Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Offer- (The sun is shining!)


It's July The SUN is shining. To celebrate, a Special July Book Offer.

A signed copy of HatchedHatched” is one of the most energetic, generous-hearted, sharp-minded and inspiring books of poems I’ve read for quite a while
  • A signed copy of Cirrus ChroniclesOn the first glance at the cover is enough to know you are in for a treat
  • A signed copy of Flying on Little Wings (paperback): A striking artistic achievement. It will bring joy and admiration to many hearts and minds
  • A signed copy of Crow Lines an artistic collaboration between pupils from Liosmór Mochuda National School, and Lismore Artist and Writer Corina Duyn.
  • All four books for €39.99 (plus €2) postage.
  • This means a free copy of Flying on Little Wings, and a large discount on the postage, especially if you live outside of Europe.
  • Interested?
  • Click on the "Buy now button", and don't forget to tell me who you would like me to sign the books for. This offer has now closed, but see later blogs for current book offers
    Happy reading!

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Awareness ... of Nature's Art

    Following from yesterday's post I'd like to share with you these wonderful gifts of nature.  
    And yes, I DID stop and stare at these beauties. 
    Every day I wondered when the flowers of these leeks will reveal themselves to the world
    The immensely heavy rain a few days ago brought out the best of them.
    Stunning pieces of Nature's Art.

    One flower daring to peep outside of it's shell. 

    I will take it's cue...

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    The shell must break...

    ... before the bird can fly.
    A quote by Tennyson, given to me as a greeting card a few years ago. The card hasn't left my books shelf since, and it's message is very appropriate at the present time.

    The shell must break...

    Footloose, acrylic on wood
    © Corina Duyn

    "You are the 'Hatched Woman", Dolores said when we met some time last year. "I love that book." A few months ago, I was proud to show her my handmade book: Flying on Little Wings.  She held it in her hands, and uttered the words "precious, it's so precious". When she came to pick up her copy we talked about writing, creating books and about the artwork in Hatched. She asked if I still had the painting 'Footloose'.  As it happened, I did. It was one of two paintings  still in my possession. 
    We agreed on a barter for treatment in reflexology and polarity therapy.
    This has been taking place during the past month or so. It has set me off on a journey of discovery way beyond the treatment.

    Since having a major setback in terms on my health in May, I have found life increasingly more challenging. Pain was unbearable, but more worryingly, so was my mental state. "I don't recognise myself" I uttered. "And I feel cheated out of life". All I love to do and which are a way to help me deal with the effects of illness - gardening, working in the greenhouse, doing my writing and art, were once again taken away from me. I felt that there was little left. 
    (I have been more or less housebound at the start of the ME 13 years ago, but I had been able to slowly expand on these boundaries.)

    Starting this session of treatments, I told all I know about the way my life has progressed over the past 5 decades (almost!) and how illness has effected me. One of the main things that I focused on was that I have never felt "grounded". I have been floating through life.
    "Footloose" suddenly had a different meaning from when and why I had created it...

    After the second session I was told "we talked a lot. That is unusual."
    These few words stuck in my head. 
    I realised that even during a treatment to help me further on a path of recovery, I was not fully "here". I was not focusing on what was happening right NOW. My body was being worked on and my mind was elsewhere. 
    I realised that I have been doing that for a VERY long time. 
    It is easier to ignore the body's messages and "get on with life".

    Looking for my '80 Dutch book on reflexology I found a book by a Dutch woman who had had ME. (Bange Helden, Wies Enthoven). 
    'You know you have to change.' He (the acupuncturist she went to) knew that I was the only one who could make this happen.'

    Reading this made my body tingle. 

    I knew it to be true. I have always believed this but have not been able to 'go' there.
    'Let it be' he said.
    'What remains of me when I can only be? Wies asked herself. 'The struggle I fought with myself to really let go of everything was huge.'
    'Dare to be who you're meant to be'  she continues, 'was hardly an original revelation, but was obviously new for me.'

