I've been thinking about doing some more biographical writing lately and was encouraged when I saw that submissions for the CLNZ/NZSA research grants are now open.
A year or so ago, I wrote a piece about Dame Evelyn Stokes with the help of one of the grants and it was a rewarding experience. You can learn so much from the women who've gone before you, from history and from people's remarkable lives.
In an ironic twist, it was around the time I was completing this work that I was also receiving radiation treatment for breast cancer in Hamilton. Ironic because Dame Evelyn suffered from the same disease, received treatment and much later died as the result of it. Radiation treatment was a much harsher and less exact science in those days and I believe her lungs were damaged.
In any case, staying in Hamilton's Cancer Society house for four weeks of radiation turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. It was a nurturing place with lots of interesting people. I was able to visit Waikato University regularly to listen to tapes of Dame Evelyn speak and finish writing up my notes. It was also during this time that I started work on a picture book, still languishing in a drawer, but about to be resurrected!
So despite what could have been a very low point, creativity and writing lifted me up, up, up and away!
Here's the link to the Tauranga Libary kete's Tauranga Writers section where my piece about the wonderful and inspiring Dame Evelyn Stokes lives.