Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Defining Moments: Platforms for the Storyteller




Have you ever had a defining moment, when something happens and suddenly you realise exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing with your life? I have had a fair few of them. They are like sign posts, guiding me to the next chapter of my story. 

When I look back, the first defining moment that I can remember, is when I was 5 years old, stood on the stage at the London Palladium with Ronnie Corbett, playing Buttons. 


I nagged and nagged my Mum to take me to the London Palladium and as luck would have it, on the night that we went, the producers selected children from the audience to come on stage and be part of the pantomime.  I'll be honest, there was no way on this earth that I was NOT going to get chosen! I put on my best smile and with a cheeky retort, got myself onto the stage. It was an experience that would shape my whole life. 

Ronnie spoke to us, one by one. He was so kind and generous with the stage, encouraging us to sing and recite nursery rhymes. Doubtless, he was ad-libing and in hindsight, likely making time for the costume change of Cinderella, who I could see as clear as day from where I had been placed. As I gazed back stage, I watched 3 people, one on a step ladder, all changing Cinders into an enormous frock.


All my life, I have thought the woman getting ready for the ball was Olivia Newton John, but it transpires I was wrong. Today I found out that it was in fact, Clodagh Rodgers, an Irish singer and actress, who worked alongside Ronnie on the Panto circuit for many years. But oddly, it wasn't this moment that shaped my future.





Whilst looking out from the stage, all I could see was complete darkness. Blinded by the bright lights, I became acutely aware of how the story of Cinderella made the audience feel. It was tangible. Every intake of breath, every gasp of awe, became a symbol of their collective presence. They were no longer an audience of many people, they responded to the story, as one.

By some kind of alchemy, the auditorium had forgotten all things, other than the story in front of them. They laughed at the same time, held silence at the same time; instinctively together, like a shoal of fish, becoming one being and I knew, in that moment, the importance of storytelling to the human experience and more succinctly, my role within it. 

Since that moment, and according to my Mum even before it, I have spent my every spare minute writing poems, short stories and songs, finding ways to share them with others in such a way that they are able to forget all things, other than the immediacy of now and  the collective presence of humanity.

I have every faith that The Universe is my Fairy Godmother. The challenge I set her is this: To unearth new, deaf, tinnitus & hyperacusis friendly platforms from which I can still be the storyteller, poet & songwriter that I have always been, since the day that I was born. Creating platforms that meet the needs of my new disability will not just benefit me. I will be trailblazing ways of creating potential platforms for others who have similar needs. (I can feel a fanfare coming ... )

For now, I will carry on making work, for my ink does not just write words; it is an integral part of my story.




Saturday, 15 September 2018

Wedding, Handfasting Ceremony or BOTH!




Welcome to a personal glimpse into our beautiful wedding day and hand-fasting ceremony from earlier this month. 


I first married Jeff, 30 years ago. We've been best friends and soul mates ever since, but life chipped away and along the journey, we lost our way for a bit. We got divorced 10 years ago but found we could not keep apart. It seems the Universe had planned for us to be together, forever.

Here we are the first time round ... 

As life ticks on, we have learnt how utterly blessed we are to have each other, how much we need each other, that we shine like a beacon for each other, not just in this lifetime, but in all lifetimes. We are better people when we are together. We have great fun and absolutely love each others company. So, when Jeff asked me if I would like to marry him again, I didn't hesitate.


We wanted a very quiet wedding, in fact, we didn't really want a wedding at all, we just wanted to get married. We went along to the registry office to see if we could pop in, with no fuss.



The room for 'popping in' was quite dreary, so the registrar kindly showed us the lovely Old 6th form library, which we both fell in love with. It made perfect sense to get married in here, given that I am a writer. It reminded me of a little Hogwarts library.


The room was just big enough for me and Jeff, the registrars and our 'family'. We didn't have a wedding breakfast planned, but it felt a bit stark just ending the day there.


