My Poetry Story

Hi, I’m Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry. I’m sharing the story of my journey into poetry for several reasons. So I don’t forget it in my old age! To leave my story as family history for them to laugh or cry over!

The main reason is to encourage my daughters and anyone else who will linger to read it, that it is NEVER TOO LATE IN LIFE to learn the how, what, where and why of something that is of interest to you, the ‘thing’ that you are passionate about, and to stick at that something until it is accomplished to your satisfaction. Oh, of cause, and to enjoy the journey along the way.

A Teenage Poet

The first rhyming song that I wrote was at 13 years of age. I wrote a simple children’s song in high school for a grade 8 music exam. I barely passed English in high school and yet I excelled in music!

I wrote a few Christian songs together with my two cousins (chopped out of the picture for privacy).  With our guitars we performed to youth groups in churches throughout my hometown of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I left school at sixteen years of age excited to start working full time in the 1970s.

As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming a professional singer. I dreamt of being like Olivia Newton-John (who was my favourite singer). But I was too shy to pursue that career path, so playing the guitar, the piano and singing remained my favourite hobbies. I was pleasantly surprised when I recently found the original note book that contained several rhyming songs that I had composed and neatly hand written as a teenager.

I left home at 18 years of age and moved interstate. I set my guitar aside to embrace life and love, content to sing around the camp fire, at the occasion wedding and at informal karaoke sessions just for fun.

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

The Wilted Rose Poet

At 30 years of age, I wrote my first poem about motherhood, after my first daughter was born. I hand wrote the short poem in a pretty card for my mum for Mother’s Day. I found that card while I was sorting through my mum’s belongings, after she passed away. The Wilted Rose, is the story of my family’s troubled life during my childhood.

The book title ‘The Wilted Rose’ symbolizes the life of my mother…

A budding flower surviving her youth dreaming of a happy fulfiling future

Living in full bloom as a young adult woman striving toward her life goals

Wilting in motherhood from broken dreams and tragedy.

The book title ‘Wilted No More’ symbolizes the opposite. My own life…

Living a wilted life under the shadow of my mother’s wilted life

But then, a flower bud surviving to grow from the ashes

A budding flower striving as a young adult, to grow into a happy fulfiling future

Then, at midlife, she is living in full bloom thriving in life.

The Wilted Rose has been reedited to include several poems that I wrote over the years which reflect on my childhood. The Wilted Rose is available as an ebook and print on demand book.

Wilted No More, is a collection of poems that I wrote as my adult life unfolded. These poems cover many ups and downs of my adult life – falling in and out of love, financial wins and loses, motherhood, empty nest syndrome and my time living as a Nomad Baby Boomer.

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

A Nomad Poet

In 2009 I set off with my then husband to live in our motorhome full time and work when necessary as we travelled around Australia. We set off on a three month journey which ended up lasting three years.

I wrote most of my general poems during this period of my life; my poems about nature, falling in and out of love, motherhood. We enjoyed many picturesque locations camped up and relaxing in the Australian bush, beside rivers, oceans and creeks, which allowed my mind to relax enough for me to discover and sit comfortably in my ‘poetry’ space to write many full length poems.

I was glad to settle back in my home town after 3 years of living and travelling in a house on four wheels. I also returned to my Christian faith which I had ventured away from 30 years earlier. I completed a course in Bible Story Telling which ignited my desire to write Bible based poems, especially stories based on Women in the Bible. I am looking forward to getting away from the busy-ness of city life to enjoy a prolonged escape into my ‘poetry’ space again. A post Covid plan!

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

A Prison Chaplain Poet

For two years, from 2017, I was a volunteer Prison Chaplain in the Women’s Correctional Centre one day a week. I started sharing my poems with the ladies as I made my way around the prison units. Each week I would hand out select poems that blended with the conversation I was having with a woman at the time.

In 2018, I accompanied another chaplain into the Men’s Correctional Centre. I started a small guitar and singing group which provided the music for the prison chapel service that we conducted once a month. I would also recite a Christian poem at each service.

