May 2013


When I hear the news, I’m struck by the shock horror issues being talked about. The world will end if the Labor Party gets re-elected, and only Abbott of the Liberal Party can save us. When I talk to certain people, they say the same thing. But I get most of my news from sources like Twitter and similar, and I follow many people with quite different ideas.

Who is right, who is wrong? Who can tell. From where I sit, things are looking good. Interest rates are down, so our housing is affordable. The Aussie dollar is finally headed down. The weather in my part of Australia is doing what it should – enough rain to keep the crops happy, without anyone being flooded out.

I think my part of the world is looking good. Am I right or wrong? I’m right about how things are going for me. My personal universe is going well. That’s all I can say – that’s all I can really judge things on. I hope your life is looking good too. That’s all I can say. Positivity and poetry both help me to stay in my happy space.

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I hope it’s the final edit anyway. Today I put in at least three hours editing my memoir about my new life living with MS. I finally found the copy of my draft that my verse mentor Ray Tyndale had given me. I was so happy when I found it in a bag I thought I’d already searched.

It doesn’t matter why I didn’t see it before, I have it again now, and I’ve done what I hope is a final edit. I was pleasantly surprised at times today, with what I was reading. After a break of a week or so, I’d forgotten what I’d written, to some extent. I’m not say it’s all wonderfully poetic verse, but felt some of the bits read quite well.

Next step is to get some quotes for the back blurb, then decide whether or not to try to get an introduction from an important person. I have a couple of different people in mind, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be talking to a photographer whose work I admire tomorrow, we’ll see what we can get organised. The photographer is Martin Christmas, who has been ‘playing’ with a new camera, and producing mind blowing stuff! I was totally thrilled when he said he’d be happy to do my front page for me!

After that’s done, it’s time to send it away to have a couple more things done, and then be put into a publishable format, and let loose the printer!

And then, of course, it will be time for the book launch, and I promote my memoir every waking moment. It’s all good fun!

I have known I have MS (multiple sclerosis) since February 2010. After a collapse, and tests, including an MRI scan, my new neurologist was able to tell me I had MS.

This could have made me give up on life, and stop being a part of my community. Instead, it showed me the wonders of being a part of my community! There are wonderful people out there, and most of them are more than happy to help others. I’ve benefited from the kindness of others in many ways, and it has strengthened my commitment to being kind to others.

Part of that ‘being kind’, is to write the book I wanted when I was diagnosed with MS. I wanted an easy to read book from the point of view of an ordinary person living with MS, so I could see how other people came to terms with the various challenges this disease gives.

Because I am a poet and writer, writing this book, a memoir seemed an obvious thing for me to do. And because I like a bit of a challenge with my creative writing, I decided to write my memoir in verse. I got serious with the writing of this memoir last year, gaining funds with a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust. The funds received is to pay a mentor to assist me with the ‘verse’ part of my verse memoir. My mentor, Ray Tyndale has been fantastic. I know she has helped me immensely with this writing project. If my verse memoir isn’t up to scratch, it’s entirely my fault, not hers!

I’ll report back when I have more news about the launch date of my memoir. I hope it will be a useful book for those living with MS, and those who would like to know more about what it’s like to be living with this chronic illness.

 

My friend John has put something interesting on his blog. Well, I found it interesting, and John must have too, to have posted a blog post about it. It was about a girl who used to get up from her desk at school, and go and look at the rain when it pelted down.

Do you like to look at the rain, I know I do, as long as I’m not out in it. Although, having said that, I remember how my dear friend Wendy and I used to take her dog out for walks when we were about 14, and the rain never stopped us. If anything, the rain took us out into it. When it was raining, there was no-one else around walking, and there were fewer cars.

We’d be bundled up in raincoats, and it was like we were untouchable somehow. We’d arrive home again, soaking wet, but exhilarated. I certainly wouldn’t do that these days. It makes me excited to think of other people who love the rain too! Rain, rainbows, clouds, I love them all. I don’t like being cold and wet these days though.

What do other people think about this? What kind of weather do you love?

Today, my husband, Graham, and I went to the Adelaide Art Gallery to take in the Turner from the Tate exhibition. This exhibition closes soon, and Graham was very keen that I go along and get myself some culture. I’m not averse to seeing a bit of visual art, so when we realised I was free today, away we went.

The artworks on display varied very much in size, style and subject. Turner seems to have been quite precocious with his painting, beginning very early with works that are amazingly adult in their execution. His work was certainly not loved by all, and many other visual artists at the time (born 1775 – died 1851), derided his work as shapeless blobs that could be hung any way up, and it would still mean nothing.