Then I had a thought. In the Summer, I played a tiny part in the creation of a roundhouse owned by our dear friends, Jenni and Ali Chapter at Gorslwyd Farm in Aberporth. I tentatively asked Jenni & Ali about having a handfasting in the round house and they were thrilled at the idea. Not only that, Jenni very kindly offered Afternoon Tea and a Gong Bath in her magnificent studio for our guests, whilst we popped off to a hotel for a bit of 'us' time. Marvellous! 


So, then I spoke with Jim Fox, who was my Sound Therapy Tutor, as I knew he is also a Celebrant. Jeff and I met with Jim at Skanda Vale Hospice where we both volunteer, and had a chat about how the ceremony might be. Jim did a fabulous Ceremony for us and we can't thank him enough.


Mmm but how would we capture the day? I dropped my friend Libby a message to see if she might take some snaps for us, and then she asked her husband, who happens to be a photographer (I honestly didn't know that when I asked Libby) And Luke very kindly offered to come and capture our day for us. 


As I am sure you will agree, his photographs are absolutely stunning. We absolutely love them. They have captured the essence of both ceremonies and are a lifetime keepsake for us. He really is a fabulous photographer and such a  lovely guy.


What a special day of love it was, one that we will remember forever and one that proves you don't need a lot of money to have a special day to remember, just a lot of LOVE.

You can see more of Luke's work HERE
You can find out about Gorslwyd Farm HERE
You can contact Jim Fox HERE

The Registry Office Bouquets and button holes were by The Greenhouse in Pencader, our dear friend Avril owns it, do pop in if you drive by.

The flowers for the roundhouse were kindly given by friends and we also had bouquets made by Angela Sadler in Llandysul, to gift as a thank you  to Ali & Jenni and to Libby & Luke.

Also many thanks to Jenni's son, who made us a lovely Wedding cake.





Friday, 14 September 2018

The Giving Tree : A Story in Draft




Hello friends, what a wonderful thing facebook live is :) This morning, a story winged its way into my heart. All day it was waving its face in mine until at 8pm tonight, when I typed it up and decided to do a facebook live reading of it straight from the printer, in draft, to get feedback before editing. And now, by the wonders of modern technology, I am able to share it here with you, too. Hope you like it. Have a great weekend, folks.


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Hyperacusis Awareness: A Personal Insight



Hello there, friends. This video is a facebook live from my talk tonight about Hyperacusis, what it is, how it impacts my life, why I think we need to be mindful of it as a society, as well as some suggestions as to how we can do to create access ... 


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

PARLOUR PRESS, LLANDYSUL BOOK FAYRE: 29th September 2018. Come & Meet the Inspirational, Self Published and Independent Authors, Publishers and Book Sellers.



I am so excited to be organising a BRAND NEW PARLOUR PRESS BOOK FAYRE in LLandysul at the beautiful Porth Hotel on Saturday 29th September 2018, overlooking the serene and calm River Teifi, quite likely my most favourite of places. 





In this blog post, I give you a glimpse into the fascinating work of the Authors, Publishers, Book Sellers and those that hand-make books, who are coming to meet with you at Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre, to talk about their work, sell their books, and perform live readings for us. I am so excited, I could nearly burst! 

Our first ever Book Fayre gives a platform to those who are with Independent Publishers or who Self Publish, so if you have ever wanted to publish your story,  then why not come and meet the people who are already doing it.


Cheryl Beer


Hi, I'm Cheryl. I am a poet, a songwriter and I also write short inspirational stories. People have said kind things about my work over the years and I have won lots of lovely awards but that's not why I write. I feel very deeply that creative writing and publishing changes lives, empowers us, gives us wings, even when we don't know that we want to fly. I have been writing since before I could hold a pen. It is in my blood. On many occasions, writing has healed me and also made positive change for the 1000's of people that I have worked with over the years, through Parlour Press. 

Even though I have recently become deaf, living with hearing loss, tinnitus and hyperacusis, what gives me hope, is writing my books and creating platforms for others to share their work, too.

You can find out more at:
www.cherylbeer.com  
www.parlourpress.net

Carol Lovekin


Carol is an absolute inspiration. I remember visiting her some years back, when she was working tirelessly to write her first book, Ghostbird. Since then, she has been signed by Honno The Welsh Women's Press and not only did they publish her first book, it was so utterly brilliant and received so well, that Honno continue their publishing relationship with her and now she has a second book published with them called, Snow Sisters.

