Updated: Apr 23
I never thought of myself as a creative or artistic person, just a nine to five worker. But, in 2013 at the age of 45 when I started caring for my father full time, I found myself a type of reclusive with limited time to do anything, so in early 2014 I signed up for a weekly night class in creative writing. The class was run by a spoken word poet, so we tended to learn about poetry forms more than fiction and other recognised storytelling forms. After the twelve week course ended the tutor asked the students if anyone would be interested in forming a writing group where we could learn more about poetry. Six members of the class, including myself agreed to a weekly meeting for two hours every Wednesday where we got more confidence to write and share our poetry, then at the end of a further twenty six weeks we published a group anthology of poems we had each written. At that point I moved myself and my father out of the area, so it was even harder to find the time to attend the group or find a similar group, but that didn't stop me from writing my poetry. Whenever I found time, which was mostly at night after getting dad settled into bed, I used the outlet of poetry to aid in my mental well being and as a way to document the day to day frustrations of living with dementia. As was expected when dealing with dementia which is a terminal illness in June 2019 my father passed away, meaning I had more time to write, again using poetry as a release for my grief by writing poetry, but also rereading the poems I had written over the five years since taking the night class which was the catalyst to creating my debut selection of poems. Not knowing anything about publishers or whether the type of poetry I had written would be well received I decided to self-publish my book in both eBook and paperback on Amazon calling it (A Dementia Carer Poems - Poems from the Heart for Caregivers) at the grand old age of 51. P.S. - T.J. Hübner is a pseudonym, hence no photograph sorry.
What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry is an imagination of escape, where I can express my feelings, frustrations, loss and solitude. It helped me through my loneliness of being a sole carer for my father over a six year period and the last year since his passing.
What inspires your poetry?
My poetry is inspired by anything and everything. I started off using the concept of caring linked with dementia for my debut collection, now if a topic catches my creative flow I try and do it justice with my words.
Which are most important to you: (1) joy, (2) peace, (3) patience, (4) kindness, (5) self-control, (6) faithfulness, (7) gentleness, (8) love, or (9) goodness? If you can, explain why.
I would say self-control and patience have become my watch words and are important to me. As a carer for both an elderly person and a parent with dementia, you can find yourself at times losing both your patience and self-control, neither of which helps the person or loved one you have committed to caring for. These two traits linked to joy stand out because when you see the glimmer of recognition and thankfulness in the face of your parent who at times treats you like a stranger, it definitely fills the heart with joy. I could have given you a reason why every word mentioned is important to me, as both a writer and as a former carer.
What sort of things are you looking forward to improving this year?
I think most of all I think I am looking forward to two things. Firstly improving my writing skills by trying new forms of poetry and broaching new topics other than dementia which I will always hold close to my heart. Then secondly maybe trying another form of writing other than poetry.
What is one big dream you have?
The one big dream I have is to complete and publish a memoir of the past eight years. To show the journey I and my dad made together through my full time caring role for him, the knowledge and experience I have gained as an individual about dementia and the ultimate mental flaws suffered both during the role coupled with the grief after the role finished. Also publish some more poetry books which if only bought by a few people is a dream come true.
More from TJ:
Website & Blog - https://tjhubnerwriting.wordpress.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/hubner_t