Life is like a cup of tea - it’s how you make it.
Carol Kelly’s tongue in cheek subtitle of her new volume of poetry - with a cartoon of Mrs Doyle from Father Ted on the cover - lays bare the struggles that many people suffer throughout life.
“I’d say the collectionis about how in life you can struggle with diversity and when you come out the other end it’s important to laugh about it and not take yourself too seriously.”
A tireless campaigner for societal openess about suicide and those struggling with mental health issues, Carol launched her latest collection at Portstewart Library last Thursday evening.
The 17 deeply personal poems explore family, life and death issues, love and forgiveness.
“The poems were written over the past few years and I think the most important one is the first: Forgiving.
“I think it’s incredibly important that we as individuals and a society learn how to forgive.”
In What Were You Left Carol explores the shattering lost of her mum with the couplet:
“Plenty of cutlery and a washing machine,
but an empty hole where my mum had been.”
Carol, who suffers from bipolar disorder and catatonic schizophrenia which once prevented her from speaking for an entire year, is incredibly grateful to the business community for supporting her new volume of work.
She is also thankful of the support of the Harley family in Portstewart and Impact Printing in Portstewart who published her latest musings.
She will donate the proceeds to Bee Heard, a mental health peer advocacy service in Coleraine and hopes that the public will spend a fiver to buy her collection.
Carol has won many accolades over recent years, including two prestigious Arts Council awards which enabled her to travel to North Island in New Zealand, where she met the Governor General and to the Workman Theatre Camp in Toronto, Canada.
Three years ago she picked up the Joint Artistic Film Award at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival for Patrick Trolan’s film Considering Carol and has also performed on the Royal Mile at the Edinburgh Festival.
Here previous collections include Champagne from a Teacup and Schizo As it Was.
Carol adds: “When you’re a mental health poet you look at things in a different way.
“I hope I can raise awareness of issues like suicide and people who suffer from mental health problems.”