As Carol says herself on her website, she was at an age where many are retiring, and instead, she is now living her life as a published writer, something for which she is truly grateful. 

If ever we were to be encouraged to live our dreams, it is Carol's story that will inspire us.


Wendy Steele


The very lovely Wendy Steele is an author, wise woman and goddess. She writes contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. She is such a beautiful person and oozes with creativity, writing with  passion and is totally committed to her art. Wendy will be bringing her Book Collection 'The Flowerpot Witch' to Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre and we're so excited to welcome her.


Lazarus Carpenter


It gives me great pleasure to introduce the inspirational Lazarus Carpenter who is joining us at Parlour Press, LLandysul Book Fayre on 29th September with his Gold Shelf Book Crach Ffinnant - The Prophecy. I am currently reading it, and it has me hooked but actually, Laz's story itself, is an absolute inspiration. At 65 years of age he has been signed by Words Matter Publishing in the USA, who have just commissioned a follow up to his book. Laz is also in talks about film rights, proving that at any age, it is possible to live a dream. 

Lindsey Kent & Susan


How wonderful to have such creative collaborators with us at Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre on 29th September at The Porth Hotel. Susan Evans and Lindsey Kent better known as 'Shrimpy & the Pip' are excited to have launched their very first book together this year & will be sharing it with us on the 29th.

Beyond is 'a life affirming tale for all ages, lovingly created with gorgeous, vibrant illustrations to captivate the eye and compliment the tale.'

Susan and Lindsey draw inspiration for their work from how we treat each other and everyday opportunities for acts of kindness. Taking their lead from nature's harmony; Beyond reaches out to everything that beats inside of us. Both writers feel that Wales & a sense of home is their anchor, reaching out through their creativity and imagery.

Willow Jordan


When I first met Willow Jordan, I could almost sense her before seeing her. Her love, light and smile radiate and fill a space. She lives her life completely through holistic creativity. Last year, I bought one of her beautifully crafted handmade books. Enclosed was the most exquisite faerie tale that she had written herself ... it arrived in a lovely handmade velvet pouch and was filled with the sacred healing that is Willow. I am absolutely delighted that Willow is coming to our Book Fayre with a whole Collection of her spiritually crafted books. How lucky are we to take a bit of her home with us.

Francess 


With 35 years of studying and working within the healing arts as a Holistic and Well Being Therapist, Francess identifies emotional links between mind, body and spirit. She explores boundaries of love and fear emotionally, physiologically and psychologically in search of health, happiness and healing. 

After the Kinesiology technique of muscle testing was challenged as a form of divination by some Christians, Francess studied scripture for the healing message of Christ and conveys her understandings in her words with appreciation for the miracle of life. 

From the stars to the star fish her work addresses all in between to inspire peace, love and joy for healing and kindness to all nations for peace and heaven on earth.

Joolz Raven Stewart


In her own words  ... As a northern child, I always proclaimed to anyone who would listen,  'I'm going to live in Wales when I grow up!' Cosmic ordering at it's finest. I'm still in love with the mountains and valleys and now live in Crow cottage,  by the canal with my soulmate and hubby Jeff. I follow the wheel of the year a traditional pagan path. 'Awen' is Welsh druidic word for inspiration I'm sure that's what drew my here to this magical place. I also write children's books  versions of Welsh folk tales of Ceridwen, dragons, and Fae. Magic is everywhere.

Dan Blumgart


Isn't it funny how the Universe conspires to bring you all the right people. After a lovely lunchtime chat with my friend Bronia Lee I found out about Dan Blumgart, her son. It transpires that he is a travel blogger with a difference, capturing his journey in the most exquisitley artistic way.

Whether it's hitching a ride in a horse and cart in Romania or attempting to cycle across Namibia on a folding bike, Dan likes to travel differently. His illustrated journals follow him over 9 trips and 30 countries, documenting both the joys and miseries of the solo budget backpacker.

