Such a silent tiny thing,

Upon the brink of eventide,

I watch you wrestle through the arms of slumber,

She endeavors to encumber you, to draw you gently to her face,

I catch you tumbling softly, to fall unharmed in sleep’s embrace.


I note the in-out movement of your chest,

As I let you roam alone those corridors that you know best,

For here, I pray, is where you seek to find

vision that adjourned through hidden doorways locked within your mind.


Your waking moments filled with endless darkness,

You wait alone for someone to engage,

A touch, a tone, diffusing through the mantle,

Escorts you to a doorway to lead you safely from your cage.


Tumble through the darkness here before me,

Take my hand, I’ll guide you to the light,

I’ll offer things you never knew existed,

Through touch alone, I’ll do my best

to briefly resurrect your sight.


And when I call, unannounced, and gently take your hand,

A sudden frown indicates you may not understand,

Your hands trace softly over mine as if they capture sight,

Eruptive laughter bubbles forth when recognition comes to light.


You’ve come to know my touch and not my face,

But a semblance of my essence is what you glimpse when we embrace,

And if only it were all left up to me,

I’d slay the beast that keeps you bound,

releasing you, so you may see.


For now, you’re cradled deep in slumber’s warm embrace,

Where dreams may conjure images resembling my face,

I gently spin a magic thread and weave it just above your bed,

To capture any dreams you wish to keep,

To see when you awaken from your sleep.


And I whisper as I leave you as before,

“I’m just outside your door…I’m just outside your door…”

© Lynn Priestley 2012


Real Life Waltzes By

My work in progress is a YA novel about a teenager with leukaemia. Having survived childhood leukaemia, she is devastated when she finds she has relapsed and faces the grim battle of beating the odds all over again. Her illness is one of her many problems. She finds herself tangled in the world of gangs and falls for a boy who leads her astray. The memories of her childhood are significant to the story and I have to admit, I have been having trouble trying to visualise my young Meredith back in the days when she was fighting her childhood disease. I worked for years as a paediatric oncology nurse, in Australia and in the Middle East. I have memories of beautiful children who battled their way through cancer. But still I haven’t been able to unleash what  I need to express in this story. The years gone by have clouded my view.

As a writer, I marvel at how timely the universe can be when I ask for help. The other day I was walking through a crowded shopping mall and I looked up and saw a young child about five years of age being carried by her mother. At a glance I recognized the unmistakable trademarks of chemo. She clung to her mother with arms pale and thin. Her face, rounded from steroids, rested gently in the crook of her mother’s neck. A silastic feeding tube swung down from her left nostril, and tracked its way beneath sticky adhesive fixed to her cheek. It disappeared over her ear like an errant strand of loose hair. Her brow pushed together in misery over dark troubled eyes and the sight of her brought me to tears that fell right there and then as I watched them together. The mother turned her head and softly planted a kiss on her daughter’s cheek. The little girl’s face lit up like the sun had just slipped out from behind a dark cloud. Here was real life before me, jolting my memory.

This beautiful exchange led me down that dark lane of recollection where I arrived with  emotions reeling, recalling the detail. I remembered what a privilege it was to look after these beautiful kids – to share in their lives and the lives of their families day after day. The outcomes weren’t always good but more often than not they were nothing short of extraordinary. Recalling this part of my life has renewed my determination to tell Meredith’s story and to reveal the ripple effect that a potentially terminal illness can have on people’s lives.

When I witnessed that mother kissing her child, I realised the thing I want to reveal most of all is the power of love and the strength and resilience of human spirit. Especially where cancer resides as an unwelcome guest in the life of a child. Somewhere between experiencing that moment in the shopping mall and remembering the children of my past lays my story still forming. I am fuelled with the emotional drive to get it on paper. To show people a glimpse of real life within fiction.

The Year That Was

Here we are rolling to the end of the decade. The year has come and gone but not without its ups and downs. In summary, here is the year that was for me.

  • I made it through Year of the Edit
  • I commenced Year of the Novel
  • I finally let go of a story that hadn’t let go of me for years
  • I had my first submitted children’s story published by School Magazine
  • I pulled out my paints and brushes and waded back into the waters of illustration
  • I continued this blog
  • I fell in love with writing again
  • I studied the craft of writing and learned continuously throughout the year – despite my doubts of remaining a writer
  • I attended the CYA conference, which has fuelled in me a desire to work hard and become successful
  • I attended my first SCBWI meeting and met more wonderful writers and illustrators
  • I attended the Brisbane Writers Festival
  • I wrote and stayed sane whilst working full time as a shift working nurse
  • I was supported and encouraged by dozens of wonderful writers and illustrators – I am forever grateful to these people. They kept me writing and illustrating.
  • I made dozens of wonderful creative friends online and in life
  • I discovered that the determination and discipline I so often admire in others, dwells within me also – and is as accessible as my next breath – should I choose it to be.
  • I learned that whilst writing is hard work and often lonely, it is when I am in that isolated and sometimes difficult space that I feel the most connected to a greater power.
  • I discovered that if I allow time to empty my mind of garbage, creativity fills the space. Every time.
  • I realised that if you just sit and write 500 words a day – your day is infinitely  better than when you don’t
  • I accepted that on some days – it was too difficult  to write a single word, and that was OK.
  • I learned to be kind to myself
  • I lost my beautiful four legged mate and experienced how devastating grief can be
  • I gained a renewed relationship with my other four legged mate – a bond that grows stronger and more beautiful each day
  • I realised that all things change and nothing can ever remain the same – and that is OK. That is life
  • I learned that sometimes it’s better to say nothing
  • I realised that all I see in the world is a mere reflection of what is going on inside me
  • I learned that random and anonymous acts of kindness make you smile on the inside – where it counts
  • I confessed to the addiction of  buying writing journals
  • I wrote my goals for 2010 before 2009 actually finished – proving to myself that I still want to be a writer. No matter what.
  • I realised that no matter how the odds may stack against me, I will never stop writing. Not ever

To all my beautiful writing and illustrating buddies and to the readers of this blog – may 2010 bring you endless joy, success and happiness wrapped firmly in a cloak of safety and love.

See you all in 2010.

Happy New Year 🙂