Well I've done it- my latest book Flying on Little Wings has been launched!
What a relief! And what a lovely day to look back on.
"Margaret sampling the cookies on offer at the launch"
Phyllis Davis (Eden Garden Centre, Orla Russle (Mayor Lismore), me... and Ciara Conway (Labout TD)
Phyllis Davis, owner of Eden Garden Centre, started off the launch with welcoming everybody and told the guests how we had met about 8 years ago, when she launched my first exhibition of the "M.E.-era.
She almost brought me to tears when she spoke about how I desire to be well, and of the flights I have taken. Reality is different when your own story is being told by someone else.
She had the audience laughing how I nearly did her out of business by selling surplus plants- at a competitive rate- from the wall of my tiny garden. The resourceful Dutch!
She continued: "This garden centre has become a haven for wild birds who frequent nests in old pots, sometimes only feet away from the customers, so it's perhaps a very suitable place for the launch of Corina's book about birds!"
My friend Jane introduced the guest speaker Ciara Conway. The recently elected Labour TD said: "reading through Corina's little book, I thought how very symbolic this book is, at this time in my own life, making the transition from being a local politician onto the national stage as it were. The book simply says, Be Brave... very useful information ... even when you are vulnerable.
... "Words, pictures, photographs, all mean something different to everybody, and I think that is what's lovely about this book. It's something to give to someone to say, just thinking of you."
She finished off with... "There is a saying, good things come in small packages, which is true for this little book. I hope that it will give great comfort to people and that they will realise that something as simple as a story about a little bird taking flight for the first time, against the odds, against gravity, that for them too, anything is possible and that's a nice message for people to take on, particularly me, in the daunting political task I have ahead."
Book Seller Christopher
Then it was my turn.. I had learned from the launch of my second book, the Cirrus Chronicles that I won't get away with not saying something... The week had been busy and I hadn't got further that a few notes.
Being wired and tired on Sunday morning- hours before the launch I sought the silence of my greenhouse/pollytunnel to regain strengt and calm the nerves. This is what I wrote in my notebook while sitting there, and read out at the launch... unedited
"To calm my nerves and to find time to relax- to breathe - I decided to sit in my beloved polytunnel.
Robert (cat) joined me and stretched out luxuriously on the worktop. A lover of heat. A cat- like all cats- who knows how to take life easy.
While I sit in my directors chair- feet up, on the raised bed- I look at the buds in the strawberry plants- and watch a snail make it's way to a lush green spinach leaf. I wonder will I ever be able to kill a snail again after reading the book: The sound of a wild snail eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. A story written from the perspective of a bed bound woman also living with the illness M.E.. She has a snail in a terrarium as companion. A book of beauty- a book to stand still by.
My eyes wander to a small group of ants. One by one they make their way up a thin bamboo stick- a support to last years delicious peas and beans. The ants all move at the same speed. When one takes a short brake to look around, its followers do the exact same when they reach that particular spot.
To make it onto the shelf above the raised bed, where french bean and sweet pea seedlings are proudly showing their little heads above the soil, the ants have to walk over the cup hook which keeps the bamboo stick in place.
.. Then one wasn't paying attention - it forgets to go over the 'cuphook-brigde' and keeps climbing higher and higher. Almost at the top it seemed to have realized it's mistake and ran down again. It's fellow ant had noticed the error and came back to the bridge until his friend had found the right place to cross.
These little adventures fill my heart with joy and gratitude. So near home, still in my pajama I can enjoy natures gift. The tranquility is powerful. Hardly any sound to be heard, other than the contented snore of Robert and a bee passing through the tunnel.
Where else would I go?
... Well.. to Dungarvan- to launch my book Flying on Little Wings.
A book that celebrates the beauty and healing that is all around us- if we take time to look and feel.
A book that was born (I see books as babies) out of a tough time. A book that wasn't in the planning. An unexpected pregnancy I suppose!
While suffering relapse after relapse I started to wonder 'what am I doing wrong? or 'what can I do differently?'
Creativity and nature made themselves known in my creative mind.
The handmade book was created. The photos I had chosen, dictated the words. Words of Wisdom.
My pain -physical pain- did not lessen from the creation of the book, but I surely saw a way out again. A way out of illness, and into the large skies around me. My mind flew on little wings out of my bedroom- through the window - into the garden- and into the skies beyond.
Making the book was healing, sharing the idea with friends, hearth warming. Making a series of handmade books so I could share the wisdom I had been handed was - and still is- an even more powerful journey that the initial flight.
I was thinking of- and being nudged on- to publish this handmade book as a printed book. I chose a small format so that the owner can bring natures blessings in their pockets.
... yet.. I didn't think the book would warrant a launch. "It's too small" I argued. But as you know- the book did get a launch. Here in the lovely surroundings of Phyllis's garden centre, where nature and birds- are a healing pair.
However my doubts continued about the right of this book to have an existence (doubt is a creative curse) In those days I recall how my friend Spark had seen the latest version of The little Book of Calm. "Over two million copies sold" she said. "It could be you!"
On that note I would like to thank you all for making your way to the launch. Thank you Phyllis for providing the space, Ciara for taking time out from her busy week as a new TD, Jane, Christopher, Alan, Mariela for helping set up, serve drinks, sell books and make cookies!
Love to you all and wishing you a safe flight!