July 2013


I’ve written what I am calling a ‘verse memoir’ detailing aspects of my life with multiple sclerosis (MS). The memoir is more or less finished, and will be printed and ready by the end of August. When I was diagnosed with MS, I looked for an easy to read book telling what it was like to be living with MS. I couldn’t find such a book.

That’s when I decided to write the book myself, and just to make it even more interesting (or so I hope) I decided to write the memoir in verse. This was even though writing a verse narrative was alien to me to a large extent, and I wasn’t really sure what the writing of one entailed. 

I’m a writer, writing mostly poetry, but short stories too. I’ve had my work published, and I’ve also self-published my work. I also have some longer works, novels, written, but they may never see the world – they’re a long way away from being publishable! There’s still time …

This memoir though, this is the work that’s had most of my attention for the past two or so years. I’ve written some relevant poems, which are in the memoir, and I’ve worked on writing the verse. I had assistance with writing in verse. I received a grant from the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust to pay for a mentor. 

This mentor has been Ray Tyndale. I’ve enjoyed working with Ray, she’s a knowledgeable person, who has written her own works in verse. Ray has done her best to get me on the right ‘verse’ track. If any of my verse memoir works as verse, it’s thanks to Ray, more than me – and if it doesn’t work as verse, well, that’s entirely my fault!

I’ve shared this memoir at various stages in various forms. The earlier versions are certainly poor attempts at verse. I think I’ve got at least a teensy bit better as I’ve gone on. Sharing my work in these earlier stages though, has led to some doubt about whether or not my work is actually verse, rather than prose chopped up. I hope it’s just that it was earlier versions shared, that led to the question. I’m nowhere near being an expert on the question of ‘what is verse?’

You know what? I’m not going to worry about this question. If it turns out my work is judged to actually be chopped up prose rather than verse, so be it. My main aim was to get the words out there, my thoughts and ideas about how to live a good life when you’ve been handed this troublesome disease to try to live well with.

I know how lonely I felt at first, not feeling understood as I wondered how to live my life now that I had MS. I’ve learned things, and met people, and these things have helped me so much. If my memoir, whatever form of writing it really is, helps other people to feel more in control of their life, and less alone, then my memoir has done the job I hoped it could do!

If you have MS, and feel alone, please reach out to others – people with MS truly do know how you’re feeling, because we’ve live through it too.

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So, I have a brand new favourite author now, and I’m anxiously waiting for her next wonderful instalment in her series. Well, actually I’m not really waiting anxiously, but I’m going to whiz through her new book, which I borrowed from the library today, and THEN I’ll be waiting anxiously for her next book.

The author is Maggie Groff, who has moved from writing amusing non-fiction ‘Mothers Behaving Badly was published by Random House in 1999 and her second book Hoax Cuisine published in 2001 by Simon & Schuster’, to writing crime fiction.

Her first novel in this genre was ‘Mad Men, Bad Girls and the Guerilla Knitters Institute’. 

Ms Groff has created an interesting character and given her interesting adventures. This character, Scout Davis, is a freelance reporter, with enough spare time to solve crimes, as well as work her way through the niceties of modern romantic issues. She has a good looking hardly ever there partner, as well as a super sexy often there new love interest.

In Ms Groff’s second book in her series, of which I hope there will be many more books, Scout is wrestling with who is/could/should be her man. I’ve only just begun reading this second book, and I’m keen to find out which of the lovely lads Scout will choose.

I’m not sure these books will appeal to male readers, but they’re sure appealing to this female reader! Mystery with a solid and totally buff hunk of love interest, yes, that appeals to me, big time (in a book I’m talking here, of course.)

These books remind me of Sue Grafton’s crime fiction – Grafton has a strong sense of her characters and settings, and Groff has the same. Groff’s action takes place mostly in Byron Bay NSW, where she lives, and other Australian places. I’ve never been to Byron Bay, but I feel like I’d be able to find my way around there, if I ever went.

At the moment in the book I’m reading, Scout has a mystery to solve, and a love life to put into order too, and I’m keen to get back into the action in her second book, published this year, ‘Good News, Bad News‘!

Will there be another Scout Davis book in 2014? Oh, I sure hope so!

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/fitness/training+tips/stay+motivated+to+exercise+over+winter,18065

It’s cold outside, it’s even cold in he rest of the house. It’s cosy and warm with the heater on in this room where I’m typing this at my computer. But Lah Dee, our boy dog wants to go outside, so I’l lhave to get up anyway, so I suppose I may as well go and switch on the Wii Fit machine in the next (cold) room.

I’m finding it a bit hard to keep motivated with this exercise thing. I know it’s good for me, and I certainly feel it’s helping to keep me mobile. I have a bit of a concern about ending up in a wheel chair, and unable to drive myself around. My neurologist and others have told me to “Move it or Lose it”. But it’s soooo cold.

There, the dogs are all outside now, and I have to keep an eye on Lah Dee, or he’ll dig up the lawn in that spot just by the veranda. He still doesn’t realise, or care, that we really truly don’t like dirt thrown all over the veranda. I guess this digging of his is a way to exercise, an when he works hard at finding the best spot on the sofa, he needs to keep ready for the sofa struggle. I don’t mind him digging, I just mind him doing it on the lawn. He has the whole dog run available for digging!

Is this relevant to this blog post? Yes it is, because it’s about motivation – Lah Dee’s motivation for digging in particular. So what will motivate me to get off my bottom, get the dogs back inside, and get exercising with the Wii Fit machine?

Hmm, we have marshmallows, we have milk, we have chocolate drink powder, we have an electric jug and we have electricity. What if I tell myself I can have a hot chocolate drink with a marshmallow in it if I go and do at least half an hour of exercise. Will that work? Ummmm,..

Yes that will work – I’m off now, to let the dogs back in, and to do my work out! Thanks for listening, leave a comment!

 

I’ve been working on my verse memoir, editing the text and fiddling around the edges, tidying up bits and pieces. I feel it’s almost getting to printing stage, but there are frustrating blocks on the road that have to be negotiated along the way to the printer.

Now the weekend has arrived and things grind to another halt… I hope tomorrow might lead to some kind of action, and certainly Sunday will involve lots of editing. Apart from that, I need to make some decisions, take appropriate actions and so on. I hope Monday can lead to more things happening, with various people helping me with information and feedback.

The life of the self-publishing author is never straight forward, it seems. Oh well, the money is there to pay my way, and I’ve certainly had some excellent help along the way to the publishing of my memoir about my life with MS!