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July 25, 2015 / ldejong4

Words are magical

Santa brought me a black slate last Christmas. Not because I was on his naughty list but because he wanted to give me a very important message. On the slate, written in gold pen reads:

Words are magical

Use yours to Heal, Inspire, Encourage, and Empower.

“How cute!” I thought. And I now have the slate resting on my bay window amongst some disorganised piles of books, folders and loose sheets I use for my TEFL classes. Inevitably, I contemplate the slate regularly when I find myself distracted from work and gazing out the window. Its message strikes me still. We all have words and we all have the ability to let them glimmer like fairy dust.

That Christmas was quiet for me. My brother was away with his beloved on honeymoon, my sister left one day later with her boyf and my friends were either home in different parts of the country or having their own respective date nights with long term boyfriends or fiancés. One evening a day or two after Stephen’s day, my parents were watching a series together I had no interest in (probably something political like House of Cards). I remember sitting in my room bored and lonely. In fact, I was feeling quite sorry for myself. Christmas really isn’t my favourite time of year. I was looking up at old photos I had stuck to my wardrobe of a holiday I’d been on with my parents and my younger sister a few years back in Corsica. That holiday is for me my happy place I go to in my head when I’m feeling down or when I can’t sleep. The particular moment was when we were lying on a little beach together with no one around and only up until recently had this information been my own magic secret close to my heart. That evening, I took out my diary and began to write as I could sense a poem about Corsica coming to me. I jotted down some notes and it wasn’t until a month later that I came back to it, gave it structure, omitted words and gave it some rhythm. The poem moved me as I wrote it and I was grateful for it. A small part of me knew it was the better one of a bunch of poems I had written so far.

I came to a point a few months after that I wanted to submit some poetry for publication in local online publications and competitions. It was my first time submitting poetry so I wasn’t surprised when I received a bunch of rejection emails. All writers get rejected so I was happy to take that first step. But one day, I received an email from a sender named Rethink Your Mind congratulating me on my poem and informing me that it was going to be published in this year’s edition of The Yellow Book. I had to reread the email a few times to fully understand the news. I had completely forgotten about my submission to them! Rethink Your Mind is a non-profit organisation in the UK raising awareness for mental health through art, photography, music and poetry published in their annual Yellow Book. They were looking for work inspired by the line “I feel better when…” and so I believed my poem Do you remember to be the most apt for this submission. Not only was my poem being published in a hardback book with 10,000 paperback copies being distributed in the UK but I was invited to the London book launch ceremony in June.

Fast forward to June and there I was, in my Sunday best, on a terrace overlooking the Thames, tucking into a cream tea, IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS!! Talk about magic or wha?!

Little did I know that a moment of feeling low would gift me like this. I now realise that in that moment I used my magic wand – I wrote to feel better. And I truly believe everyone has a wand be it cooking, baking, writing, singing, dancing, painting… This is the message Rethink Your Mind advocates to help those suffering with their mental health. They encourage engagement in all art forms. The launch ceremony was excellent. We got to mingle with all the artists and speeches were given about this wonderful initiative from very interesting sponsors and bodies such as the NHS and even the police service promoting mental health awareness in all pockets of society.

I am so incredibly proud that my poem now resides among many very impressive works in The Yellow Book and I hope that it will take readers to the beach in Corsica for a brief moment of peace in their busy lives.

proud moment!

proud moment!

cream tea selfie!

cream tea selfie!

I couldn't not get this one...

I couldn’t not get this one…

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Ruby Laine / Jul 26 2015 6:31 pm

    Great post and congratulations on making the book.

  2. ldejong4 / Aug 13 2015 7:09 pm

    Thanks Lainey! Hope you’re well. It’s been ages and ages. X

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