Turning an illness or affliction into something that can be accepted,coped with or even laughed at is something that has kept one Manx writer amused and inspired for many years.
The poet, story teller and astute people watcher Pullyman, also known to his nearest and dearest as Michael Cowin, has used his own struggle with Parkinson’s as a source of many of his writings since his diagnosis, over two years ago.
Now he has turned his attention to another horrific affliction, Alzheimer’s.
This week, he has released his fourth book of writings and musings, entitled ’Forget Me Not’, a collection of around 30 poems, some dedicated to the disease.
As you may have come to expect, if you are familiar with his writing, he treats the disease, not so much with contempt, but with a gentle humour, being able to find the humour in most things.
’I’m not afraid to look at the funny side,’ said Michael. ’I thrive on it. It makes people feel relaxed. Its not something to be frightened off or afraid of. If you can share something and laugh at it, it becomes a lot easier. There’s fun to be had in everything.
’I look at my own affliction, Parkinson’s the same. It’s my whole ethos. I accepted it when I got it, I hadn’t walked into a brick wall, but I had turned a corner. Went down a different road. It’s as simple as that.’
There are other poems that do tug on the heart strings a little, but it is the skill of his poetry that, even at its most maudlin, there is still a lightness of touch that doesn’t dwell on the negatives, no matter how personal some of the pieces are.
’There is one poem here, which is an obituary for a friend who had died of Alzheimer’s,’ he said. ’It’s called ’’The Man We Knew’’. It is for a fella called Tony Osborn, who was my wife’s brother-in-law.
’He was a lovely man, but he just went away in the woods. He had Alzheimer’s or dementia of some sort.
’Another is called ’’Where was I’’. I had just gone to do some shopping and I was waiting for the bus, and this fella came around the corner and greeted me like an old friend. I’d never seen him in my life before. But it is a nice little book. There must be about 30-odd poems in it.
’It’s well worth a fiver of anyone’s cash.’ All proceeds will go to the Isle of Man Alzheimer’s Society.