Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Toni. I am a wife and a mum to one beautiful boy 🙂 I love to explore my childish side playing games and being silly. I have a passion for performing arts, which I love to explore through writing, acting, singing and a love of musicals.
What is your favourite children’s book, and why?
When it comes to children’s books my favourite ones are those that you can get lost with. As a child, I remember every birthday and Christmas I used to get a book from The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I used to sit for hours with the new book and read how these friends/family and a dog would visit a new area, stumble upon a mystery and solve it. I loved these books because whatever The Famous Five were going through, they always made time to be there for each other.
What excites you most about Stories Of Care Chapter Two? Is there any particular part of the project that you’re really looking forward to?
The idea of being involved in this project again makes me very excited. It was a great experience to be a Participant in Stories Of Care ‘Chapter One’ as it allowed me to take negative events in my life and spin them into comforting stories, which I found very therapeutic. So, I am looking forward to watching others go through this process, supporting their journeys and hopefully helping them to heal through the process of writing. I am looking forward to letting people know that they can do it.
What are you hoping to take away from being involved in the project?
From this process I am looking forward to meeting new people and using the skills I have in a positive way to help others. I also want to further develop my own personal skills, such as Communication and Active Listening.
Tell us a bit about the story you wrote for Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful.
Being a Participant in Stories Of Care ‘Chapter One’ allowed me to take negative events in my life and spin them into comforting stories. It was interesting to examine events that had happened during my childhood and then to explore the underlying themes before crafting them into a story that a child would understand, learn from and find enjoyable to read.
To achieve this, I explored several different events that happened in my childhood that I thought children could relate too and I thought of ways to make it entertaining. I explored stories like when me and my brother got lost in a maze, a trip to the zoo (as a way of a distraction from a foster placement that was falling apart) and others. However, the one that stuck was a childhood event about a fizzy orange drink that my mother made for me when I was little…
I remember being given a drink that was fizzy, and I wanted some more. I could see the cordial on the kitchen side. I dragged a chair and poured a new one, but it wasn’t the same, it wasn’t fizzy. I added water, still nothing. I remember looking all over the kitchen to work out how my mother had made it fizzy but I couldn’t find anything. When I asked her, she just laughed and wouldn’t tell me how she made it fizzy. Being an adult, I now know she just added lemonade but as a child it was magic. From this, it made sense to use my mother as a character in the book. I had to think about her life and experiences; growing up my mother suffered from a mental health condition, so she was in and out of my life, and I spent time in other houses. My story centres around being left at my aunties house, on a street where the neighbours thought my family and I were strange. I fused this memory with the memory of my mother and the fizzy orange drink, and thinking as a child that it was magic, and created a fiction world in which she was a witch. She had gone off to a witches’ conference and returned with a test tube full of magic, which she’d accidentally left on the side… and that’s where the story begins!
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying?
This experience really helped me process real life situations that I hadn’t touched in a long time. It allowed me to share stories that may help others, but also allowed me to heal. I think anyone has the ability and power to own their truth. Anyone can write, whether you want to explore your life events through writing or you just love to read, get involved. You can do anything you want, and you will have a safe environment and the support to do so. SO just apply! 🙂
Or click here to go straight to the application form.
Deadline for applications is Sunday 6th June 2021.
Applicants will be notified of the result of their application by Friday 11th June 2021.