I am a writer and a poet, yes, but I have another job title that I’m working on making it another good one to use. I have been toying with this one for a while but it’s taken me until this year, really, to feel I can act actually claim the title …
The job title is Creative Writing/Poetry Workshop Facilitator. A good title, and one I am proud to have. I suspect gaining this job title is the main reason I did my TAFE training, giving me ideas, confidence and knowledge so I wouldn’t look like a fool doing what I wanted to do.
Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) part way through my course was a bit of a challenge, but I made it through, and got the certificate, Cert IV in Community Service Work. I’m not able to take on working full time, or even a steady part time job, because of the MS. If it was going well, I may be fine, but it it was too tiring or stressful, or too hot or requiring too much standing up, I couldn’t keep it up.
No, the way I’m doing my work is on my own terms, at a venue I am completely at home in, and with a easy to deal with number of people. I can handle the small numbers I have been getting, and feel confident I could deal with more, up to ten people, perhaps. I am excited about possibly getting a few more people later on this month (I hope), and look forward to sharing my ideas with other people who also have MS.
The workshop I do is on almost every Sunday, at the Poetic Justice Cafe Gallery in Gawler, at 11.15. The name of the Workshop is “Write Yourself Well” and my clientele are those people who have had challenges in their lives, but are still working to have or keep hold on a better life for themselves.
I am gradually feeling more and more that I know how to do this Workshop Facilitation stuff, and I’m loving the words the attendees are writing, and me too. My poem written today was one that’s been wanting to be written for many, many years, and I am proud of it for sure!
Being in the thick of the creative process is a beautiful space to be in! If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a message!
I am many things, the name of this blog certainly indicates what some of my life roles may entail. I have four dogs, so letting in, putting out feeding and cleaning up after dogs are included. I also do lighter aspects of the required gardening needed at our place, watering, and some small pruning of our smaller plants, at times.
But I have life away from home, and do other things. I’m a blogger (obviously), a poet and a writer. I am currently in the middle of writing my next book, well I would be, if I hadn’t stopped to write this blog post. Although by saying I’m ‘in the middle of’ writing the book will be true as long as I go back to the writing of said book, after finishing off this blog post …
Does it matter whether or not I actually go back to the writing of that book? Hmm, yes it does, for various reasons. This as yet unfinished book is scheduled to be launched at an event that is taking place at the end of July. It’s currently at the end of March. As I mentioned I’m a writer and poet, not a mathematician, but I can work out that means I have four months to get the book done and printed. That sounds possible, depending on how many more words there are to be written …
This book is not going to be just words written by me though. The book will have some illustrations to go with it, and it will have some words written by someone else as well … I can’t get the illustrations done until I send the text to the illustrator, and to the person writing the other words. And I can’t do that until I have more words written, to give those other people a better idea about what they need to respond to, for playing their part in the process. Such are the things one takes on, when one takes on the role of Self-Publisher, as I have to produce these books.
You may be curious about this book, of which I speak … Well, the book is titled ‘Dog Buddha’s Thoughts’ and it is written by not only me and another person, but also by a dog. ‘A dog? you may well ask, ‘how can a dog write a book?’
Well the dog isn’t one of the four dogs that live here with us, or lives somewhere else with other people, sort of … The dog lives in some spot at the back of my head perhaps, or in my imagination, wherever that actually is. Has anyone clever worked out where the imagination actually is yet, I wonder? But I digress…
The dog is Buster the Dog, a perhaps mythical dog, and we have already written two books together. Those books are “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs” and “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”. They were also self-published and illustrated by the same person who will illustrate this partly-written book, once she has the words to work with. This new book will have more words but fewer illustrations than the first two books, I think. I hope. Or would more illustrations be a better way to go? No, that’s just me trying to get out of doing more work, when in fact I can feel Buster the Dog straining at the leash, wanting to get back into the writing!
So I’d better close off here, I think, get some lunch and then get back into this book. I have another blog that talks about those earlier books, and have links to that blog scattered around this particular blog post. I’m slowly getting the hang of this promotional stuff, and hope to learn more about it at that Festival of Words I mentioned … There will be a workshop revealing all I need to know about Social Media!
