SHARING THE JOY
Sharing the Joy is an Australian treasury of inspirational poetry, prose and short stories. Jubilant celebratory verse and whimsical family experiences sit comfortably beside deep issues of life. This collection has been brought together in an effort to encourage and inspire others to celebrate life's blessings and press on through hardship to purposeful living.
The A5 hardcover book runs to 156 pages, with a wrap around panorama Sunset over Munmorah NSW by award winning Australian photographer, Phil Marshall. Sharing the Joy ISBN 0-9512-810-8 was printed in South Australia by Openbook in October 2003. The cover and interior of the book was designed by Greg Street . Tiny Wild Violet , the signature piece plus the Christmas and Easter Chapters were illustrated by freelance artist-cartoonist Graeme Mitchell.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Sharing the Joy had its beginnings in the exciting days of my own children's infancy. The joy of motherhood was something I wanted to dwell upon, grow with and never forget. My senses were acutely sharpened at that time. It seemed so natural to write it all down. A very time consuming but pleasurable interest was established and I have now been writing in earnest for three decades.
Life experiences and travel extravaganzas tugged for attention and in October 2002 I heard my voice say “Now!” in answer to my father's long-time question about publication of my work. A technical writer himself, he had pleaded with me over many years but I was always busy, living through the intense years of bringing up teenagers and holding down a full time job. If he was to share the joy of publication, I needed to get on with it.
THE PUBLISHING JOURNEY
During the next twelve months I laboured over many new pieces. Publishing my own work meant I could juggle and add new themes at will. I could have a say in the cosmetics of creating something pleasing to look at, to hold and read. The result is a quality book for the coffee table, a welcome gift, a treasured keepsake.
When the final chapter was in place I inserted a short musing right up front …
Life rushes by, surrounded by the clamour of a restless, rising tide –
A tide of discontent, of fear, unuttered and forlorn.
Amid the throng of people drums a heartbeat, all alone –
And sad, as if to mock the laughing, boisterous crowd.
Time ebbs and flows, and life parades the good times and the bad;
The voices ring from warm and hostile throats –
A curse, a whisper, truth or lie … perhaps the feeblest word
When swiftly sent, could stem, or even turn a rising tide.
I obtained three quotes from recommended publishing houses and Openbook Print in Adelaide proved to be an excellent choice. Dealing interstate made no difference to prompt responses and meeting deadlines. Express Post packages door to door simplified final editing. My husband Neville painstakingly proof-read with me and together we worked through the 156 pages six times. As an author/publisher I was determined the book would be error free and appealing in every way possible. Chapter head pages have complementary background scenes and photographs throughout add interest to the stories and children's section.
As the pages came to life and bobbed around for position, I wrote some finishing touches. I believed the book would not be complete without some tribute to my beloved country. I wrote the poem Country: Australia which describes an experience during a border check in Eastern Europe during 2000. The ink was barely dry when Sharing the Joy went to press. My first inspirational book is like a living, breathing life-long journey of heart and soul.
In October 2003 Sharing the Joy was launched in Greystanes High School auditorium, an attractive venue not far from home. This was a gala occasion with professional musicians, state of the art technology on twin screens and a hundred or so guests enjoyed a feast fit for a wedding. The tasteful presentation of poetry to music is still used at inspirational talks. Invitations were sent out well ahead of time and people came from everywhere.
A mini book launch followed by request at Penrith soon after and from that gathering a lady asked permission to use one of my children's prayers as one of her embroidery projects. Shirley Jenkins is a highly respected designer and craftsperson who exhibits at the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show. Her beautiful work on A child's prayer was published as one of twelve inspiring projects in Embroidery & Cross Stitch, Vol.13 No.10 (Express Publications).
A WAY OF LIFE
As well as writing, I am a ‘performance poet' – a crazy way of saying I read my own work in front of audiences. Sharing the Joy was taken to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2004 as part of the ‘Aussie Authors Bookshow'. It is well received at clubs such as Probus or Rotary and is often quoted at conferences and gatherings where inspirational pieces add to proceedings.
