It was posted at Alexandra Brown’s blog and I had the honour of being her first guest post. You can read the original post here:
When I fell ill last year, I was unable to do anything. I wasn’t allowed to read, to write, to watch television. Not that I would have been able to do that anyway. All I could do was sleep. Being unable to write or read nearly killed me. I lived for words in all their different forms.
After two weeks I was able to read again. The first book I read was Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown. I wanted something light and fluffy to take me away. What I got instead was so much more than that.
Georgie has to deal with a lot more than your traditional chick lit heroine, but what touched me most were Georgie’s losing her mother from MS related illness. At the time, I read as an observer as my brother has MS. I instantly connected with Georgie’s pain and hoped she would be able to let it go.
Alexandra wrote about a topic that isn’t normally covered in chick lit. MS is certainly not light and fluffy subject matter. However I wish that wasn’t so. The women in chick lit novels are still people and as such, they deal with all kinds of issues. They’re supposed to be real women living normal lives and not everything in life is fluffy and glorious.
Cupcakes at Carrington’s handles the topic of MS so beautifully that it touched me as a reader and as someone who had a brother with the disease. When they finally figured out what was wrong with me and diagnosed me with relapse and remitting Multiple Sclerosis, I read Cupcakes at Carrington’s again and then a third time, this time with knowledge of what I had.
Alexandra has written a series that goes beyond chick lit. It is within the same genre but by telling her stories in a different way, she’s given chick lit a face lift, has given it heart. She’s given it soul.
I was thrilled to be reading again, but there was a block with my writing. I struggled for weeks with the brain fog, the numbness in my head due to the MS. The stories were still there, I just had to find a different way to tell them.
I had once seen a documentary about Marina Abramovic’s performance piece The Artist is Present. In the piece, she sits as herself and says nothing. All she does do is be completely present for every person that sits across from her.
At first, I wondered how this could be considered art but then grew to see how each person was moved by Marina’s presence and she by them. All this was done without saying a word.
All I wanted to do was write. I could only write a few words at first and could stitch those words together into a poem. However, if I was going to write poems, I wanted to do it a bit differently.
You see, first and foremost, I’m a story teller. I tell tales, spin yarns, create myths. For that, there can’t be just my voice. I find poems are a deeply private piece of that writers soul. They are reaching into themselves and pulling up something tangible.
There is a piece of me in everything I write. I’m sure many writers can agree with me on this. There are characters that I’ve created that look like me, some that have my traits, my sense of humour. I usually tell someone that the best way to get to know me is to read something I’ve written. I’m all through out it my stories.
Poems are more personal, however, like a memoir. The writer is laying bare a moment in time, something that touched them. I wanted to tell stories with my poems. The poems contained in Talking to the Sky are very personal and they are an exploration of strength as I went on a journey to find myself again. However, they aren’t just my voice. Like any good story, there are other characters.
I ended up writing down random conversations I had with people or been part of. Other poems expressed conversations I’d wanted to have and things that remained left unsaid. Some were based in fancy and flight. All the poems had one thing in common: they all involved talking in some way.
By writing the poems in this way, I was able to look deeper than just a random moment, I could look at myself, at what I needed to learn. I’m still learning about myself with every poem and every word I put to paper. I’m still writing my own story and I have no idea how it will end but that’s half the fun isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what the next chapter will bring.