Friday, April 22, 2011

Will you join me on a little tour of my garden?

not much up to writing, but would like to share with you a little tour of my garden. 
not a bad place to spend a day resting

My back garden, seen from the bench I lie on. The far corner on the left is my 'zen corner number 1'

I was given this frog for my birthday. I was told to kiss it at times, 
"You never know what could happen," said Marga, the bearer of this gift

the start of the creation of 'Zen corner number 2'

isn't she beautiful?

flowers of the euphorbia. 
Almost sounds like euphoria!

I wish I could post the scent too, of this gorgeous apple blossom 

A bouquet of flowers- created by nature

Why go anywhere else?

"Proud to be here!" It seems to say, The flower is HUGE!

A sea of forget me not's one for all of you. XX

A welcome visitor

Clearing some weeds, this enormously long worm came up fora  bit of air.

That's the end of today's tour. I'll hope you'll drop by again soon.
Was lovely to have your company.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


  [fraj-uhl; Brit. fraj-ahyl]  Show IPA
easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail:a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance.
vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: She has a fragilebeauty.
lacking in substance or force; flimsy: a fragile excuse.

Why does our life- my life in this case- and trust in recovery from M.E has to be so fragile...

I so much like to think- believe and trust that I can recover from this blasted illness. Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this cycle. Why can't I just accept that this is what has happened to my body and let it be...
Because I so much like to be able to really jog trough the forest or pick up my badminton racket and really play a game- and win it!

Today that trust has shattered- again.
My healing thoughts suffer from fragility- they shatter too easily.

I woke up exhausted, pain in my whole body. The pain that I got to know as a tiredness pain. This type is not fixable. Perhaps with rest. But rest is tough when your mind is in that fragile state. I want to be well. I don't want to dwell on the not well option.

Yesterday as part of my recovery plan, I decided I would walk to town. For the healthy ones among you, it would be a walk that takes less that 10 minutes.
I had given myself the whole afternoon to achieve this goal, and was going to reward myself with an ice cream in town.
An achievable plan.
I had earlier that day hoovered my small house.
The combination in the one day was obviously not a good idea...

By why?
Why does it have to be this way.
I felt good before I left for town.
I stopped at every wall and bench to take a rest. I was in no hurry.
I enjoyed the silence of the slightly moving trees. Their gorgeous lush green budding leaves filled me with such joy. I was soooo happy being a 'tourist' in my own town.
I met lovely people along the way. While seated on the wall opposite the post office, John asked where my 'buggy' was (mobility scooter). "At home" I said. "I decided to walk." He offered me a lift home but I had not reached my destination yet- the post office.

I loved sitting there, in the sun, later in the shade and observe the people going about their business. I chuckled when I saw two men painting the bottom part of a lamp post. "How many men does it take to paint a lamp post...?"
I watched children passing by and on their return all had an inviting ice cream cone in their hands. It was summer. I was out. I was happy!

After another rest I made my way to get my reward: Ice cream!
Had a lovely talk with the waitress in O'Brien's who told me that she had spend 3 months in Thailand, and spend most of this time in beach huts. It sounded wonderful and I was glad to meet another soul who is happy with her own company.
We talked about my writing- she hadn't known I was a writer, but did remember I don't like butter on my bread!
Was asked for a copy of my book by another visitor to O'Brien's

Walking home I again rested at every bench. One man, whom I had met a few times on today's journey, commented how it looked like I didn't ever wanted to go home again.

I sold a book to a passer by whom had read the article in the Examiner . Walking into my street, I marveled at how fortunate I am to be living where I live. The view is gorgeous.
I came home happy although a little tired. But- rested contentedly on the couch and found entertainment from the tv.

So why oh why can I not feel good today.
I feel fragile to the point of tears.
I lost, temporarily, the believe I will ever recover.

I hope to find strength again soon, in the meantime Ill read my own book Flying on Little Wings and ...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Articles about Flying on Little Wings from this weeks papers.

Feelgood Supplement, Irish Examiner 15-4-’11 A different perspective, page 11

Here follow the text from the article so it is easier to read:

Chronic illness opened up a stunning world of creativity for Corina Duyn

Throughout the almost thirteen years of living with the chronic illness M.E, friends, nature and creativity have been the lifelines that have kept my mind afloat. On paper I can be free, and fly as high as a bird.
During the early years I started to make drawings of eggs. I wondered why, until the dictionary gave me the answer. Egg: spheroidal reproductive body enclosed in a protective layer, capable of developing into a new individual. This made perfect sense to me, as I needed protection, care, and most importantly, I felt I was given the chance to start my life anew.
I had not anticipated this growth would take the best part of thirteen years. But then again, are we ever finished growing?
My art works helped me to explore the major boundaries dictated by this illness and at the same time let me ‘fly’ to unknown places.
During this time I also wrote. These words and images became the backdrop to many exhibitions and the publication of my first book Hatched 2006, and later Cirrus Chronicles, 2009.
Creating art, writing and publishing books is of great pleasure to me. It keeps my mind active and helps me to change the focus from illness to possibilities. The responses to my work continue to be heart-warming and help me in turn to keep doing what I am doing.
Although I have lived many years more or less housebound and am still restricted in my mobility and energy levels, creativity is my way to communicate with the world around me. A joy that has been given to me, because, of living with an illness.