He did paint in a variety of styles, there were landscapes that looked exactly like trees and paddocks and mountains. There were also other works that suggested mountains, and passion and heat, in interesting ways. I enjoyed the huge range – there were around 100 paintings there to be seen. There was also a lot of information to read. 

This was interesting, giving insight into the way Turners works were accepted, or not accepted. He had his fans, those who appreciated his work, but many who did not. I can only say that I enjoyed his artistic knowledge of light, and loved his treatment of Nature’s beauties. Mountains, yes, but also the sun and moon, the sea and other waters, and he had a lovely way of showing the mightiness of the sky and its clouds. I am not at all talented in this way – my lack of ability to draw embarrasses me sometimes. But I know what I like, and I certainly liked taking the artistic abilities of Turner.

Two paintings in particular struck me – one a very early one of a nude, done when Turner was still a young teenager. This struck me as being so mature a work – when I think of the kind of thing most teenagers would do, I am in awe of his maturity and ability. The other work is of a shipwreck, and the subject of the painting is so poignant for Australians to be looking at. 

The ship is one that is just started on its way to New South Wales, loaded with women prisoners and children. I’m not sure whether the children were ‘villians’ or offspring of the women. Tragically though, they all died. The Captain and crew lived, escaping from the sinking ship, and refusing to help the others. A truly shocking story, that has some echoes in Australia’s current ‘illegal’ arrival issues.

I did not do my exercises this morning, but wandering around this exhibition exercised both my mind and my body. I was grateful there were plenty of places to sit and observe inside the gallery – I certainly needed to sit down and observe a lot by the end. We went from the very earliest paintings up to those that were done within a year or so of his death.

I had a good rest after we arrived home – I needed to rejuvenate my body, and give my mind a rest too, and a chance to further consider all I had seen. I think tomorrow there may well be a new poem about something from this cultural visit.

 

 

I have a chronic illness that affects my brain. It also affects my Central Nervous System. In fact it affects my Central Nervous System (CNS) first, which affects my brain. I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). My immune system is attacking the myelin sheath, which is coating that protects nerve fibres. This causes scarring of the nerve sheath, which slows or stops nerve impulses as they travel from the brain. Something like that, anyway.

I have MRI scans that show where in my CNS the scarring is. This means a lot to my neurologist, and not so much to me. I know what I am living with, in terms of the way I am affected, he knows why it is happening. So why am I telling you this? Well I’m hoping you may learn something, by reading my words. I am also hoping to help raise money to help people in Australia with MS, through this campaign https://www.kissgoodbyetoms.org/fundraisers/individuals/carolyn-cordon

I was diagnosed with MS in February 2010. At that time, I was physically affected, with weakness in the muscles on the right side of my body – arms and legs in particular. When I saw the neuro, he told me about the available medications that may help to slow the progression of MS for me. There was no cure, back then, and there is still no cure.

The medications offered were all injections. One given once a day, one given every other day, another every three days and the last one, once a week. I was a little shell shocked at the time and could only see myself going with the weekly injections, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could even do that. 

I gave it a try though, and after getting trained by one of the lovely nurses from the MS Society, I learned how to inject myself in my thigh muscle with Avonex. I carried on doing this for two years. Then, along came some handy little tablets! This tablet is called Gilenya, and I now take one of these every morning, and have given up the injection, with thanks!

I’m proud of myself for having been able to do the weekly injections, but I’m thrilled with my new tablets, which seem to be working well. I no longer need a walking stick, or walker. I’m better able to get around and I’s still enjoying my life! Some people with MS haven’t done as well with Gilenya. MS is a strange disease, and different people are affected very differently with the various medications. Some have had serious headaches from this medication, some back aches, and some other serious side effects. I’m very sorry for these people, and I hope they all find something that suits them and helps.

 

 

Today I went to my mother’s place for a visit, as I do most weeks. On the way, I was moved to stop and write a poem. If this had happened las month, April, I would have posted the poem on this blog. April is the National Month of Poetry in the US, and many poets from around the world took the opportunity to commit to writing a new poem every single day of April. I am one of those poets, and I posted one poem for every April day here, or on another of my blogs.

So, I did in fact write a poem today, as I did yesterday. I posted yesterday’s poem on this blog, but today’s poem is a work in progress that I may or may not post to this blog at some stage. The poem requires more word still. I am happy with it, but I want to do much more with it – it seems to deserve more work, and I am happy to do that work…

So today I wrote a poem. I also wrote a short story today. Thursday is the day I go to my weekly writing group meetings. The group had a theme set, and those present were to write a longer piece of writing (not a poem). Two of us wrote short stories, and one of us began a book length piece of writing! Not bad from one who usually writes a poem for every writing exercise we have! This link will show you what the theme was, feel free to have a go yourself, and see what you come up with. Leave a message here and tell the readers about it!

 

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