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0 In Blog/ Writing

The Advent of Emazon

A portmanteau, in linguistics, is the merging of two words.

Today, I felt the need to coin a portmanteau. I took ‘Emily’ and ‘Amazon’ and made ‘Emazon’.

Emazon.

Probably not the best portmanteau ever, but very possibly the most important for me.

Today, I received four Emazon reviews for The Power of Seven.  Four people have, independently, told me what they think of the book.  So, for the first time ever, I bring you Emazon reviews:

‘To say I enjoy this book would be an understatement’

‘Your new book is amazing, and really touched my heart’

‘I think this is your best book yet’

‘I love it’

I received an email the other day that shows Emazon still needs Amazon;

‘I have just ordered The Power of Seven from Amazon. It will be lovely to be immersed in your warm, approachable and welcoming writing style once again.’

I said at the launch event for Power of Seven; “If you’d like to leave a review on Amazon, please do.  If you wouldn’t, then don’t.” No pressure.

I can now say the same about Emazon reviews.

Reviews are lovely to receive, whatever feedback they give.  Emazon or Amazon.

In fact, they’re Brilltastic! 

Thank you.

0 In #everydayrainbows/ Blog/ Writing

T(h)eresa and Me

As I looked around the Hall, I saw the people behind the doors. The people who read the words I’d once pushed through their letterboxes. This was my seventh book, but the first time I’d held the book celebration close to my home. I’ve lived in this neighbourhood a long time, I used to deliver newspapers here. Pushing other peoples’ words through doors for people to read. And now people had walked through the door of the community hall, to celebrate with me over words I’d written.

It was no coincidence that they were there. They’d chosen to come. Neighbours and friends from near and far.
The coincidence of the day was reserved for something else.

On October 3rd 2018, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave a conference speech. In it, she mentioned her goddaughter, who struggled with cancer and lost her fight last year.
Teresa.
On October 3rd 2018, I said a few words at The Power of Seven book celebration. In doing so, I mentioned my friend, who struggled with cancer and lost her fight last year.
Teresa.

I dedicated The Power of Seven to her:
For Teresa
Remember how you despaired of my ineptitude with anything scientific or mathematical?
You’d have been amused to see a book of mine with ‘seven’ in the title.
But you won’t see it.
Because you’re seeing far, far better things.
As you said, you’re ‘partying in heaven before me’.
Don’t forget to save me a quiet corner.

Teresa was spoken of twice in one day.
Once in a broadcast to millions, and once in a hall not far from where I live.
Once by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and once by me.
Once in relation to her earthly legacy; Theresa May’s extra incentive regarding cancer treatment.
Giving human hope.
Once in relation to her spiritual legacy; the encouragement to remember that heaven is ahead.
Giving spiritual hope.

‘I’ll be partying in heaven before you.’

Teresa never doubted. Through it all, she trusted God.

Containing stories from my life, human stories, and weaving them together with verses and meditations on the bible, spiritual truths, it is a privilege to dedicate The Power of Seven to Teresa.
Beginning at creation, just as Teresa’s life began when God created her, working through ups and downs, challenges and less difficult times, the book ends with the hope of heaven. A hope Teresa never lost sight of. A hope now realised.

‘I’ll be partying in heaven before you.’

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21: 3&4)

Buy The Power of Seven here.

0 In Blog/ Writing

Tableu-ing Together

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Stratford-upon-Avon is a favourite place of mine.

It was there, back in 2001, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) – another favourite place of mine – that I nearly missed checking one off one of the items on my bucket-list-before-I-go-deaf.

If you’d like to know why I said ‘nearly missed’, see Still Emily.

Recently, I was at the RST again, to see a performance of Antony & Cleopatra (I recommend it).

I took my seat and was pleased to note that the screen displaying captions (text of speech) was directly opposite me on the other side of the stage.

I’d have a perfect view of the captions and the actors.

And so I did.

Until scenery rose up from the stage and blocked my view of the screen.

Well, half my view of it.

I could see half the words, but playing ‘fill in the blank’ when it comes to Shakespeare is a bit beyond me…

Thankfully, there was another screen.  It was behind and to one side of me, so involved me craning my neck to see;

but I could see.

