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Before You Step In – an introduction to this > Room

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At the age of six, I was diagnosed with diabetes type 1. Treatment was by insulin injections, but that was only a small part of the resulting chaos of cause and effect that has shaped my life and identity. With the physical condition, come later mental repercussions and many medical terms thrown at me inconclusively. These range across generalised anxiety disorder, depression or a dysthymic condition to diabetic burnout, as well as other half-diagnoses and labelling terms that I’ve now forgotten or choose not to recall.

> Room is the fragmented social and personal commentary of the six-year-old traumatist. This is the part of me that was intellectually able to comprehend the lifestyle and life-expectancy implications of my childhood diabetes diagnosis but not emotionally equipped at that age to deal with them. Although diagnosis was a long time ago, the six-year-old traumatist is still there in adulthood, subconsciously contorting how I see and experience the world, as well as creating alternative realities…

Once you have clicked on the blue text link in the words below to open the virtual door and walk inside, the > Room multi-media poetry narrative begins.

Please be aware that many rooms contain moving imagery.

Sound is included for those who want to share the most immersive experience. Please make sure you adjust volume to suit your personal preferences and those around you.

To leave one room and move onto another, click on any hypertext link (words in blue) in the text.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE FIRST ROOM and click on other words in blue print on each page to move into another room.




* This door is taken from a photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Thanks to Arts Council England for funding this > Room hypertext literature experience.

I’m extremely grateful too to Cheryl Powell and Sylvie Coulter for being beta-testers for this hypertext experience, and also to stanza poet and buddy John Lawrence for being a trial reader.

My deep gratitude to the New Welsh Writing Award for longlisting a longer combined prose and poetry creative nonfiction manuscript, which included an earlier version of > Room, in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection.

My thanks too to the editors of journals where earlier versions of some of these poems were first featured:

‘Be yond’ published as ‘The Room i’ in Poetry Wales;

An alternative version of the second part of ‘Something boneless’ published as ‘Walking the Existential Dog’ on Snakeskin;

‘Heart’ published on ink, sweat and tears.

I’d also like to acknowledge the inspiration of works such as Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, Jenny Boully’s The Body: An Essay and Erica Baum’s Dog Ear.

Finally, but very importantly, this collection of rooms comes with life-long gratitude to my family and friends for their unfailing love and encouragement. It’s in the nature of autobiographical work to be self-centred, with one predominant viewpoint. I can guess, but have no right to voice for others, how it is to live with me and my diabetes. Having my own children has given me insight into how hard I’d find it to bring up a diabetic child – my parents are my heroes. The times when diabetes has meant cancelling or altering plans with my sons has also made me realise for the first time how much siblings may find their life affected by, and have to fit around, the illness of a brother or sister. I thank and apologise to everyone who has helped, supported and lived with my diabetes.