Interview With Author Gill Bentham

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

A long-running British radio programme interviews famous public figures, plays extracts of eight favourite tracks or musical choices and then offers two classic tomes. The Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Bible are the only two books available to them for the rest of their life as a castaway on a fictional desert island. The guest then selects one luxury to take with them, such as a case of champagne or a favourite brand of cookie. As a child I overheard my mother listening to this programme and decided my luxury of choice would inevitably be a pen and paper. One of my music tracks would be The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky. Well, that’s what I told my mother firmly, age 4 years old.

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I am lost without a pen. And more inevitably, having worked hard to clarify my message and my audience, I would not be without a keyboard or electronic device. (By which I can communicate with so much versatility in authentic and imaginative ways). Writing is my go-to source and solution. A lifelong habit of journaling since the age of eight, offers me a rich storehouse of material and commentary on a British seventies’ childhood, the individualistic eighties and the usual milestones of adulthood, albeit a very subjective resource.

I long considered myself a frustrated artist, having followed the safe advice of my family as a young adult by rejecting fine art as a career option. The first in my family to train as a nurse, I have no idea why I had this hunch. Other than being influenced possibly by a need to change the spartan conditions I experienced as a young tonsillectomy patient. A vision of myself plumping pillows and wiping brows was spawned.

I studied four years for this degree. Soon, I recognised in myself, deep compassion for people in extremity and suffering. I was drawn into palliative and hospice care and the privilege of being alongside people in pain. My fascination with complex and paradoxical themes was played out in one story after another for my analytical mind to work with. I was marked by these patients and started to combine my sensitivity as an artist with the art of nursing, through writing. At first, I produced somewhat fringe papers in professional journals. Academic writing was a curtailing discipline, nevertheless it gave me a voice and some satisfaction within my profession.

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

In 2008, I had been married for 17 years to someone who was afflicted with a narcissistic personality disorder (as with most, he was undiagnosed and would never subject himself to any kind of test, but the traits were all there) Once defined and acknowledged, it was undeniable. I had nothing more to lose. I was brave enough and now felt worthy enough to relinquish reputation and false bravado. I survived two years’ estrangement under one roof, sleeping under a desk in a box-room so I could earn and keep a home for my children without sinking into poverty.

In terms of writing, something much more cathartic eventually exploded. Rejecting professional house rules and mental editing, I simply played with words, ideas and emotions in my first published book, which evolved from a manifesto for escape from frustration. I wrote “Disentangling Genius” as a raw and unrestrained exhalation of passion and relief following this terrifically messy failure of a leadership couples’ divorce. Subtitled ‘Unravel the Seven Knots of Frustration so you can Align Creative Desire with Expression’, it harped back to the unanswered question of whether I was an artist. It set out a pattern for re-aligning a life that had lost its joy, playfulness and mischievousness. And I hoped it would offer hope to others, tangled along the way.

This image by a young artist Jen Teasdale sums up the pain of such frustration in her study called Restrained (2014, Copied with permission)

What are your plans for future books?

Since ‘Disentangling Genius’ I returned to a more complex and structured manuscript. It had been shelved for years because it needed to wait for personal wholeness to be restored before I could offer it to the world with any authority. “As If – Steering your Life without Strife, Navigating from Fantasy into Faith and Rising from Delusion into Destiny” publishes in June 2019and will be launched from a canal boat cruise around a circular two-week canal route in the Midlands of England.

My second husband and I met two years ago. I found out that he had a savings account for the holiday of his dreams on a narrowboat. I had a book manuscript written about the metaphor of life as a canal journey, through all its changing scenes and obstacles in the form of lock gates. Call this uncanny, we will capitalise on this ‘coincidence’ with an incredible sense of destiny. I am calling the launch The Pen and Voice Tour’. I am very excited and working hard toward on plans for the itinerary and all the associated marketing for it.

How do you deal with creative block?

I don’t believe in creative block.

If I am absorbing great material, inspiration and ideas, reading, thinking, reflecting and planning I cannot help but be creative. Some activities are deadening and stifling so I have a very restricted TV diet of the occasional film or drama as well as just-enough current affairs to stay informed. No running series or soap-operas for me. Life is too rich to spend it watching second-hand, half-baked presentations of reality. Good conversation, creative expression and (even for an introvert) connection with honest humans gives perspective and adds depth to my own material. I enjoy Audible in the car and finding influential leaders on Youtube. A little pleasure of mine is discovering someone’s thoughtful play-on- words. When I travel, it’s fun to spot a provocatively clever distillation of someone’s business mission as a strap line on the side of their vehicle!

More and more, I lean toward the integration of art in multi-media ways by adding image, music, film and word into learning experiences on my teaching platform. Even though I am past fifty, I want to be around long enough to find the right mix of skills and support to develop immersive learning experiences and interactive resources for learners of every kind. For ten years I was a successful lecturer/tutor within palliative nursing. Now, I am committed to helping people find their perfect passion, personality and positional fit in life. Again, it matters to me that they will flourish and not flounder in frustration and obscurity. So, I use my passion for learning within the online digital market, creating materials and resources straight from my books. I dream that one day I will convert these life lessons into interactive games for a generation who haven’t yet grown to love the written word.

I am an author committed to helping you Write your Script for an Intentional Life. I simply use the pen & platform to define, declare & flourish!

Links

To learn how to become a published author find out more hereAspiring Author

Find links to Disentangling Genius on my website and on my Amazon author page

Also find As If at Waterstones and Barnes and Nobles

Questions? Email me at admin@gillbentham.com

Or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Author: NFReads.com

Read more: