December 2013


Fish pond, I'm So Sorry ...

two of the fish.

There are a few really good things about having MS, you know. Getting a disabled parking permit, and a disability support pension are the obvious ones, of course, but there are quite a few other great things about having multiple sclerosis.

One of them, is having an excuse for practically everything:

Forgetting things? Yeah sorry, mild cognitive dysfunction.

Dropping things. Sorry, muscle weakness.

Falling over. Yeah damn muscle weakness again…

I could just go on blaming multiple sclerosis for everything that doesn’t go how I want it to, or anyone else wants it to. Tiredness, being dumb or clumsy, obviously that must be because of the multiple sclerosis. But I don’t want to be labelled as being too dysfunctional. I’m capable of doing things, quite a few things, and I’m actually proud of myself for some of my talents. In view of this, I try not to over-play that line.

Writing is certainly one of those talents I have. I can pen a mean poem if I want to! I’m good at writing about pretty well anything I set my mind to writing. I have a few published books to my name, and I still receive royalties for one of those books, many years after the book was first published.

And the book this blog is based on, “Mick, Jane and Me – Living Well With MS” – I’m quite proud of this book. I enjoyed writing it, hunting up all of the bits and pieces that went into publishing it. Being able to write, publish and market the book are talents not every person has. I did it though, and it’s quite a fine looking book. I had some great people to follow, and to get assistance from. I also had financial assistance to help get it  all done.

There was the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust grant that gave me money to pay for my mentor to help me get my writing verse abilities spruced up and working well (or at least better than they had been). And of course the printer of the book, Centre Print, who are the printers for the MS Society SA & NT, who printed 100 copies of my book for me for free. That was a great help!

So because I have a disability, I was able to get a memoir about an important part of my life printed. This memoir has some quite profound stuff in it. Useful things about medications, some about exercise and its importance. And I found quite a bit of philosophical thinking that went into the book toward the end.

I really enjoyed these philosophical thoughts. It came from some quite deep pondering, and I wonder whether these thoughts would ever have come about to be written down if it hadn’t been that I was writing a memoir about my new life. So really, I think this may be the best thing about having MS.

Because my life has changed, had to change, I’ve given myself permission to think quite deeply about what I am capable of doing, what is important to me, what are the best things for me and for those I love and who love me. So this has meant the creation of a new writing group (Adelaide Plains Chapter & Verse) that meets weekly in Gawler at the Prince Albert Hotel (every Thursday afternoon). And I’m also involved in a group for people with disability that meets monthly at the SA Writers Centre.

Another thing I want to explore further is Public Speaking. I have things to say about disability, my own and the subject in general. I’ve had a bit of experience in public speaking, and I certainly want to take this further in the future. I look at life in quirky ways at times, and I’d like to perhaps get into a bit of comedy work. These things will get more work next year. I already have one booking for public speaking, with another possible one in the process of being planned. I’ve put the word out  about this, and hope to at least get some learning gigs in 2014, with a view to doing more in the future.

So, The Best Thing about having MS is the permission I feel I now have to put myself out there into the world, knowing I have a story that interests others. I’m pretty sure there was another thing I was going to write about, but you know what? I’ve forgotten what it was!

Ah, I know, the Very Very Best Thing about having MS is that I can now get away with laughing about peeing my pants!