I stood up in front of an audience of consultants, registrars, junior doctors, medical students and oncology nurses last week and recited two of my poems. I’d been invited along to speak at an Education Day of the Gynae Cancer Managed Clinical Network, which brings together healthcare professionals into a multi-disciplinary team. The Network’s responsible for assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with gynaecological cancers and it aims to ensure that every patient receives the specialist treatment they need.
My knees were knocking to begin with (I was the opening and closing speaker of the first session) but, as it turned out, I had nothing to be nervous about. Both of the poems – and the way I presented them – were generously applauded, both in the lecture theatre and during the less formal discussions over coffee that followed.
It was great to receive many positive comments about the book, and also many suggestions and ideas for how it might best be utilised in wards, waiting rooms, and other public places. The general consensus seemed to be that there is a place for it as a ‘raising the right kind of awareness’ tool. It was also encouraging to hear some of the medical staff suggesting that I should visit the likes of schools and women’s groups to recite the ‘awareness’ poems.
I can’t tell you how much I would love to get out there more with the book and the rhymes, but it’s just not always easy to find out who I should contact, then set aside enough time to compose and send the emails or make the phone calls, then think about fitting things in around my day job! Also, sometimes when I do contact people to offer to come along, they treat me with a rather unnerving suspicion; the sort that we all tend to display nowadays when someone ‘new’ contacts us. (I blame the tele-sales folk!) It’s so much easier if I’ve been lucky enough to be invited, or if someone recommends me, or if someone who’s read the book puts in a good word for me or makes the introduction. I’m so very grateful to everyone who’s done that so far.
I’m beginning to understand why even the most novice of writers, with the littlest of books, benefit from having an agent!
Ahh, I can but dream…. in the meantime, it’s back to trying to spread the word and fit it all in myself and, if I’m being honest, benefiting by learning a lot from the experience…even if sometimes I am met with more ‘Not Today Thanks‘ responses than I’d like…!