I suspect I’m not the first author to think long and hard about what to share on a site like this. The answer on the face of it should be a relatively easy one. It is after all an author blog set up to share information about my writing and my books and a host of other ‘author-ish’ insights. The question is really about what not to share and where to draw that line between the public persona and the private person.
My problem however is that one of the most personal aspects of my life is also the reason why I write, not to mention why I write the things I write. There is no clear separation. I began to write because my little boy was diagnosed with cancer and writing was the only way I could express how I felt; I continued to write because when he died at 3 years of age, a huge void entered my life and words were one way of filling the abyss; and I write now because my son continues to influence my life. I write because I am so very proud of everything he did in his short life and how much he continues to influence those who were privileged to know him.
So I make no apologies as I begin the countdown towards the publication of my second book in September. Once again I feel compelled to tell the world that it’s all because of Nathan. I have no choice. I’m the only voice he has now.
By the same token, I should also add that I am immensely proud of my daughter too but here I will draw the line. Jessica does have a voice and is more than capable of using it. I must therefore respect her privacy, or at least as much as any other gushingly proud and interfering mother can.
With all of that said, here is what I wanted to share with you today. It will come as no surprise that I wasn’t the only one influenced by Nathan’s life. Where I began to write, my brother Chris Valentine was inspired to develop his artistic talent. Below is an example of how our creative paths crossed as we both dealt with Nathan’s illness and ultimately his loss. I wrote the poem ‘My Autumn Child’ when Nathan was in the midst of his battle against leukaemia and the painting is my brother’s visualisation of my words and essentially my son’s life. I think the painting is beautiful. There are a couple of other poems and paintings I hope to share soon but this poem is particularly poignant as it was the inspiration for my second novel. The working title of Another Way to Fall was Autumn Child.
My Autumn Child
My autumn child, take my hand
Give me the courage
To walk through this desolate land
Give me the courage to keep by your side
Not able to heal you and nowhere to hide
My autumn child, touch my face
Give me the strength
To smile in this godforsaken place
Give me the strength not to give in
To the anger that burns from deep within
My autumn child belongs in the spring
Should take life for granted, see everything
Shouldn’t face winter ‘til he’s an old man
That’s what I thought, that was the plan
My autumn child should learn from his mum
How to play safe and how to have fun
But my autumn child is the one teaching me
To face the storm and bend like the tree
My autumn child, as winter nears
Give me the hope to staunch these tears
Give me the faith to hold onto those dreams
Of you in my future, when so bleak it seems
My autumn child is orange and gold
The brightest colours so vivid and bold
Born to shine and never to fade
My autumn fruit, the child I made