How long have you volunteered at Demelza’s Herne Bay Book Shop?
“I started in 2016, when I had just got out of college. I wanted to find something I could do that would help make a difference; it's what's always driven me. Mum suggested I try to find a job of sorts, so we went down to the job centre. They're the ones who told me about Demelza. I walked into the shop, and have been there ever since.”
What is the best thing about volunteering?
“The people! Seeing the new and familiar faces who come into the shop to support Demelza. It's a great feeling, talking to each one about where the money goes and what books they're buying, and getting to see those happy faces when they leave the shop with a book or a puzzle makes it even better. That's the best part for me. Knowing I've made someone smile. It's like helping pass the good will on.”
Did you study poetry at school?
“No, but I did write a little story at school. My twin and I read lots of poetry there, mostly from the library, and had fun talking about them together. It's something we've always bonded over. So I guess we did our own study sessions!”
Congratulations on getting your poetry book published! What inspires you to write?
“Thank you! Having a disability, not many people know how to react when I'm around. Sometimes people talk to the person I'm with rather than me, and sometimes they talk down on me. It's not a great feeling. So I wanted to write to help people understand - not just me, but people like me, too.
Another thing that inspires me is people I see in the street. I've always wondered where they are going and what they are doing. Do they have things they're struggling with, too? Do people understand them? Poetry for me is the way I can express that. All those little stories in every person we see.”
What helps you write? Do you have a special routine?
“I write when I feel like it. I tried to have a routine before, but I found that put too much pressure on me to write, and I used to get frustrated if nothing came to mind. Now, I write just before I go to bed, first thing in the morning, when I'm out and about - any time the fancy hits me! It's better when things come naturally.
Most of the time it's a song or a lyric that ignites that feeling, and I write a reply to the artist, or dip into how it made me feel. Music for me is a must when I'm writing. Poetry is really emotive, and music brings out emotion - it's the perfect combination!”
Who’s your favourite poet? And what’s your favourite poem?
“Courtney Peppernell is an Australian poet who I love. She writes about love and relationships, and about fears and worries. I'm not that knowledgeable about the former, but the latter is a big part of my life, since I struggle with anxiety. Sometimes you just need to read something that makes you feel like someone out there understands. It makes you feel a little less lonely.
My favourite poem is by Courtney Peppernell and is untitled, but it's fairly short - just three lines. I think I like it for that, honestly; it's straight forward, but it hits hard. There's not a lot of hidden meaning in it, but you still think about it well after you've closed the book.”
Where can we buy your poetry book?
“You can buy my book, ‘I Was Not Meant to Break’, on Amazon or on the Waterstones website! “