I was very nervous reciting my poems to an audience. Even though I practiced reciting each poem many many times throughout the month, I could not remember the words and I had to read from my cheat sheet. I was so nervous, I wouldn’t take my eyes off my sheet in fear of losing my place or making a mistake. Both the men and the women prisoners loved my poems and were encouraged by them. I was encouraged by their positive response to my poetry.

My method of sharing my poetry was clunky, messy and time consuming. At home, I photocopied, cut and pasted each poem into a notebook as my master copy, which I had to leave at the prison office. Then each week, once inside the prison, I would photocopy poems from my notebook to give to the prisoners as loose pieces of paper.

I started thinking of how I could publish my poems into book or booklet form, or on greeting cards, not only to make available inside the prisons, but also to the general public.

When I left prison chaplancy, I kept my notebook of poems. It is a visual tangible goal for me. I often flick through it knowing that one day, soon, I will hold a published books of poetry in my hands.

Up until the time of my prison chaplancy days, I had not shared my poems with anyone outside of sharing a few of them with my husband, family and close friends. I was too nervous to share my poetry to the public. I didn’t think anyone would be interested. I felt frustrated and selfish that I had this gift, this talent, that flowed out of me, but I was too shy to share it. I would freeze up at the thought of it.

It was time to release myself from my own prison of fear and free myself to move toward my goal of sharing my poetry with the world…

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

Image – “I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.” – Zenos Frudakis

The Book Worm Poet

Since I was a teenager, I dreamt of running my own business. I joined a Network Marketing Company at 18 years of age. Over the next three decades, I joined and left many of them following small successes. Marriage and motherhood took priority in my life as it was the love of my life.

By 2018, my children were now independent young adults pursuing their own career goals. Time was ticking on. My teenage dream was pressing me to turn it into a goal. It was now or never. Over the previous two years, I had completed a Diploma and a Cert 4 which bolstered my self-confidence. I was very nervous, but I started to believe that I could be a successful business woman because I had gained some professional knowledge and skills.

Professional Development books I read through 2018.

During 2018, I read some professional development books. I knew that I had to become a business minded person. How do successful business people think? What work habits do they have? How do I change my thinking patterns?

My confidence and desire grew stronger to formally share my poetry with the world. I created the business name Simply Story Poetry and wrote the first draft of the poem explaining the who, what and why of my future business, titled Simply Story Poetry. I already had plenty of content (poems). Now it was time to learn how to share them.

I knew very little about websites, but I learnt online how to basically set up my first website with WordPress. At least now I had a basic online presence, thanks to the ‘help’ sections and Youtube ‘help’ videos.

I had no knowledge of online book publishing, so this was an area that I had to learn about. There were so many questions running around my head like how would I present my poetry – as ebook or print-to-order? What would my books look like – large or small, with or without artwork? Colour or black and white? Who would buy my poetry? Why would someone buy my poetry – for personal devotion purpose or to give as a gift? Would I sell them through a shopfront or sell them online?

I was nervous and overwhelmed by all the information around running a business. I needed to learn the mechanics of running a business. I needed a mentor. I needed moral support…

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

The Duo Poets

At the beginning of 2019, I moved 800kms north to the picturesque seaside township of Yeppoon, Central Queensland, Australia, where my brother and his wife and family lived. I lived with them for a few months until I started a part-time job for Yeppoon Beach House the local Backpackers Hostel, which was owned by my sister-in-law’s nephew and managed by my brother’s old neighbour. I then was able to rent a small unit from my sister-in-law’s neice. Its who you know, not necessarily what you know in a small country town! I was so thankful for their help.

My brother, Doug, and I started singing and playing our guitars on Friday nights, at the Backpackers Hostel to entertain the guests. I changed the lyrics slightly, of well known songs, to personalize the song’s message to reflect the events that were happening at the hostel. It was a lot of fun laughing and singing around the fire pit.

