Poetry turns Nigel’s life around
POET Nigel Downing almost threw away all the poems which now make up his first book.
Nigel (45) of Bolton-on-Dearne, has been inspired by the release of his work called Life is Eximius Ordo.
He said it had helped him in his recovery from bi-polar disorder, to give up heavy drinking and to explore his feelings through words.
The writer, of Dearne Road, has already written two more collections and is working on his fourth, and he said he owed it all to Barnsley’s Creative Recovery project which would get a portion of his book earnings in gratitude.
Nigel said: “That book is my diary of ten years of being really ill. To other people it’s a collection of poems but to me it’s a reminder of times gone by.
“I just found poetry when I was ill and it eased my angst. Instead of my feelings being built up they just flowed.
“I have found other people at Creative Recovery and they said they write poetry to express themselves, which made me write more.
“I can’t remember what it was that set writing poetry off. I think I just got a sentence in my head, then another that rhymed and I wrote that down. Then I was writing as fast as I could to get everything down. The words just started flying off.”
Nigel said Creative Recovery, a mental health charity based at the Media Centre in Barnsley, offered him the chance to develop the talent he didn’t know he had.
Nigel said: “If it was not for Creative Recovery then none of this would have happened.
“A lot of mentally ill people are very talented in creative ways.
“Suffering a lack in confidence I submitted some of my work to Hayley Youell at Creative Recovery. I was ready to destroy my entire manuscript when Hayley gave me very positive feedback. Having a little more confidence I sent my intact manuscript to Olympia Publishers of London. The feedback was amazing, as they offered me a publishing contract.”
Nigel, who said he hated poetry at school but now reads it widely and rates Wordsworth as an inspiration, writes his works when the inspiration hits.
He said: “I live on my own so rather than talk to the walls when I feel down I find it easier to write.
“If I sit here at this table all day nothing will come but if I get on a bus and go to Meadowhall I can sit down and start to write.
“I can tell when I have one coming on because I get that mood.”
Nigel is hoping to hold a publicity event at a Barnsley bookshop soon.