This coming week will see the launch of ‘From the Mountains to the Sea’ which contains some of my poetry illustrated by Les Dunford’s photographs. Both the poems and photographs have been inspired by the landscape in this beautiful corner of Scotland . About half the poems have been published in poetry magazines and online on Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse and the StAnza map of Scotland, but the rest are ‘out there’ for the first time.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, profits from this collection will go to Versus Arthritis (formerly known as Arthritis Research UK). This body is conducting research into fibromyalgia which my husband Les has been living with for around twenty five years. I hope that the publication of the book will help to raise the profile of this condition.
We know of many who have had to cope with chronic pain, chronic fatigue and yet because there are no outward signs of this condition seem to be very fit and healthy. There is no give away limp or pale face to indicate a health problem. In fact, because pressure for longer than a short time on any part of the body causes pain, walking is far more comfortable than sitting still or lying down. Being out in the fresh air each day and walking can give the impression of being fighting fit!
Mind over matter, thinking positively about what is possible, not dwelling on what can’t be done is the best way of coping. There are times when depression inevitably sets in and it’s a struggle to even continue doing minor everyday chores, but keeping busy, not giving in has more effect than saying goodbye cruel world.
After many hours, or rather days, weeks and months of work, we have at last got the poetry collection From the Mountains to the Sea to the proof-reading stage. The photos selected complement the poems perfectly and I think they really give the book a lift.
Hopefully we’ll have the book on sale in time for Christmas and with luck the launch and subsequent readings will help to raise the profile of fibromyalgia and raise money for Versus Arthritis and their research into this debilitating condition.
The book will be perfect bound, has sixty eight pages of photographs by Les Dunford alongside my poems inspired by this beautiful corner of Scotland and written since we moved here in 2002. (NB – Photos on this blog have been taken by me – his are better!)
About half of the poems in the book have been published in various poetry magazines and online on StAnza’s Poetry map of Scotland and Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse but the rest haven’t been published before.Watch this space for more information re launch dates etc!
Writing can be a solitary business and it always helps to have support and inspiration from others.
Dawn Bauling of Indigo Dreams has been very encouraging. She has published a number of my poems over the years in various editions of their poetry magazine The Dawntreader. In 2013 my poem Balancing Life was published along with a photograph taken by Les on Monreith beach a couple of years earlier. Life with fibromyalgia can involve rather a lot of balancing of time, energy and a lot more.
precarious no visible
means of support,
one on top of another.
Curious he stared, wondered at
this slender base bearing such
‘Life’s all a matter of balance,’
he said, ‘don’t collapse, try
to keep hold of positives,
don’t let negatives win.
is an art
Apart from wanting to do something about getting my writing ‘out there’, I have an added incentive to work on putting a collection of my poems together.
Any money raised from sales of my anthology and readings will go to Arthritis Research UK and in particular research into fibromyalgia.
I have not only a husband, but also a son and daughter, suffering from this chronic condition. Not surprisingly, I would dearly like to read that one day soon, someone will discover a means of improving life for them and the many like them.
As it isn’t a terminal condition, fibromyalgia does not get the high profile support of other conditions. There is no cure as yet and people have to find a means of coping, knowing that they have to live with the chronic pain and fatigue for the rest of their lives. Not easy.
Some research is now being done. Arthritis Research UK is funding a study looking into the body and brain mechanisms of pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia, and also a study investigating the relationship between the weather and chronic pain.
Hopefully I can do something to raise awareness of this.