Sunshine and Hope

Posted on October 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Sitting on the sofa this afternoon, hands clasped tightly around a mug of tea whilst gazing through the window, it suddenly dawned on me that British Summer Time ends tonight. The shorter days and longer nights are once again upon us. Unbelievably I can remember writing a blog post at this time last year; the months have sailed by at an alarming pace. Perhaps even more alarming is Christmas, looming like the grim reaper in the not too distant future. Sorry folks, for those of you who don’t know; I am the original Bah Humbug! I wish I wasn’t, I really do. However, I can say with confidence that I am not alone. The breakdown of my first marriage in 1991 put an end to enjoying Christmas ever again. The addition of another husband, a third child, and then... Another broken marriage, only served to exacerbate my reluctance, or rather my inability to enjoy the ‘festivities’


Anyhow, attempting not to think too far ahead I began to reflect on the last year. It somehow seemed an appropriate time to stop and address my ‘bucket list’. You know all the things you want to achieve set out in a list! For me, it has always been about setting realistic goals. Not expecting the impossible, and finding some kind of serenity amidst the uncertainty and difficulties living with chronic illness poses.


I was devastated when Lupus put an end to my career. Losing a job I loved through an incurable illness when I was a single mother with a mortgage to pay, was probably one of the darkest times in my life. For a while I battled blindly whilst trying to cope. Feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and loneliness filled my days, never believing I would see sunshine again. Life had become an abyss of darkness. Eventually I learnt to live in the here and now and take the good days with the bad. I renewed my faith and focused on my dreams. From deep within my psyche came the overwhelming passion to write verse I went to sleep one night, only to wake the following morning with"‘Do Not Judge" the first poem I ever wrote reciting in my head... And so it began!


I was able to tick ‘publishing a book’ off my list in February 2011 when "Raw Emotion" was released. I am very proud of my little book which was produced in support of the two charities close to my heart; Lupus UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. March and April were surreal months... I was on the radio, I did book signings and was regularly in the newspaper. As always, pushing the boundaries of my day to day had its repercussions; between signings I could do little else. Having Lupus means you often pay a high price for assuming normality.


A rare afternoon of sunshine during March had me sitting in the little yard. The breeze was ruffling through my hair and the sunrays warming my face. Deep In the archives of my mind were memories of lost love which somehow ignited the inspiration to write a song. Furthermore I had a strong desire to enter the lyrics category of a prestigious song writing competition - the 'UK Song Writing Contest' which attracts entrants from all around the world. I didn't disclose this to anyone believing that if I didn't do well, nobody need know! 


Summer arrived to see my daughter graduate from university; I think graduation is always a difficult time for any mother. Already suffering the effects of ‘empty nest syndrome’ I was faced with the reality; my little girl, all grown up, would not be returning to her home town but would stay in the south over two hundred miles away. One evening, whilst reflecting on her childhood the burning desire to write another song was conceived.


Over the following months I discovered three of my poems had been chosen for publication in three separate anthologies; two in publications by United Press and one in a publication called ‘Forever Words’ by Forward Poetry due out on October 31st. There is no greater endorsement as a writer than to have your work chosen for publication...


Late July, August and September were particularly bad months; cerebral lupus reared its ugly head and I felt desperately ill. I had to retreat back into ‘myself’ to summon the strength to continue. Imagine my delight when I received the exciting news, my lyrics entry “Sitting in the Sunshine” had reached the semi final of the song writing contest... It was my first song, written only a few months earlier! I was thrilled. Ironically it was “Do Not Judge” my first poem which was chosen by United Press to be included in ‘The Power of Poetry’ anthology.


Doing well in the competition gave me the impetus to explore and develop my song writing further. I’ve met people from within the song writing community, who I would never otherwise have met. Both “Sitting In the Sunshine” and “Angel Child” have been beautifully composed after collaborating with two very talented composer/songwriters.


I guess many of us dream about writing a book, or a song that later goes on to become a hit. I can dream about the ‘hit’ part; although the joy I get from writing is immeasurable; it is my ‘Sanctuary’ the fire inside which keeps me strong. I remember saying the very same after ‘Raw Emotion’ was published. I’m undoubtedly on a journey, I don’t know where it may lead; but at the very least it is a journey! One which surrounds me with sunshine and hope.


So, dark nights may be upon us and my health issues will continue, but I am approaching the latter part of the year with eager anticipation rather than trepidation.


On Monday 31st October I will be joining Sally Naden on BBC Radio Lancashire to discuss poetry and song writing. It will be my third time on the radio... However remaining on my ‘bucket list’ is a wish to appear on the ‘This Morning’ couch with Philip and Holly! Do I still dream, or make it a reality? All I know is; If the last year is anything to go by, anything is possible!!

* To listen to the songs visit the links page here on "Shared Experiences"*

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