Both my brother and I wrote some original songs, which we performed as well. A talent that had been dormant within each of us had ignited. I had not composed a song for over five years. Once Doug started composing that year, he couldn’t be stopped. He composed quite a few beautiful ballads and is still composing.

One day I am hoping that he will let me publish them for him or with him. Next year, in 2022, after I have published all my old poetry, I plan to compose and publish the few songs I wrote that year and, compose more poems into songs, as well as continue writing poetry. Recording my songs will draw on a whole new level of courage for me.

We also lead the singing at our local church, I played the guitar and Doug played his African drums. After a few months, my hands grew stiff with joint pain and I had to stop playing the guitar. I plan to go back to playing the keyboard which is my prefered instrument.

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

The Learning Curve of a Simple Story Poet

2019 The teenage dream to run my own business now felt like a nightmare that was overwhelming me. But, the time had come to turn the dream into an action goal.

I started my journey by studying a Certificate 4 in New Small Business to gain the necessary knowledge and develop basic business skills. While I studied, the NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) program in Australia provided a business mentor for one year for support and accountability.

So, now as a mature woman, I was off and running toward my teenage dream. First I had to define my business idea, which for me was centred around my wordsmith skills. This was achieved by completing by developing a detailed Business Plan. It was intense and challenging, yet exciting to answer the many important questions necessary to define my business idea:

  • What was my business name, pitch and mission statement?
  • What was my ideal client profile?
  • How much would I charge for my service/product?
  • How would I process payments, complaints, product returns?
  • Where would my business be located and what method would I use, would it be face to face, online or a mixture of both?

The most important question of them all, why did I want to build a business? The answer to this question would determine my level of determination, persistence and focus to achieve the end result. What would the end result (my established business) look like? Would I remain a sole trader, would I employ people in one location or expand to more locations?

This line of questioning was new to me. It stretched my mind to think outside of my existing pattern of thought processing. Being an analytical person by nature, I loved this space. As a mature woman, it gave me a fresh lease of life going forward after divorce and Empty Nest Syndrome. So, my business idea was to help other mature women define their career and business goals through one on one, face to face consultation. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

While I was studying, I secured one year of work as a Relief Manager of a boutique Backpackers Hostel in the pictureque seaside township of Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia. This was a huge confidence builder for me. This line of work gave me hands on experience of what it was like to be responsible as a solo business manager. Being responsible for everything, to make decisions and be accountable. Sure, I made a few mistakes, but overall I enjoyed it and succeeded.

February 2020 After my year of work finished, I returned to my home town to visit my family. Two weeks after arriving back in Brisbane, Coronavirus shut down the world. March and April were spent in lockdown, with family members and a dear friend, living out of one small suitcase of summer clothes and my laptop.

Thinking that Covid would be a temporary glitch in my plan, I put aside my business plan for the time being and I spent lockdown studying an online course with Authentic Education on how to write and self-publish a non-fiction book. As the lock down months rolled on, I wrote the first draft of my adult life story. It was not easy for me to break out of the short sentence structure of my poetic style of writing. This exercise clarified my passion and love for writing poetry. I decided I wanted my story told in story form, so I handed my raw amateur draft over to Kate Kelsen, a passionate and established author, to rewrite my draft into a novel.  She had written my mother’s life story into the novel called The Wilted Rose in late 2021.

Still in and out of lockdown, I spent the last few months of 2020 completing several internet courses by Ted McGrath to learn how to market myself online. I was encouraged by this course as it taught a storytelling model of marketing by explaining how to connect with my audience whilst remaining authentic, being myself and being real and sharing my personality through my marketing. Although I felt vulnerable knowing that I would be putting myself out there publically, this was the style of marketing that I knew I would feel comfortable and confident using.

I was ready to come out from behind my poetry desk and tell the world who I was and what I had to offer through my wordsmith skills, why and how much I wanted to send ripples of encouragement and joy to the world through my poetry.

May my poetry send you ripples of encouragement and joy.

Beverley Joy of Simply Story Poetry

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