Karen Gemma Brewer


Very excited to welcome to our Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre, Guest Author, Award Winning Writer, Publisher & Bookshop Owner, Karen Gemma Brewer of Gwisgo Bookworm in Aberaeron.

Not only do we get to meet Karen herself at our Book Fayre, but she is bringing with her a selection of locally produced books in English and Welsh Language.

As well as supporting others, Karen is a fine songwriter and poet in her own right, so I'm really excited to meet her, as I am sure you will be, too.


Kellie Sayer


It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the lovely Kellie Sayer who is one of our Guest Book Sellers at Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre, The Porth Hotel on 29th September with her beautiful stand of Children's Books. Kellie is with Usborne Books. As a Full Time Mummy, running her Usborne Books Business enables her to work around her child care ... isn't that inspirational and Kellie is from Llandysul, so it makes perfect sense for her to join us at The Porth. Perhaps you'd like to stock up on beautiful children's books as an early Christmas gift or talk to her about how you might also work at Usborne Books. We can't wait to see Kellie and YOU

Thérésa Hedges Webb


Thérésa has been writing in many genres for a number of years, publishing her first novel ‘Our Little Miracle’, a cautionary sci-fi tale about genetics, in 2015.

Her recent short ‘Like Glass’ is currently touring film festivals. A native of Llandysul, she is excited to be taking part in Parlour Press Book Fayre & we are very excited that she is part of what promises to be, a truly beautiful day.

Caroline Lane & Anne Battye


I am so excited to introduce you to my dear friends, Caroline Lane & Ann Battye who will be attending Parlour Press Book Fayre with their first book. It's an exciting collaboration! Let me explain ...


The pair have been experimenting for some years now, with natural dyes made from plants and vegetables ... it's been fascinating finding out quirky things like- advocado skins turn wool pink ... who'd have thunk it? Absolutely beautiful work and they kept saying to me that they would make their findings into a book 'one day'. 

Well, with a little bit of gentle persuasion, I am thrilled to say that day is now ... what's more, they are hand-making the books from the materials that they experimented on throughout their hand dying journey, What an absolutely beautiful take on Self Publishing books.

Michelle Jones aka PETRA PUBLISHING


I can't tell you what it means to me that my dear friend Chelle Jones from Petra Publishing is a Guest at our Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre on 29th September at The Porth Hotel.

I just know that you will love her as much as I do. She is one of the beautiful ones, a visionary manager at The Caerphilly Parent Network & a wonderful artist in her own right, she'll be sharing Petra's new release and talking about the publishing journey.

When I asked Michelle for a biog, she listed a whole host of people from designers to volunteers and off course, her team is a very important part of the Petra success, but I want Parlour Press Book Fayre to be a place where we celebrate Michelle herself, who, in her own words, usually prefers to be in the shadow.

We met in Caerphilly 17 years ago when I first set up Parlour Press in Youth Services & I am so proud to say that she and Head for Arts lovingly picked up the publishing legacy after I had left the County and now have their own thriving community publishing house, having published 48 beautiful books, such as 'Granny Grey saves the day' written by survivors of domestic abuse for children in a refuge.

Lisa Shambrook


I am so excited to introduce Lisa Shambrook who is one of the Guest Authors joining us at Parlour Press, Llandysul Book Fayre on 29th September at The Porth Hotel. Come along and chat to her about her flash fiction, short stories and novels.

Lisa is a sensory writer, delving into sensitive subject matters that will lift your spirit and steal your heart. Not only has she been part of 10 Anthologies, you can also talk with her about her 'Surviving Hope Novels'. Personally, I am excited about her beautiful new book 'A Symphony of Dragons' a prelude to her forthcoming 'Seren Stone Chronicles'.


Nicola Beechsquirrel



In her own words ...  

I have lived in rural Wales for many years, since leaving London where I was brought up. The rugged and beautiful countryside is much more to my taste than city life. After my children grew up and left home, I studied at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter; and gained a B. A. in archaeology and anthropology. The computer skills I learned in the process have given me the confidence and ability to create the books I have been longing to write for years. 

