sparks a new direction and the impetus for a new home.
My friends Colleen and David Hurd, for example, had a beautifully restored villa in Auckland’s Stanley Point. Then a few years back, on a trip to Central Otago, David said: “I’ve always wished I had a bit of dirt down here. This has always been home.” With that, their old life was disrupted and they said goodbye to me and their other friends. The upshot of all that disruption is a sleekly lovely new home in Ophir (see it on page 68, and at left) and bold plans for a new rail trail business.
All this talk of disruption is appropriate for a January issue, when everyone is focused on change and new starts. At the moment my 2012 plans don’t go beyond a couple of lemon trees and a grapefruit. But who knows? The whole point of disruption is, of course, that you can’t plan for it…
Have a happy, happy New Year. May your 2012 disruptions be more positive than negative.
Story: Sally Duggan