This is me … Annie Forester. After being on the planet for fifty-three years, having been a physician for twenty-nine years, a wife for twenty-one years and a mum for seventeen years, I decided to create a website to share my writing
I write poetry because, to me, this feels like living. I write when things are hard because strong emotions almost write themselves. I also write about the happy, astounding or inexplicable things that happen, otherwise I may forget them.
‘Junior doctoring’ nearly killed off any poetry and writing skills. I mostly abbreviate or write in note form at work. Beauty is the last thing on my mind. Writing was for the purpose of producing essential records. Although writing for work is literally the definition of a chore, I’ve found that poetry and medical notes have something in common- brevity.
Experiences in medicine, among other things are about knowing and being with humanity at its rawest and most honest, and this reality also lends to writing. I’ve written recently for an anthology about the experiences around death, a collaboration between medics and the humanities in some of the Northern UK Universities, aimed at conversing about death and helping people with loss, another universal reality. This came out in September 2019.
Poetry group at Novel Idea Bookshop, Slipway, Dar Es Salaam,Tanzania
I started writing in earnest to be part of a group of poets in Dar es salaam over 15 years ago, when serving out there for a Christian charity. The group was started by a friend who worked for the government. Listening to poets reading and performing brought a responsive writing form. Others also experienced this. Students that I was mentoring came along for the ride. Creative juices flowed in these sessions and gave us great pleasure: pieces ranged from reflections on life and our respective spiritual journeys and were a celebration of being human. Many of these students have shared poems on Facebook since then, often creating beauty out of sorrow and loss, which is an ever-present reality especially in the continent of Africa.
In the past twenty months, losses have been in focus as we watch nation after nation producing eye-watering death statistics as a result of the global Covid pandemic. Each number translates to trauma & sorrow for a family and community, and there are many untold stories. Strangely, its as if those of us in the developed nations are finally experiencing losses – of life, incomes, and freedoms – losses that have been daily realities of fellow humans in the developing nations. We can’t and don’t take these things for granted any more – though previously they were a given.