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Es 2023 and Ray 2002- Now and Then

Earlier this year, we tracked down writers who had their first publication with Write On Magazine and we buddied them with current students.

Ray Shipley (they/them) is an Ōtautahi-based comedian, writer, marriage celebrant, and bookseller. Ray is a regular fixture at comedy and poetry shows across the city, and a much-loved MC - hosting everything from queer balls to platter-making competitions to political debates. We have loved having Ray back at Write On as a guest tutor.

"The Write On launch events were so signifIcant to me as a young person because they were some of the fIrst times I saw and appreciated how different the words we put down on paper can be when they’re read aloud." Ray

Es, aged 13, attends Saturday Classes at Write On School for Young Writers. They have been published many times in Write On magazine.

Survival: March Fly was inspired by Ray's piece, Survival: Sperm Whale which was first published in Write On in 2002.

Survival: March Fly

by Es

Float through humid air

wings in check

glide, swoop, flick

eyes in check, thousands of them,

look, focus, see.

Legs out, like helicopter skids

landing pad, a lily pad

and the plop like a marimba

as the creature lands gracefully.

And the fly forgets

resting in the rays of sweet stupidity.

Water ripples

a quiver, under foot of fly

scares the little guy.

A disturbance,

emergency takeoff

frantic flapping,

But slimy spear locates, reaches, grabs;

the tongue of frog.


the fly’s mind cries.

It tries to synthesize

meaning in one megabyte memory

It’s pleading

buzz, a broken radio signal.

As the tongue retracts,

it rips just a leg back

leaving him free.

And the fly forgets.


You can read Survival: Sperm Whale by Ray and an interview between Es and Ray here:

Thank you to Plains FM for support with the recording of the voices and to Copyright Licensing NZ for a funding grant that allowed us to archive 30 years of magazines and to develop this project.

The funding from Copyright Licensing NZ also went towards the redesign of our print magazine Write On 60: Memories and Milestones. It is a beautiful new design for our anthology. Copies are still available to order HERE

(c) Write On 2023


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