Living life in the slow lane, and spending a lot of time at home- or in it’s very immediate surroundings - I’ve learned to see the beauty that is around all of us if we take the time to look. This, what I can now see as a privilege, has made it’s way into my writing.
I take many photographs of the happenings in my garden in Lismore: birds, butterflies, unusual insects, budding plants, a leaves covered in frost. Some make it onto my website or on my blog: Some make it into my books.
While quite ill again in the lather part of last year, these photographs entered my searching brain. I wondered why I was so ill, and what I might have done ‘wrong’ or what I could change to feel better. I began to think of the many photographs of birds. Within a short time, the handmade book featured here - Flying on Little Wings - was born. The focus on something positive did not bring relief in terms of pain, but it certainly brought me healing of a different kind. I decided to share this project with others and brought out a limited edition of handmade books. The responses were amazing: it brought people to tears - words like ‘precious’ and ‘inspiring’ were uttered.
“A stunning artistic achievement. It will bring joy and admiration into many hearts and minds,” commented Irish Poet Brendan Kennelly

        Working creatively in this way bring me hope; the sharing brings me immense joy, and receiving wonderful comment gives me a purpose in life.
The idea was suggested to me to publish this book into printed format. Flying on Little Wings has in its short ‘flight’ reached the shores of Australia, USA, UK, Israel, and the Netherlands. I have been asked for (handmade) books to be translated into Hebrew, Dutch and French.
Who would have thought that when I was stuck in bed, overcome with fear of being bedbound once again, that my thoughts would reach so many people? The thank you notes are a beautiful gift to me.

Note left of images:
These pictures and words from Corina’s book Flying on Little Wings, give a glimpse of the deep simplicity of her creative work which is inspired by nature and the birds in her garden.
Note under the images:
Flying on Little Wings was printed in Cork by the wonderfully helpful people of City Print, and is available from my website €4.99 or soon from

Kiely's Comment- Dungarvan Observer 13-4'11

You might also like these posts with reviews about the book.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Clever Snail

I know, I wrote about the Taking Flight blog
 that it would be hard to kill snails 
after reading the book sound of a wild snail eating. 

I would like to eat beans in a while to come... 
I do not grow beans to entertain the snails...
So.. I put some snail pellets down 
to kill me "friends"

To deter my cat Robert
 from seeing the lovely fresh compost
 as a place to "poop" 
I covered the raised bed with sticks...

It helped to "fight off" Robert

A very clever snail walked
 along those sticks
leaning down
he munched on the tiny leaves

I saw it with my own eyes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review of Flying on Little Wings from Munster Express

A review by Liam Murphy of the Munster Express 
published in "Encore" 8 april 2011, Page 7


If you like to buy a copy, please see Book order options here (prices are including postage)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taking Flight

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! 

If you like to buy a copy, please see Book order options here (prices are including postage)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Books and children- or is it Children and books?

Earlier today I visited one of my favorite places in Lismore: Liosmor Mochuda National School Oh how much I wish I was a child again, and with that a child enrolled in this two classroom school and had miss England as my teacher...

Alas, I only get to visit this school on an occasional basis- usually to do with books and or reading.
Today was such a day. Lucky me!
I had written to the principal about my latest book Flying on Little Wings and how this book started off as a handmade book. I was invited to come and talk about it!

My aim was to share with the children that books don't necessarily have to look like the books we see in the shops.
I illustrated how Flying on Little Wings came about, I showed them the tiny few centimeter big mock-up with pasted-in images and scribbled-through words. Its follow up with poorly printed pages and still with text undergoing editing.
The final leather bound handmade book was handled with such care, it was lovely to see.
I continued on the theme of books not necessarily looking like books and shared with them the Family Tree book I am still (occasionally) working on, and the 'concertina booklet' I had made a few years ago with images of the "Doors of  Lismore." I was shown their own work in the form of diaries and study projects.

It is so lovely to catch the real attention of a few and see their creative brain working...

As it was "Hotdog-Friday" I stayed for lunch and had the most inspiring chat with a few of the budding writers and artist who were already considering their own publications. "I would love to talk with your  throughout the whole lunch break!" said one of them. Another one loved my book Hatched. She paged through the book with great interest- mostly at the possiblity of combining art and writing. For me that makes for a most rewarding day. To have inspired the possibility of being who you want to be- a writer or an artist? Go for it- don't wait to long! Don't ever give up on your dream!!
Two actually started on their project there and then. How exciting! I can't wait to see the results.

I will be back in the school in May to work with them on a project:
Years before the publication of Hatched  I had an exhibition in the local library and as part of this, there was a series of mounted poems  exhibited (some edited versions made it into Hatched). As I still had these boards, I have asked the children to illustrate the poems with either drawings- paintings- collages or whatever they come up with. I will ask the library if we can exhibit these works before the end of the school year.

I feel so lucky to be able to share my love of writing- art- and nature with fresh young minds.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

just a thought...

Am I the only one who thinks this? Am I just being paranoid, or does this thought stem from the time I worked with people with intellectual disabilities and was conscious of the fact that they had to look clean as they got enough "looks" already...?

If I go out in public on my scooter, or with a walking stick in dirty clothes (say- some stains on jeans and dirt on a t-shirt)- am I looked at as "leaving myself go"; "suffering from depression"; "not being able to look after myself"?

If a healthy person (physically able) person goes out in dirty clothes it just shows that he/she has been busy...

We probably were engaged in a similar pursuit: gardening (albeit both in our own ways.)

What do you think?