by Pamela Heemskerk
It seems the fame of the legendary Quirky Quills has spread beyond Toowoomba, and even Queensland.
How little I realised back then, how much impact a supportive group can have on developing your writing gift. Some of us were rank novices to writing—lacking courage to even show our cat what we had written; others were, like the Man from Snowy River, fast becoming a household name.
I was talking to Mazzy, one of our QQ, recently, and she said QQ was like her ‘church’—a place of love, care and nurturing of gifts. It reminded me of the parallel between our walk with the Lord and developing as scribes. As the Quills met, with encouragement, teaching and nagging (what was that word?), along with some serious hand-holding, we sent off works to anthologies, devotionals, and even competitions. And some were accepted!
Showing your writing is like baring your soul. I felt so vulnerable, writing from the heart, and then exposing it. Scary. Yet from this, I learnt that others related to my experiences. I learnt about taking risks, stepping out. And I learnt resilience—that first rejection … Ow! And then the second … And then a few more …
As I grew as a writer, I grew as a person. I learnt to persevere, to motivate myself, to be disciplined and to take responsibility for developing my craft—just as I have learnt to take these same steps in my walk with God. He is my source of inspiration, directs my writing goals, and stretches me (ouch), to show how much I can achieve when I work in partnership with Him.
Although I am yet a relatively new writer, I am past coddled eggs and milk in my own journey. I have wanted to give back to the writing community. When I renewed my 2019 Omega membership, I again saw the motto, and this prompted me to continue meeting with other writers in our locality.
Now, as a person with a hearing impairment, I am well aware of the effect words have when they are received; and the lack of effect, or even the negative effect, when they are not received. Sometimes I don’t hear important things; sometimes I miss out on a crucial part of the conversation and it leaves me bewildered and unable to follow. Lost words have no impact on my life; worse they can have a negative impact because I missed hearing something really important that would have made a difference.
I figured that if I was having trouble with using hearing aids, then there’d be others. My struggles with hearing prompted me (with some badgering from a friend), to put my experiences on paper. I realised through this, that I could turn my frustrations and negatives around hearing loss into something positive. And eventually, with support from QQ and Omega, it became a book. I hope it has helped someone.
WORDS THAT CHANGE THE WORLD
I was meditating on these words – and the Lord put on my heart that there are writers whose words are not changing the world. Their words are sitting on a computer, or in a drawer and not doing the thing for which they were purposed. How like unused hearing aids! Hearing devices are meant to enrich our lives, to help us participate fully and be involved in our world. They are to help us move forward in our lives again. But they take practice, perseverance, and sometimes some support from other users. We sometimes fail, or feel self-conscious or embarrassed about using them.
Just as a user of hearing aids takes risks in learning a new way of living, will you as writers take the risk? Will you persist? Will you move forward into your calling? Will you chance letting your words ‘change the world’? Or will you play it safe, carefully preserving your ‘one talent’ on a USB?
Now, I’m sure the USB retailer will have appreciated the sale. But words are far more powerful than a few dollars at the shop. Your words can make or break the health and wholeness of another; those timely words can transform a life. Your gift of writing can make a difference. Will you seek support, take courage, and put your words out there?
Who knows, one day someone might come up to you and say, ‘Your words changed my world’.
Pamela Heemskerk is a physiotherapist, writer and jigsaw addict. She acquired a hearing loss during her first year at work and has worn aids for approximately 30 years. After many conversations, where others who are hard of hearing reported similar issues, she decided it was time to fill the information vacuum by writing 'Rather a Small Chicken ... A Guide to hearing Loss for Family and Friends.