Over the years I’ve found all sorts of ways to overcome my inclination towards chaos in my writing, but none worked as well as the day I started working to a vision.
I began writing in my early twenties as a form of catharsis, although I’m not sure I was really aware of it at the time, I just talked to my journal. I continued all through the years of bringing up four children. I have many volumes and I definitely wouldn’t want them published.
I also started writing a novel, ‘Chasing the Wind,’ and this time I was aware that my own heart was healing as I poured out my soul onto the pages. In time, I forgot about the book.
When a miscarriage hit me really badly, I wrote a poem. I took it with me to a writers’ workshop and showed it to a woman who was a miscarriage support counsellor. She asked me for a copy to share with others who had suffered a miscarriage and I began to realise that my words could heal other people’s hearts too. I got my novel out and began to work on it again.
My mind often has to be stilled before it is free to think and create. One day, I was lying on a beach in sunny Cyprus, which is always a place of inspiration for me. I was thinking, reflecting and praying when the word Heartsease came into my head. For me Heartsease is a beautiful word, feminine because it is the name of a flower and heart-healing, not only because of the parts that make up the word, but also because at one time the flower was used to heal heart conditions.
Heartsease encompassed all that I wanted to do in writing and suddenly I had a vision. I wanted a strap-line to go with it and I toyed with lots of expressions until I finally came up with, ‘Healing the heart with words of comfort and life’. The word Heartsease had come by inspiration but the strap-line took time and effort.
My husband and I spent a romantic Valentines evening, in a restaurant, designing the logo for the website. As an ex-nurse, the idea of a flat-line ECG trace with the word heartsease in the middle, leading to normal sinus rhythm, death to life, seemed a good idea so now I had a logo. My husband set up the website with help from both my son and my son-in-law and I set to work on the content.
Having a vision pulled everything together for me. I still feel my own heart heal as I write poems about Betrayal, Forgiveness or the effect of Bitter Words. As I write that sort of poem, I go through the stages of the healing process; from anger to grief, leading to acceptance, forgiveness and ultimately healing. My hope is that I can lead my reader with me on their own journey through healing to life.
My heart often stays unhealed because I cannot recognize the truth about myself. In my first book, my main character, Bobby, has to come to a place of acknowledging that he is not only abused, but could easily become the abuser because he harbours anger towards his father. That surprised me and caused me to look at unresolved anger in my own life. The book shows clearly what Bobby could change about his life but recognizes that there are things over which he had no power. My aim is that the reader sympathises with him, identifies with him and then grows with him as the story progresses.
M.Scott-Peck, in The Road Less Travelled said, ‘Mental Health is a commitment to reality at any cost.’ A novel has the capacity to hold up a mirror to our hearts and allow us to see the truth about ourselves in a way which is non-threatening.
Setting out my vision has helped to focus my writing. When I have too many ideas and not enough time, I ask myself, ‘Is this in line with my vision?’ Every writer’s vision will be different, but for me it is about healing the heart.