Quite a few years before Sharing the Joy was published, Wounded Soldier was used by hospital chaplains in their work with abuse victims and patients in crisis. Wounded Soldier has proven helpful and takes its place beside other inspirational themes.
Sharing the Joy sits in doctors' rooms and therapeutic clinics. I also take copies to the local hospital where I visit as a pastoral care volunteer. Many patients have been uplifted and encouraged by receiving a copy of Sharing the Joy . Sometimes the occasion calls for a quiet reading of Tiny Wild Violet - simple words with a depth of meaning. When stripped of health the human heart unfolds like a flower lapping up the goodness of a brilliant noonday sun – open to help outside one's own limitations. It seems that a number of copies have names on them already.
WHO ARE THE CONTRIBUTORS TO SHARING THE JOY?
Every person who has impacted on my life experiences has contributed and plays a part in this book. Whether family, friend, acquaintance or stranger, all who have crossed my path have shaped my world view, my heart view, my highs and my lows. The words are all mine, however they undoubtedly carry markings of a God-given talent. So the work flows from my pen but all praise must go to God, the gift-giver, the true Author of Life. It will therefore come as no surprise that Sharing the Joy's sub-title is “Reflections of the Father's heart in a mother's words”.
Sharing the Joy is like a family scrap book, opened for the reader's enjoyment. In this book you will find deep heart-searchings, a few pick-me-ups and a good deal of entertainment. Come climb with me is a foot-hole by foot-hole journey up Pigeon House Mountain NSW, written for my mother who waited to refresh us afterwards. Like many readers, she was unable to make the climb, so I painted a 46 stanza word picture in an effort to include her in the exhilaration of the journey. Tales of spectacular overseas travels transport readers through ice castles, shivering with wonder and cold. Feel the rush of adventure skating along the promenade towards Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival. Inspect the shackles and smell the damp earth in the dungeon of Chillon Castle before emerging through the dual halo of rainbow across Lake Geneva.
TINY WILD VIOLET
Never EVER give up!
And should you come close to giving up,
Remember the tiny, wild violet –
Pushing its way through a crack in the pavement,
Stretching proudly to the sky.
Against all odds it flourishes,
Displays its fragile face
And demonstrates survival.
Should you then stoop to check –
That tiny, wild violet,
Though struggling for its very life,
Will offer up to you the fragrance found within…
Press on, look up –
Bloom WHEREVER you are!
Sharing the Joy is very reasonably priced at $AU14.95 + postage. Multiple copies may be purchased at a cheaper rate by contacting the author. Don't miss an opportunity of bringing hope and joy to someone close to you. Don't overlook the inspirational tonic Sharing the Joy will bring to your own life. Copies are available from …
REVIEWS OF SHARING THE JOY
I appreciated the opportunity to read Sharing the Joy. Maureen Bartlett is a wonderfully talented poet and writer. The poetry is inspirational and the Childrens section brought tears to my eyes. I loved reading about the German experience and the Passion Play in Oberammergau.
~Anna James, Primary School Teacher, Freelance Writer.
Sharing the Joy reflects upon those things which are precious to all people, especially the family. It includes insightful prayers that many people will be able to adopt as their own. In poems and in prose passages alike, the inspirational language imaginatively communicates human feeling and Christian faith. Popular Australian Christian poetry and prose like this book contains, is a rare find and a real blessing.
~Rev Dr Ross Clifford, Principal, Morling College (Baptist Theological and Bible College of NSW)
…As Maureen Bartlett took me to ‘the top of Europe' in her story A special journey to Switzerland, the grandeur and beauty of this mountain experience came to life and revealed to me the majesty of the Almighty God in His work of creation. …Share it with your friends and family that they too may be enriched.
~Pam Windschuttel, Chairman, CWCI Sydney Women's Convention Committee