Guest post by Helen Sims

Yesterday, I published a review of Taking Steps by Helen Sims. 

Helen is an unbelievably strong 34-year-old woman, whose book Taking Steps is an entertaining and inspiring collection of poems, short stories and articles. She has had Cerebral Palsy since birth, and cannot walk or stand unaided.

She loves to write, and has been a member of her local Writer’s Circle, the ‘Somerscribes’, for over 20 years. She is determined to turn everything bad that has happened to her into something positive, something which she hopes will help others.

Her book is hard-hitting and filled with emotion, and is definitely worth a read.

 If you’d like to know more about Helen, have a read of her post below!

Helen Sims

I don’t remember a time when writing was not part of my life. As young as seven, I was writing short stories.

For me writing is freedom. Freedom from the confines that disability, ( Cerebral Palsy), has placed on my life.

I can create characters and brand new worlds, and by doing this I can experience things in my imagination that I am unable to do in reality.

Disability is a lot to come to terms with but I realised pretty young that I wanted to try and help make things better, not just for myself but for others as well.

I knew that whilst there are a lot of things I can’t do, I can write – and I really love words!

As a little girl, would often read the dictionary – for fun! Sometimes I would thumb through it and randomly choose a page, or I’d pick a letter, and see how many ‘new’ words I could remember. I know that probably sounds a bit geeky, and maybe it was.

When I was fourteen I spent four months in hospital (a hundred miles from home) having multiple surgeries , and learning to walk from scratch. My imagination helped me escape some of my physical and psychological pain. It was a refuge, (as was writing.) and they still are!

I love creativity and quirky things. My family say I’m nosey, (show me a writer or a generally creative person that isn’t)!…Although I prefer to call myself ‘curious’ instead, given that ‘nosey’ has such negative connotations, don’t you think?!

In ‘Taking Steps’ I have tried to collect various pieces (and styles) of writing together . They span a lot years, and when reading it back (as I had to during my many attempts to capture what I consider to be, the right balance), I realised that it captures some of the best and worst moments of my life. As such it is not always an easy read.

I am hoping that the book’ raises awareness of disability (and the issues disabled and ill people face from day to day), but I also hope that the writing stands for itself too. I want people know that there is more to me than that. Disabled or not, I feel I would have written anyway!

More than anything I am hoping that the book has a positive impact. It’s been many years in the making and as I said, it covers so much.

I write about disability of course, but there are pieces about my experiences with depression, miscarriage and childlessness, but there is also creative light-hearted pieces too.

It’s all part of my story in one way or other. It makes me who I am. .

I’ve learnt that coming to terms with everything is a process. I don’t know if I ever will, completely – but I’m always taking steps towards it, and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.

I know who I am now..

I have opinions, dreams, desires and needs just like everyone else and that’s what is getting lost in a time of ‘scrounger’ rhetoric and lies that have been put forward to justify government cuts.

These cuts impact on real people, with real lives and stories. We’re not just numbers on a page and not everyone is as lucky as I have been –through no fault of their own.

I hope that in this book everyone will find something that they identify with.

Being honest about what I think and feel in a creative way has always helped me, and it is (I feel) the only way to raise understanding about things that might make people uncomfortable sometimes. I think that it is my strength. I want to use what I can do to help others.

This is my journey, and although it might sound corny or clichéd even, I hope I can take you with me.

If you’d like a copy of Taking Steps, click here


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