Last week I blew my own trumpet on Talking Books. I chose the theme ‘writing books for charity’ and, of course, Dandelions and Bad Hair Days (now available on Kindle) comes firmly within that category, raising funds for SANE. However, lots of other people have produced some wonderful work to support particular causes and charities and I thought it would be a good topic to discuss – what was the experience of those who had gone through the process and frankly, was it worth it?
My main guest was Jackie Burgoyne from the ‘All Write Then’ collective, a group that came together after meeting online via the Open University Creative Writing course. Jackie contacted me via the DABHD Facebook page to see if I had any advice to offer. I hope sharing my experience with her was useful and the group have certainly produced a great book – Still Me – which has been written to raise awareness of and funds for The Alzheimer’s Society. I have a copy – it is lovely, with some really heartfelt writing within its pages and I would heartily recommend buying a copy. It was lovely to find out that, quite by chance, the group also chose the dandelion as an image for the front cover.
I also shared the experiences of Esther Clark, whose OU Creative Writing group also pulled together an anthology called At Home With Words (which you can still purchase by clicking on the link and contacting Esther) for Cancer Research UK and mentioned the work of Lois Chaber, who wrote The Thing Inside My Head for OCD Action and Jackie Tanner, a poet who wrote The Cupcake Queen Bites Back for SWEDA (Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association) a local Eating Disorders Charity.
Although those I spoke to acknowledged frustrations, anxiety and a lot of hard work, everyone found publishing their books very rewarding and worthwhile.
I played a couple of interviews with contributors to DABHD on the show, let the lovely voice of poet David J Beauman work his magic on listeners by reading my own poem Life Force (in DABHD) and then donned the headphones for the first time ever and spoke to Jackie live on the telephone. Hopefully she didn’t find it too scary and we rounded off the show with her request Swing on a Star by Bing Crosby, a great favourite of her mother’s, who remembered the words even in the late stages of her dementia. Very moving.
I do hope you can listen to the show via the link above. There is a lot of my voice (as my sister kindly pointed out), for which apologies but I hope I am getting a little better at this presenting lark. Still a little hesitant and definitely not slick, but it is still early days. Thanks for listening!