A book launch with Sarah Beeson MBE, bespoke poetry and PND

OurCountryNurseThis summer, I was invited by Sarah Beeson MBE and her daughter Amy, co-authors of parenting book Happy Baby Happy Family, to be part of their latest book launch for their third book, Our Country Nurse. This book is the second in a two-part series based on Sarah’s journey to becoming one of the youngest health visitors in the UK.

I first met Amy and Sarah in person at the launch of part one of Sarah’s memoirs, The New Arrival, in 2014, having connected beforehand on social media and it’s been lovely to follow their journey as they have published a book a year since then. As I had been planning to read the latest book anyway, I was excited to be involved in its  launch and to read it pre-publication in order to get the creative juices flowing!

I enjoyed ‘meeting’ the various characters in the book – some of whom I liked a lot less than others… and learning more about the challenges and successes of Sarah’s early career. There are some lovely touching moments and some storylines I was very keen to see resolved as I felt real concern for the characters. There is also a bit of light relief! I could have written poems about many of the characters but chose two who jumped out at me the most… Dr. Botton, who… Well, let’s just say I ‘liked less’ than his colleague, the lovely Dr. Drake… and one of the mums Sarah helped, Jackie Bowyer.

Here’s a sample from my poem about Dr. Botton; ‘I’m the man’:

No, just give the baby some morphine, that will shut him up
Now excuse me for a second, I need to refill my cup
It’s been at least an hour since I last had a drink
And I need to get back to the golf course… What? No, I don’t care what you think…

The poem I wrote about Jackie though, I want to share in its entirety because, although it’s not representative of her character, this part of her journey really struck me and the resulting poem speaks to something that touches many of us, however lightly, at some point in out lives.

If you prefer to read and digest in your own time there’s a full text version you can read over on medium.

To find out if Dr. Botton really is so awful (he is), and to get a fuller picture of Jackie Bowyer’s story, you’ll need to read Our Country Nurse, which was released last week.

If you’ve been touched by postnatal depression yourself or know someone who has, the Pandas Foundation may be able to help. Pandas is launching the first Pre & Post Natal Depression Awareness Week (#PNDAW16) in the UK from 5th – 11th September.

WPP People: Poet Lidy Wilks shares her creative process

I promised you I’d introduce you to more of ‘my people’ this year and it’s been a while but I have a few good ones (not that any of my people are bad!) lined up. First up is poet Lidy Wilks. I first ‘met’ Lidy via twitter, and last April she invited me to take part in her 30 Days of Poetry Love interview series, which I really enjoyed.

I’d been meaning to invite Lidy here to ask her a few questions so when she said she would be releasing her debut poetry chapbook, Can You Catch My Flow? this spring, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce her, learn more about her creative process and to find out the inspiration behind one of her poems, Resilient, which I love and has also resonated with some of my coaching clients. So, I’ll hand you over to Lidy now…

Thanks for having me today Rachael!

Can You Catch My FlowThe creative process of writing Can You Catch My Flow? was no different from writing an individual poem. An idea whispered to me. Then I listened and followed. I collected my old poems and wrote some new ones, ordering them to create the tone they wanted to be in. Arranging and rearranging, revising and editing, so the reader can follow along, and evoke their own trip down memory lane.

Assembling the chapbook reinforced my love for this creative process of listening and following. The thrill of enchantment from the journey of inspiration and writing a poem, and the surprise at where it will lead me.

Take for example, my poem Resilient, which was actually inspired by the movie Ever After, a film whose plot centers on the true love story behind the Grimm brothers’ Cinderella. The main character, Danielle de Barbarac, is in another confrontation with Prince Henry. When she says this line: “They are the legs you stand on and that position demands respect.” I heard: They are the legs you stand on. Legs. We are legs. Legs. Weight. Burdensome. Fulfilling. Round and round, those words filled my head. Demanding me to follow the breadcrumbs of ‘leg’, and ‘stand’ to create a poem. So I did what I’ve always done. I listened and followed. And little by little, the poem took shape. It told me the tone it wanted to take, words and lines rearranged or cut. And with some constructive criticism from the creator of VerseWrights, eventually Resilient was born.


