The first time I went to Hawai’i it came as a revelation that hula was not just the entertainment of Elvis movies, but a deeply meaningful and moving form of storytelling. And the first time I saw hula kahiko, the traditional hula style often performed by men, I was spellbound. The first hula I learnt was the Haleakala Hula, using the split bamboo sticks called pū’ili. I had barely managed to master the steps by the day of the performance, so when our kumu, the magnificent Uluwehi Guerrero, surprised us by playing the accompaniment at lightning speed, I still don’t have any idea how I managed to keep up! It was only when I was throwing out my favourite old shoes, after I had worn them through, that I discovered they were ‘hula’ shoes. Which made me laugh, because of course they would have been no help to me, as there is no such thing. Whatever style of hula, it’s always performed barefoot.
This is the bounty that was being protected by that ratty and dusty old cardboard box of Toolite fame and, no surprise, it has become my favourite piece of bookmaking equipment. It’s very heavy, flat, the size of a small book, and has a handle that makes it easy to pick up and move around without squashing your fingers. It’s got that bit of been-around-the-block seen-a-few-things-in-my-time rust, yet the bottom is smooth and clean and shiny so doesn’t mark the paper. Even better, it has type on it.
I never intended my ‘short break’ to stretch to eleven months, but time has a way of ticking along and space has a way of getting itself filled. Over the last few weeks people have started to ask me what’s going on and if I’m returning to the blog, so if you are reading this, I guess the answer is that I have been successfully prodded. And in the way of all things timely and synchronous, a dusty ratty torn cardboard box came into my possession (the contents of which are for next time) with this most wonderful Toolite label stuck on the side.