During the interval, I mentioned to one of the ushers that in future perhaps they should not allocate my seat to people who need to see the captions.

She decided that ‘in future’ should be now and set about finding alternative seating for the second half.

This seat was in a much better location and the screen was only occasionally (and fleetingly) obliterated by scenery or actors.

Overall it was fine and I was able to enjoy the performance.

The RST ‘fixed’ what they could – moving seats – but, when they couldn’t fix it (the fact that I’d had to crane my neck to see the screen couldn’t be changed), they still stayed around.

They discussed it with me.

Despite the fact that they couldn’t change what had happened.

Maybe next time I go and see a play, I’ll be able to see it all easily.

I think so, because people took time to stop.

Took time to try and understand.

 

Another theatre trip springs to mind:

It was years ago and I was not planning to attend the performance.

I was planning to stay home alone, nursing my pain-filled and (at the time) sight-less eyes.

But, at the last minute, I felt the sofa move as my Mum sat down beside me….

‘What are you doing?’ I asked. ‘You’ll be late.’

‘I’m not going,’ she spelled on to my hand.

’What?! Why not?’

‘Because I want to stay here with you.’

’But why? There’s no point.  I’m just going to be sitting here.  You might as well go.  There’s nothing you can do to sort this.  You can’t help me.’

‘Well,’ she said. ‘I am staying anyway.’

And she did.

She didn’t change anything.

She didn’t fix anything.

She just stayed.

As she sat beside me, I realised that I had spoken the truth when I said that she couldn’t sort my eyes out.

They remained sore and unseeing.

I also realised that nothing could have been further from the truth than my words,

‘There’s nothing you can do to help me’.

(Taken from Still Emily)

A moment of pausing,

a time of just being there,

a ‘tableau-ing together’ in the midst of life

speaks volumes…

Image result for be there snoopy

 

 

 

4 In #everydayrainbows/ Blog/ Writing

The Month of May

Between the ages of about 6 and 10, May Day (otherwise known as May 1st) meant one thing for me: Maypole.

No, I don’t mean the nickname occasionally given to me in childhood, due to my height. That was more often ‘beanpole’, but anyway…

Dancing round the maypole was one of the highlights of my year. I was captivated by the different coloured ribbons that, as my classmates and I danced and weaved in and out, changed from hanging forlornly down the pole into a beautiful pattern. Making rainbows.

After I was 10, I no longer danced round the maypole (perhaps I was too much of a beanpole by then), but every year I remembered happy times of May Day maypole dancing.

Until the May Day when I was 16. That May Day became Mayday. ‘Mayday’ = a word used as a distress signal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday).

I was certainly distressed that day. I was lying in bed, not allowed to move, awaiting the brain surgery I was booked to have in a few weeks’ time.

As I write in Still Emily, the doctor ‘cleared his throat and gently broke the news. News I hadn’t been dreading, simply because it had never crossed my mind.  I had two large brain tumours. So large, they were about to kill me…’

Mayday! Mayday!

‘…just as he was leaving, he put a name to the diagnosis.

I had a condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Neuro… what? I couldn’t even pronounce it, let alone spell it.

And yet I had it.’

May Day became Mayday.

The ribbons and strands that made up my life unravelled in an instant. 

Maypole in reverse.

About 30 years after I first danced around a maypole on a gloriously sunny day, fascinated by the coloured ribbons making rainbows as they merged together, I wrote

‘There are always rainbows somewhere in the rain.’ Still Emily

Neurofibromatosis is not an easy path, for me or anyone else affected by it.  There’s lots of rain.

Mayday.

But the rainbows are there, too, weaving into patterns I’d never have dreamed of.

May Day.

If you’d like to know more about Neurofibromatosis in general, here is a good place to start: The Neuro Foundation 

If you’d like to know more about my own experience of Neurofibromatosis, you can read my story here: Still Emily 

May is Neurofibromatosis awareness month.

The very fact that you are reading this has raised awareness.  You are already well ahead of most of the population: you’ve now heard of Neurofibromatosis.

Thank you!