    Last week I brought a visit to the library and while looking for a book on reflexology, I came across a book by fiction and non fiction writer Tim Parks: Teach us to be still. A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing. I am learning lots from his frank and open, and often funny account of how he dealt with being ill. How the medical profession looks at one aspect only, and what do you do when they can't find anything wrong. 
    Breath and be still. Apparently!
    Reading Parks's book I realised that I too find escape into words. '...Until I had thought about it in words, or better still, written about it, ... then I possessed it. 
    'We read to know we're not alone' says CS Lewis. 
    And for me? I write to understand. 

    My mind is always busy, which I thought was a gift to help me deal with decline into dark and lonely places due to illness. If I am not actually writing, I write in my head, and come up with plans for creative adventures. While doing guided meditations,  I 'tell' a friend to listen to this too. When I am reading, I make a mental note to tell so and so about this book. When I am in the bath I want to get out because there is something I need to write down; when I am 'meditating' my mind goes into all sorts of directions and none of them have anything to do with stillness. When I see a lovely bird in the garden, I have to get my camera in stead of really seeing the bird.
    'Mind and body part company', Park realises, 'you're more at home on the page than on the pavement.' ... 'Your mind is you. Your body is your vehicle.'
    I was told the same words by Dolores...

    All a sobering thought.
    I am very busy, and am not- as I thought- working my way through what really matters to me- finding healing, finding a way to improve my well being, physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
    'Give yourself the gift of change,' Kerie Logan tells me time and time again during her guided meditations. 'Let go of any resistance.'
    I want change.
    But have been scared to go 'there'. 
    There where I have no control. I have no idea where 'there' really is.
    Being much more in the moment and being still already brought me to some uncomfortable 'home-truths'.

    The shell must break before the bird can fly...

    With the help of Kerie, Dolores, Wies, Tim and all of those that have gone before me I will embrace the stillness. And break the shell so I can start my flight with a fresh eyes and healthy wings.
    I will make friends with myself as Pema Chodron tells me during her excellent lecture on Matri and and Tonglen meditation. 

    You know what dawned on my the other night - while sitting in the bath - that Stillness and Illness are almost the same word. 
    St- illness 
    Saint Illness?

    Be good my friends, and maybe be still?

    (If you'd like to comment, any chance you do it here in the comment box in stead of on FB or Twitter? This way I, and other blog visitors get to read it too. Many thanks.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    More Crow Lines

    A visual blog today, with some of the amazing images created by equally amazing children.

    The exhibition is up in Lismore Library and already had visitors who were really taken by the illustrations and how the children had taken the words of the poems into account.
    A fresh approach.
    Just lovely. And powerful.

    There is a limited edition 28 page booklet available with all the illustrated works, See my website
    previous post about this project: school

    Three of the Artists at the Exhibition at the Library

    Front covers illustrated by the children
    Cool cover
    Back cover, equally cool!

    Crow Lines indeed...

    A Performing Crow

    Horse in conversation with the crows. Love it!


    I want to fly!

    Horse riding crows, where else would you see it?

    the back covers with a bit about the individual illustrators

    same in more detail

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Crow Lines

    Well, I didn't think I could swing it... 
    But I did.

    The illustration project I had started just before getting ill again (see here for more about the school project) is due to be presented to the parents of the pupils of Liosmor Mochuda National School during the Celebration of Books Event on the 14th of June next.

    I gave it the title 
    Crow Lines

    I have the pages printed, the cover for the children to illustrate, designed. 
    Tomorrow I will go to the school and be with the children when they illustrate their own cover, 
    for their own, hand-bound book.

    In the meantime the illustrated poems are being exhibited at Lismore library during the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing.
    Please come along if you can and support the young illustrators!

