Sunday, January 15, 2017

The power of the written word

'Part of our identity and our abilities may be hidden away like treasures  
at the bottom of the sea until we are forced to find them.'

Tobi Zausner - When Walls Become Doorways as quoted in  Into the Light

This morning I woke up thinking about writing. How writing has come into my life because of illness. 

Friends have been telling me that I always wrote descriptive and funny letters - you know the kind that arrived in the post. Anyway, writing in my changed life, is like having found that hidden treasure, as quoted by Tobi Zausner in her book when Walls become Doorways. It was part of my identity, but it was hidden.

Writing started by following The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, back in 1997. However, in the early months of illness (1998) I was unable to write. When regaining that ability a year later, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote whenever I could. (Again using Julia Cameron as my guide).

And even when it seems impossible to write, I still wrote.

There were days when I was in so much pain and was stuck to the bed, unable to even sit up. But I would have my notepad and fountain pen (the only pen I can write with, because of its easy flow and no pressure needed to write), beside me and I let my pen move over the page and see what words would lead me ...  I write, whatever needed to come out of my head and hand. I couldn't even see what as I writing, but that did not seem to matter.
I have quite a nice handwriting, but in times of absolute distress, like the day when I was put on steroids, and thought I was about to loose my mind (and life) my writing turned to a mismatch of scrambled words, varying in size and voracity. But ultimately I found peace. The fear eased somewhat. I could make some sense of what was happening to me.

a page from Corina Duyn's diary when on steroids, which was a very frighteneing experience
writing about the fear brought on
while on steroids
my writing showing the distress 
Writing became very important to me in terms of writing myself into wellbeing, but it also became a tool to have fun with. I realized that I love words (see links below), I loved looking up words in the dictionary. All of the titles in my book Hatched came from researching 'bird' and 'egg' related words in the dictionary. Bliss! Fun and the power of words made it into all my books.

Writing, I realized the other day when I paged through an old scrapbook, came from childhood. Again, the hidden treasure found again.

Writing, I now know features in my family too. My great grand father wrote letters for other people. My father and mother both wrote their thoughts down too.

My dad (1917-1977) wrote this tiny diary during the months before the Netherlands went to war in 1939, and some experiences during the war. It is a treasure to have his words in my hand.
I am translating the diary with the help of my brothers Hans and Joop.
Some of the thoughts shared are funny, others are heart wrenching.

a page from my Corina Duyn's father's 1939-42 dairy, with very small handwriting
a page from my dad's 1939-42 dairy
My mother (1921- 2007) started to write a series of reflections of her life while in her seventies and eighties. A life of poverty during youth, but with amazing resourcefulness and strength of mind by her, her parents and siblings. There are some very funny accounts too. It is an interesting insight into her life. 

page from my mother's diary with a story about
Sinterklaas of 1933.
My brothers wrote detailed diaries during their travels in the eighties, to many places that would not be safe to visit in modern times. Kees has been compiling his words and images of the journey to and in Africa, and I am looking forward to see and read this later in the year!

So, writing might be in all of us.

The book with the written memories by my mum and dad will be published in June 2017. Pre-order by contacting Corina expected cost is €15

I hope that this post might inspire you to pick up your pen, or maybe you share witn me and otehr readers your story about writing?

With every best wish.


If you share my post or blog on social media 
with a few of your own words on why you shared it - 
please email me a link and your postal address 
and I will post some bookmarks from Into the Light
as a Thank You for sharing!


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