Can I tell you why I that particular quote inspired me so? Especially when I’ve watched the movie at least a hundred times? Nope, I can’t. The closest explanation I can get is that everyone has a weight that they bear. Maybe it’s thrust upon us, or we take it on ourselves willingly. Yet to bear that weight without giving up is amazing, is it not…?

Can You Catch My Flow? is Lidy’s debut release. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children and when she’s not writing, can be found adding to her anime, book and manga library, while eating milk chocolate and sipping a glass of Cabernet. Her book is available now at Amazon and you can get to know her better over at her blog, Paving My Author’s Road.

Like this? Sign up for more!

The Power of Poetry

Earlier this month I shared a piece of poetry in my second ever vlog, in which I set my intentions for the year ahead. One of these intentions was to share more poetry.

As I sat down today to write my blog, I looked at my notes. I had planned to write something on writing to create real connection. I had scribbled down some notes on understanding your audience, actually caring about them and how they want to feel before even beginning to craft your message (this is why I prefer to work with smaller, heart-centred businesses)… But then my mind wandered. I probably will write that post someday but today is not that day.

Having set my intention to write and share more poetry, this has been on my mind more and more. I have written some new poetry but nothing share-worthy so far this year. I was looking through other poems and books for inspiration and was reminded of how many different ways I use poetry – in my coaching work as well as commissioned pieces for business and personal use – and why it is such a powerful medium.

There is something about poetry that bypasses the conscious mind. So often, things we know but perhaps are not ready to admit or confront, we shut down using intellectual arguments. But as Lewis, Amini and Lannon, authors of A General Theory of Love (a fascinating book on the science of human emotions) say,

“Where intellect and emotion clash, the heart often has the greater wisdom.”

So, for those who are open to it, poetry can be the quickest way to speak directly to that inner wisdom. It tricks the conscious mind with its pretty metaphors and slips in discreetly, so that emotions are stirred before you even begin to really process the what the words mean.

Improbable poetry_WritingPeoplePoetry

Words, say Lewis, Amini and Lannon, can only be understood by the neocortical brain, the most recent brain in terms of evolution and the only one that can process the abstract… But it is the earlier limbic brain – the brain responsible for communication and emotional connection – to which poetry speaks.

This is well illustrated by a comment on the poem I shared in my last blog, in which Alice from The Filling Glass said “You said so many interesting things here I couldn’t take it all in”. I’ve also had people say, “I have no idea what you said but I feel good”! And there are so many lines I’ve heard and read – too many to list here, and many of which I cannot fully recall, that have moved me in ways that reason cannot explain. What I remember is the feeling. It’s a knowing, an understanding, a realisation, an acceptance. It starts in my chest and rises, often spilling over as my eyes fill with emotion.

This is why I my love affair with words will always begin and end with poetry. It’s why I started writing and no matter what else I am writing, it is still Why I Write.

What are your thoughts on poetry? Do you like it? Does it move you in the ways I’ve described or does it leave you cold? I’d love to know your thoughts so please do leave a comment below!

Like this? Sign up for more!

On intentions, parenting and poetry… Happy New Year!

I hope this year has started well for you… I’m not going to write to much here as – for the first time since I promised more videos back in September – I have actually recorded a vlog for you!*

In just seven minutes of screen time (you can spare seven minutes, right?) I share some of my intentions for the year ahead, offer support with your resolutions (or intentions, or goals, whatever you prefer to call them), talk parenting and share a poem to see you into the New Year.

*Sorry about the background noise, hope that it’s still clear enough!

Here are some of the links I referred to in the video, in case you’re interested 🙂

Monika’s Story
Proudly Imperfect Parents
My personal blog (where I’ve been keeping my poetry), Honest Speaks.

Want support with your intentions/goals/resolutions?

You can email or tweet me…
Or leave a comment on my Facebook page.

Like this? Sign up for more!