My current work in progress is now nearing completion after much research and organisation. It is a transcript of a talk given to Rowledge Womens' Institute by my grandmother, Ivy Hindley, describing a journey to Kashmir undertaken by herself and three colleagues from the Wesleyan Methodist Mission in south India where she worked from 1909-1915. I have used photographs and paintings made by my grandmother whilst in Kashmir as illustrations.

FOR MORE DETAILS OR TO LINK DIRECTLY WITH THE AUTHORS PLEASE VISIT THE PARLOUR PRESS FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE.

SEE YOU ON THE 29TH SEPTEMBER, FOLKS








Say it in the Sand: A Creative Way to Grieve


My dear friend, Sean Corcoran has launched an International project based in Ireland, to help people and families come to terms with their grief.


'Say it in the Sand' has been born from his involvement with the 'Campaign to Prevent Suicide'. Whilst working as a Sand Artist with families during this project, he found that people felt an enormous sense of release by writing messages or names of loved ones and watching the sea reclaim them from the sand.



This has inspired him to devise 'Say it in the Sand',  launched on World Suicide Prevention Day, inviting you to release your grief, privately, on your favourite beach, or if you wish, sharing your sand messages on his page for others to take comfort. Already, in just 24 hours the response has been overwhelming, with people sharing their moving pictures of messages to loved ones who have passed away, such as Tricia Bradfield, who sadly lost her dad and her daughter within 8 weeks of each other in 2011. 

'A Message to Grandad' made by Tricia Bradfield


I feel very privileged indeed that Sean has used an extract of my music for the film. We have lost 2 members of our family to suicide, 2 beautiful young men. The pain never leaves us as a family. By creating music for Sean's Campaign it feels like a small way of reaching out to others and saying, 'we're here, we know, we see you.'


Thank you Sean for your pioneering, innovative and meaningful work. You can join the facebook group page for more details click here ... SAY IT IN THE SAND












Sunday, 9 September 2018

Daisychains : Longing for a child


Singer/Songwriter Tophy Llewellyn Dye

It was about 20 years ago, I was touring the festivals throughout the Summer and I found myself in a very beautiful part of the world, Hebden Bridge. I performed my set at the Acoustic Festival, including a new song that I had just written, called Daisychains. It is a song about a woman longing for a child. I wrote it whilst imagining how beautiful it would be to hold a babe in my arms, but it was never meant to be for me.

In the audience that day, was a young man and his friend who ran up to the stage at the end, to tell me how much they loved my songs. Some weeks later, when I got home to South Wales, I found a cassette in my letter box from one of them, a fine musician called, Tophy. I was so blown away by his work. His soaring piano and heartfelt emotion poured into every lyric. I remember weeping.

The next time I was up North, I contacted Tophy and he performed before I came on. Just beautiful and we've stayed in touch ever since, helped by the invention of Facebook.

So, when Michael Kennedy of Welsh Connections Magazine and Radio Tircoed, asked me if he could compile a tribute album of my songs, performed by different artists, Tophy immediately came to mind.

Since experiencing sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and hypercusis, I am not able to perform live anymore. The lovely Michael Kennedy has arranged this loving tribute album, which we have called 'Fallen on Deaf Ears' and is being released by Death Monkey Records in Swansea, as a fundrasier for my dementia friendly radio station ...  www.soundmemoriesradio.com

We have such a beautiful array of wonderful artists recording their interpretations of my songs, yet staying true to them, which felt important.


And which song did Tophy choose? Daisychains .. Just magical. We could never have guessed at Hebden Bridge, that 20 years later, Tophy would be recording such a beautiful interpretation of my song. I just love it. It is so very special to hear a man singing about a longing for a child, because off course, men do long to be fathers, we just don't allow them to express that so much in mainstream music ... We (me and my husband, Jeff) listened to Tophy's recording and were both completely breath taken. Thank you so, so much to you, Tophy and to your engineer, Luke Collins. 

I just can't wait for you all to hear it. Meanwhile, here is the original track by me, available at my Bandcamp ...