Dear Poetry Shelf fans
It is weird going public after keeping my personal hurdles private for so long! Talking so much about me rather than about you.
I am now at Day 153 and making great progress on my long slow bumpy uncertain recovery road. My specialist is pleased with where I am at, and reassures me that bumps are part of it. He says it probably takes a year to get to a smoother zone after a bone marrow transplant. Normal is a distant horizon and I try not to dwell on what I can’t do. What I can do is a far more helpful position to be in.
My recipe for a calm, happy, strong headspace includes reading, writing, blogging, baking, walking, doing jigsaws and watching things. Children’s books are essential, but I am also loving novels and poetry.
For the first time since I went to hospital, I recently hit a dark hole and found it really hard to focus on my mantra to Live and Love the Day. I think it was because my body has delivered all kinds of challenging bumps that I have weathered – I thought I had done so well getting though them all. Then it threw another one at me: dizziness, wooziness, light-headedness. Who knows when it will ease up! My head has been the key to keeping strong and calm and happy, and miraculously I have been able to write. So it threw me off course to be spinning-out, forgetful, foggy, near fainting.
Ah, the doubt. We all have doubt – I found myself double doubting in my dark hole that I could write or blog. Telling myself I was the crappiest writer and blogger in the world! But I kept/keep/will keep doing as way of being. Picking up a new poetry or children’s book is a vital diversion but I am making mistakes in my reviews. I don’t want to get names wrong or book details wrong. I want to honour and celebrate the fabulous books we are producing in Aotearoa. For the past week or so, I have wondered if I should put my blogs back on holiday – but no, I am selfish. They are too important to my well-being. They are my anchor and kite, my lifeline and source of joy.
I want to keep doing them but I want you to kindly tell me when I make mistakes. I will be grateful not offended.
If I don’t answer your email straightaway that is to be expected – but if too long goes by nudge me as I may have missed it.
Ah, the joy. My idea to get children to illustrate poems by authors is one of the most rewarding things I have done on Poetry Box. They are so keen to do it, it gives them truckloads of pleasure and satisfaction. It draws them closer to a poem and they create something where imagination knows no bounds. Rules and regulations are not paramount.
Your support is astonishing. Your understanding. I used the word ‘occasional’ to protect myself, knowing there will be days I can’t even turn my lap top on. Books I don’t review. Yet I always seem to have a gathering of posts ready to go, and am able to post poems and reviews most days. I am sticking with the word ‘occasional’!
Yes, it is a long slow bumpy recovery road, but having a happy zone, a support crew and a big stack of books to read and jigsaws to do, is gold. Having two new books in the world, so lovingly steered by Penguin, is also gold. I got sad I couldn’t be out in the world promoting them, but Poetry Box has helped. AND being part of our sublime writing communities matters so very much. You matter. Thank you.