My husband Andrew, who began this blog in October 2007, died peacefully on September 3rd 2012, at the age of 83, after long and well-controlled illness culminating in a sudden, brief decline. I'll be posting pieces of his life writing and autobiographical reminiscences to his other blog, The Game of Life. This blog will be used for other material relevant to Andrew, beginning with the wonderful tributes to him which poured in after his death, both by email and on facebook. At some point this blog will become an archive, without further additions.— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Talking to the Fairies

Last school holidays Jo Carmody of Tweed Libraries arranged for me to give talks to children from my book, "Jorell". (Pictured in the sidebar.) I was very keen to do this, but I've had a lifelong hang-up about public speaking. The fact that this time I was going to be talking to youngsters didn't seem to make any difference!

I invited my wife Rosemary to participate. She's a performance poet and a teacher, so she has no problems addressing an audience, and she's nearly as familiar with "Jorell" as I am. She loved the idea of being part of the fun.

Then I consulted our friend Dinah, another experienced performer. She's also an NLP Master who is good at helping people re-program their minds from disempowering habits of thinking. She took me through some exercises to help my confidence in the situation, and she advised me to wear a story-telling costume which would immediately put me into the right frame of mind. Rosemary decided she'd be in costume too. She loves any excuse to wear the beautiful "Goddess gown" a friend made for her. But I didn't think I had anything suitable.

"Find a funny hat," suggested Dinah, so we went to the op shop and managed to find one that was slightly odd.

Well, we had a ball. We gave talks at all three Tweed Libraries: Kingscliff, Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah. The libraries did posters for the talks, and told the kids they could dress up as elves and fairies. Quite a few did, and at each library we gave a prize for best costume.

I read them the first chapter of "Jorell", but before that we talked to the children about our own experiences with fairies. A number of the mums stayed to listen too. At each library I began by asking, "Who believes in fairies?" Most of the hands would go up. Then I asked, "Has anyone ever seen a fairy?" That was different, but one or two hands would still go up. What was really exciting to me was that often the adults would put their hands up too, to both questions. I can remember a time when no adult would have admitted to such a thing.

After the last talk, a woman came up to speak to me. She told me she was writing a book on her own experiences with fairies, had travelled extensively in Australia to learn about our indigenous nature spirits, and was about to go to South America to do further research there. Now that's a book I'm looking forward to reading!

The children, their mums and the library staff all told us with big smiles how much they enjoyed our visit, and the library wants us back for a future holiday program. We are also available to talk to groups of children in school classes and at parties. No more public speaking nerves for me! Please email us if you'd like to engage us. Our services are free, but we'll hope to sell signed copies of "Jorell".