I am a person who likes dogs and also likes to be in her garden. Most of the work in our garden is done by my husband, or with the tall trees we have, by others before we moved to our home.
I watch our dogs though, quite a lot and I like to think about them, and other dogs. I like to do some easy things in the garden too, at times. Mostly I like to sit on the front or more usually back veranda and just look at the things out there. Trees, grass, insects, plants, clouds and of course our four dogs.
I’m sure lots of people would say similar things to me. I’m perhaps a little bit unusual because I write a blog about these things, and I have also written a book about gardening from a dog’s point of view. It was make believe, of course, I pretended I was a dog, thought about how dogs might think about gardening, and just wrote and wrote until I had enough text to make a book, after my clever friend did some great illustrations.
I self-published this book, “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs”
years ago, but I still manage to sell another copy every now and then. I haven’t sole thousands of copies, but that doesn’t matter. What I did in fact, was to follow up that first book with another book “Doggone It – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View”, also illustrated by the same person. This book was also written from that dog’s point of view, and the particular dog is the one that lives inside my head, Buster. Buster is a combination of the two breeds of dogs we have, and he’s a fun guy to be around, I enjoy doing these things with him.
Buster and I are working on our next book at the moment. This book will be called “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts” and is quite a different looking book, (I think). There will be a few illustrations again (not as many), and it will be a longer book. This is if all things go to plan, of course. My plan is that I will finish writing the text before the end of March, then send the text off to the illustrator. After they come back, I’ll put the book together then get as many copies as I can printed. I will hold a book launch for this book in July, during the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words 2017.
No this post isn’t a new poem, such as I’ve been posting to this blog on most days in April. This post follows on from a conversation/chat with a friend on Facebook, John Malone. John is a real friend, as well as being a Facebook friend. We share some things in common, both writers and poets, both with a sometimes quirky sense of humour. this is a link to John’s blog – it’s a mighty fine one, well worth reading!
This is something I posted on John’s blog recently:
‘I try to sit in the best spot in a meeting, so I’m where I can hear the best. I pay attention when people are talking, and I look at people too, to pick up clues. I don’t really think about these things, I just do them. My poor hearing in my right ear was picked up when I was in junior primary, then we moved house. I’m not sure whether anything was ever talked about by my parents. I did well enough at school, so I suppose it didn’t matter that my hearing wasn’t very good.
Having written all of that, I’m wondering whether this slight disability had anything to do with me becoming a writer? It feels like it may have been involved in the way my life has gone. Thank you for this question John – I’d never written anything about these issues before, or even rally thought about them.’
John then posted a comment in reply, mentioning his stuttering problem from when he was younger. And so now the two of are thinking about whether these sorts of ‘disabilities’ may have led us to becoming creative writers. I’m wondering what it is that makes a creative writer. Certainly having a hearing issue means that I tune out of conversations sometimes and sit and ponder life.
I rarely think about my poor hearing in my right ear, it’s just a fact of life. It’s only since I’ve become more aware of disabilities through meeting up with other people with disabilities, that I’ve begun to wonder. Would I have been a creative writer if my life had been more ‘normal’, if I could hear everything said to me? Would I have been happy to simply do what everyone else does, and not think terribly deeply about things? Am I putting more into this whole issue, than it deserves?
I also have another, newer health issue. I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in 2010. This has brought me a deeper understanding of what it can mean to be ‘disabled’. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people who are living with MS, living well, and facing their struggles with hope and courage (and good humour). Having MS has certainly opened up new opportunities to me. It has given me insight into ways different people deal with things that happen in their lives. Some face what they have, and deal with it well. Some hide from it, some deal with it badly.
Since receiving this diagnosis, I have begun working on my memoir, dealing with my new life with MS. This memoir is written in verse, with some poetry as well. It is the book I was looking for when I received my health news – a book I couldn’t find. I hope ‘Mick Jane and Me, Living Well with MS’, will be published later this year. Certainly this memoir wouldn’t have been written if I didn’t have this disability.