    Cover, back and front of the new publication Crow Lines
    For those of you who won't be able to see the works "in the flesh" so to speak, 
    I have created a limited edition of this book see here
    To buy a copy see here

    The project in a nutshell:

    The poems are a selection of works first exhibited in 2004 at Lismore Library as part of my Fit to Fly exhibition, and were mounted courtesy of Waterford County Library.In 2006 many of these poems were published, in a slightly edited format, in my book Hatched.
    During one of my visits to the school to talk about the writing and making of books, I suggested to Ms. England, that maybe the children could illustrate the mounted poems.A re-cycling project I suppose, with the added bonus, as Ms. England suggested, ‘that the children are involved with literature without them knowing it.’
    I am not sure who enjoyed this event the most. I certainly came home feeling privileged and elated from spending an hour working with the children. The drawings still give me goose bumps; they  touch me deeply. So does the fact that in a very relaxed manner, I was able to communicate with these wonderful young minds what it is like to have a disability and to live with a long term illness.  I hope that their minds will stay open to view people with a disability in a positive manner.
    To put the book-making talk into practice, each of the illustrators were given printed copies of the completed works, a cover to design, and were encouraged to create their own handmade book. I certainly am in awe of this selection of Artist Books created! Many  illustrations bring a smile to my face. I hope they will have the same effect on you.
    Many thanks to Ms. England and her wonderful pupils; City Print Cork; and Lismore Library Staff for exhibiting the now illustrated poems again.

    If you like to share your thoughts, please leave a comment in the box below.
    (not really on Facebook at the moment...)
    Thanks for your visit!

    Friday, June 3, 2011

    Helping hands and thoughtful minds

    Having "travelled" through dark days filled with pain and despair, I am hugely thankful to all the helping hands and thoughtful minds I had the privilege to encounter.

    Nurses and doctors in the hospital, my GP and staff at health centre, friends in cyberspace, neighbours, friends in the 'flesh' and the 'phone and letter writing' friends.

    Thank you all. You know who you are.
    Thank you all! XX
    During this past month I also heard some good news from 'cyber-friends' about the support they received from the medical/community services, which will make a huge difference in the quality in their lives.
    Here two of these events:

    Di emailed this to me: 
    I love the health department. I never thought I would say this- but who does --? I'm so excited   I saw a lovely OT today . she took one look at me and said ' okay ,we'll get you a power chair  with head and neck support etc etc and a back up manual one . I didn't have to convince her or argue or any such thing. and it comes at no cost through the health department . i love this country . even the way it is !

    So I will  be mobile again as soon as it all gets organised .Rog will have to build a ramp  then i can get outside again!!! calloh callay ___ A  gardening bag on the back and i can spray the roses, water the tomatoes , talk to the cockateil,  take spotty the dog for a ' walk '- once she learns to go with the chair---  tell the cucumbers not to be whimps just because its frosty, and all sorts of exciting things ..even go for a 'walk ' with the boyswill even be able to get to the kitchen  to feed myself  and to the bathroom without collapsing  from the effort .
    i hope you are excited for me-- The furniture is already cringing as it anticipates my learning to drive it -- and a few door jambs are in danger of a bump or six -- but I am rapt!! just had to share the news . love you di

    Then I read this in Barry's Blog: Only Resting: One man's journey from 'normality' to chronic illness.

    "Returning to the present, today I was visited by my existing Occupational Therapist and an OT and Physiotherapist from the Rehab team at the local council. My existing OT was delivering my new bath chair and the Rehab team were here to talk about how I can have a decent level of independence and keep my muscles from wasting away without risking crashes/relapses.
    ... I'm also going to get elbow crutches to try as they may allow me to be on my feet a bit more without being in danger of falling over! 

    All of this has really lifted my spirits. I am delighted with how helpful and compassionate the therapists have been and I really feel like I have people on my side. I also feel like I have aspirational goals in terms of independence and getting some sort of quality of life back. It feels good to entertain the possibility of escaping these four walls."
    For more about this blog post see here

    These thoughts stayed in my mind since I read them. I am grateful that the physical problems people with ME encounter are taking serious. There is hope for us yet.

    Love and health to you all.

    As always it is so nice to know I have your company! 
    If you like to comment on any of the above, would you be so kind
     to write it in the comment box below, instead of on Facebook? 
    This way other blog visitors can read it too, 
     and I don't miss your comment when I am not logging on to Facebook. Thank you X