Last month I was thrilled to catch up with my PhD supervisor, Professor Sue Jenkins who was visiting Albany with her partner. It had been about six years since we’d last met and it was lovely to see her happy, relaxed and enjoying her current phase of life. Sue is a very special lady, and a significant mentor to me. She was awarded an Order of Australia medal last year alongside fellow colleague Nola Cecins for her service, passion and commitment to medicine, particularly in the field of Pulmonary Rehabilitation. As a PhD student I witnessed this first-hand in her dedication to research and her students.
As I reminisced about that time in my life as a physio, I paused and reflected on why I’m now so keen to be an author. I initially chose a health profession because I wanted to ‘help’ people, and in my role at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital I put my whole self into this, treating and supporting patients on their physical path to recovery. So why children’s books? How can I help people now?
We need good books. Books which not just amuse but help kids escape from the pressures of the world, books which grow their imaginations with stories they can relate to, books which help them to process circumstances or struggles in their own lives. Books which show that we are not perfect. Books which expose sometimes scary things in a controlled and protected medium. Books which educate in an entertaining way, books with characters who struggle, but with perseverance succeed. I hope one day, I will be writing them.
I cannot see a greater calling than to connect with a child through the power of my words, inspiring them to believe in themselves and their dreams. And maybe one day I’ll be able to stand in a classroom with books behind me, sharing not just my stories, but my story– my life- and I hope this will inspire and heal. I must be patient, persevere, grow from rejections which are inevitable in this profession and learn. And even though I may not feel like I’m helping very many people yet, perhaps I’m connecting with someone with these words. And writing this down, I see more clearly where I’m headed and that helps me to grow too.