by Ger White
Please welcome Ger White to the Writers Journey Blog this week with her "Writing Journey."
“Don’t hide your light under a bushel” the Bible says, so I feel duty bound to write as I was blessed to grow up within a writing, poetic, storytelling family in southwest Ireland. Both Mom and Dad were poets, storytellers, and playwrights. It is said they wrote love poems to each other across the open fireplace at night time!
Living in a farming culture that appreciated the sense of story was a strong influence in my desire to write. For instance, my cousin would casually visit our home and delight us with stories of his week’s work in cattle marts, of striking deals, of pub talk and of hardships and how to overcome them. The solution was always laughter!
Most of my warm life memories centre on the written word and writing.
The joy of receiving a written letter is another memory strongly etched in my mind. In Ireland of the 1960s, many adults emigrated to England or America for work. My neighbour was a sad, lonesome woman whose daughters now worked in England. Each week she longingly stared out the window, awaiting the postman with a letter from England. On such a day her world lit up, her face came alive, her whole persona changed. She fondled the writing on the envelope. She then placed it beside the radio for a time, admiring it, savouring the moment of reading. After speeding through household chores, she put the kettle on for tea with fresh soda bread and both of us sat at her large kitchen table. She only read some parts aloud. I was nine, so she felt I would not understand. I decided there and then that letter-writing was a valuable skill and I wanted to bring such joy to others' hearts.
In my 30s, I had a few dark years in which writing saved me. The sting of boyfriend betrayal rocked my world. Writing was my salvation. I poured my heart out on paper. Rhyming came easily and was very healing.
Writing brought other sensational moments to my life. An odd thing occurred a week after leaving a boring office job, when I received a letter from a red-haired colleague who had worked beside me. He acknowledged my correct decision in leaving seeing I had more to do with my life than what that job offered!
Thus, began regular correspondence between us. We would exchange up to 12 pages of hand-written letters every other week. The buzz of seeing a handwritten letter on the mat lives with me still. We explored universes, made up worlds, imagined new names for bicycles, for typewriters, sailed across seas and imagined new ways of living. These letters were a lifeline for my survival. I wish I had some of them now!
John B Keane – international writer from Listowel, Co Kerry was a strong influence. In the local paper each week, he presented fresh vital stories from the street where he lived. This raised my curiosity, and I thought “he is seeing something in life that I am not”. That intrigued me.
In poetry I am influenced by Seamus O’Rourke, a contemporary Irish poet. He writes of normal country living and parallels and thereby validates my poems.
A confidence booster in my writing was joining a Creative Writing class in my 30s. Sharing poems and stories in this class boosted my confidence. The validation of other writers here allowed me to believe that I had something to offer to the world.
Another breakthrough in my writing world was being published by Clarendon House a few years ago and also in featuring in Who’s Who book by Sweetycat Press. I am now proudly featured in over 16 anthologies and have poems in Spillwords, Ingenue, and now have my own poetry book published by Impspired. The joy of seeing my stories in print builds my confidence to continue writing.
From this I am getting more confident in submitting works and have also featured for many months as audio poet in East London Radio storytelling programme. Every self-development book I read and every forgiveness and healing journey I take improves my writing. I am constantly working on myself.
It is difficult at times to submit work and for me it was easier to keep reading others. But I started posting poems to my own Facebook page and Steven Carr from Sweetycat press saw some and strongly encouraged me to submit and told me I had a voice and needed to share my poems with the world. I am very grateful!
From writing I have found many new friends, and along with the joy of appearing in Anthologies, I bond with other writers in these books, and get transported through the written word to other lives and countries. This bonding with my fellow man and women feeds my soul and encourages me to continue.
I have plans to launch another book of poems and micro-stories in the near future and intend doing more audio poetry also, as this brings me joy.
Bio: Gerardine White - (Ger White) grew up in wild open country in the West of Ireland where poetry fell off people’s tongues as easily as the rain fell off the roofs. She inherited the skill of poetic rhyme from her parents and writes to give continuity of traditional ways. For entertainment and for fun.
She is published in 16 Anthologies, including Clarendon House Publications - Poetica Series, Sweetycat Press publications, Linden Press publications, Impspired publications, Spillwords – where she won “author of the month”
Her audio poems feature in East London Radio “Talking Stories” programmes.
She hosts a monthly “Word Lovers” night in Sussex, a kind of “open mic night” for poets which is running successfully for three years now
Her own poetry book “Newspapers on the Floor, Poems on Irish Traditional ways” is available on Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk