Posts Tagged ‘inspired’


How do you inspire others? How do you get somebody else, maybe someone you don’t even know to do something they never thought they ever do?

To be honest I don’t know. Yet friends of mine are increasingly saying I’m an inspiration to them and others. But why when all I’m doing is trying to improve myself and my life chances?

What got me wondering about the whole inspiration business is some comments I’ve recently received about how I have changed my body and the way I look.

It began this year when I decided to take my running seriously because I have several plans I would like to explore and my fitness may play a part in following them through. So I started going back to my local running club and going out running on my own more.

And instead of just going through the motions I began to push myself to go faster, go further, do more. I changed my diet, dramatically. At first it was difficult as my body adjusted to so many changes all at once but now it feels natural eating and drinking reasonably healthy.

And of course the weight began to drop off and my body began to change, people noticed and the good comments started flowing. And them people started asking me what I was doing and why and I told them. And a couple of people have started running or walking because I inspired them. Some more are thinking about doing it because they have seen the transformation in me in person.

And maybe that’s the key to being an inspiration to others, being someone they can relate to in real life, someone they know, they can see, they can talk to about what made me go out and change my life.

But that’s not to forget that I have people who inspire me as well, people I can relate to in real life. Some of these are people I’ve known a long time, others have just come into my life, but all of them in some way inspire me and as a consequence I inspire others which is I think quite important in life.

Because if you can use the inspiration of others to transform your life and in turn inspire others to transform their lives, then you have done something very worthwhile in life.


On Tuesday 17th February I went to the Calderdale Industrial Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Nothing extraordinary about a trip to a museum you might think, but the Calderdale Industrial Museum is different to other museums. The museum only started opening again last year after closing its doors to the public around 2000/01. Even now it only opens three or four times a year due to funding constraints and being staffed entirely by volunteers.

But this also makes it enchanting, mystical even. And this is because the museum at the moment is stuck in a time warp. Everything is as it was fourteen years ago, the signs, the machines even down to a jacket hung up on a wall. But what hits you most is the smell. The thought of fourteen years of grease, oil, soap and metal might sound disgusting to some people but to me it is so evocative, it fires up the senses and the smells turn into images and the imagination is set alight.

Why? Picture the men who made these amazing machines from a solid block of iron or steel weighing several tons or just a few pounds. These blocks of iron would be fashioned into lathes 50 feet long, drills 10 feet tall, multi-coloured weaving looms, machines that can turn reduce steel from 4 inches to 1 millimetre and something so intricate and delicate it is a true wonder of the industrial age. And all it does is make a staple!

And what of the men, women and children who worked these machines? Men,  women and children who would rise before the dawn chorus so that they wouldn’t be late for work and have to go through the special gate just for latecomers. Who would work for 12 hours or more in conditions that would leave their senses dulled by the noise, the lack of light, the dirt and grime they breathed into their lungs and having to keep up with this new machinery that moved as faster than a bird diving for prey hour after hour after hour all day, every day.

And what happened if one of them should fall asleep at their machine or miscalculate the speed of the iron arm going back and forth at 10,000 rpm or more? At worse they might lose a finger, a toe an arm or a leg. At worse they would be killed as they tried to earn a pittance to survive. If they were injured and became too ill or disabled to work they would be cast into the street to beg and steal to live.

It is their lives and deaths I smell as I wander round the museum, the blood, sweat and tears they split everyday onto the wooden floors, the relief at another day over without injury and some money to feed the hungry mouths at home or the cries of pain as a finger was lost in a split second and their life was changed forever. And these smells transform themselves beyond the machines sat there silent but gleaming in all their splendour for the descendants of the workers to admire in awe and wonder. The smells transform into a fully working factory with all the sensory experiences you would have lived through then.

The Calderdale Industrial Museum evokes all this and much more because of what it is in an age of metal boxes. A true step back in time to an era that we should not forget nor sugar coat in a romantic sheen. But experience and understand it for what it is, what it was and what it stands for today.

P1020366

P1020373

P1020379

P1020396

P1020408

P1020420

P1020444

P1020457


I thought this inspiring story of how a young man with autism made a special bond with a barista showed how differences can be overcome with a little understanding. http://m.lancasteronline.com/lifestyle/aaron-and-anisa-young-man-with-autism-forms-special-bond/article_20a01f66-2941-11e4-9d24-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm#.U_3uOCFsQec.facebook


Today was an amazing day for me. I was invited to Specialist Autism Services, an autism charity based in Bradford, England. I was invited down to talk about my poem ‘My Eyes’ and the subsequent film derived from it made by Courtney Sandifer to some of the students from the creative writing workshop. It was a surreal experience for me answering questions about one of my poems and talking about the story behind it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before and it was humbling for me to have people there who wanted to listen to my words and hearing one of the students read my poem out.

After the reading and the film I read my new poem ‘Ignored’ out and the students then got very creative turning it into a film and a cartoon. It was inspiring for me to see and hear the ideas they came up with just from one of my poems! I felt that they had far more creativity in them than I did and to me they proved it. When the workshop had finished and the students told me that they could not believe they were meeting a real life author and how much they had enjoyed the workshop it really hit home how words and writing have the power to change lives and inspire others.

For the record I don’t consider myself an author. I’m just someone who is able to put his feelings, thoughts and emotions into words that other’s can take something from. This makes it very, very rewarding for me and very worthwhile to keep going and never stop writing.


Last night was another auspicious moment in my poetry experience. I lost my poetry reading virginity! I was very, very nervous as you can imagine, but the evening was made far more relaxing by being held in a small restaurant called the Kava based in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. I had never been to the Kava before but it is a lovely little vegetarian restaurant with a very pleasant and convivial atmosphere, helped by the intimate surroundings.

I went there with two friends, Nuala Robinson and Gaia Holmes. Both Nuala and myself attend a workshop run by Gaia called ‘Igniting the Spark’. The workshop is held every week although we are taking a break for the summer. The workshop is a very friendly environment and achieves what it sets out to do. It has certainly ignited my spark and I am enjoying writing poetry and having my creative side challenged every week by the various activities Gaia sets us. It is the other writers who go to the workshop who also inspire me to write better poetry and without them I would not have come so far in such a short space of time.

In the Kava was another friend who I knew and this helped to settle my nerves knowing that there were people there who had come to support me and the other poets based purely on our performance on the night and nothing else. Gaia was the guest poet and performed several of her amazing poems to a spell bound audience. All of Gaia’s poetry was very well received and she had well deserved rapturous applause at the end of her readings. The compare Anthony then read a poem and after two other poets had performed some outstanding poetry it was my turn to perform.

I got up and very nervously began to read my first poem ‘She Dreams’. All of a sudden my first night nerves had disappeared and I just concentrated on reading my poetry to the best of what I consider to be my limited ability. My next reading was ‘My Eyes’ which is a very personal poem about how I see not being able to read and understand non-verbal communication because of my Asperger’s Syndrome and how I imagine it is for someone else. The last reading was ‘Emily Bronte’s Pen’ which is my interpretation of what it must have been like to be the pen with which Emily Bronte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’, Every since discovering the Bronte’s and Haworth last year they have held a special place in my heart and every time I visit Haworth Moor or the Bronte Parsonage I feel a tingle down my spine at the thought of walking in the footsteps of literary geniuses who changed the literary world forever with there outstanding poems and novels which have stood the test of time and always will do. At the end of my reading everybody applauded loudly and vigorously, especially my friend Simon who should be a professional applauder! The relief from finishing my very first poetry reading and losing my virginity was immense. All I wanted to do was find a bed and lie down for a very long time! But being 20 miles from home and with other poets still to read I couldn’t lie down anywhere. 

The rest of the poets were equally impressive and I realised how much I have to learn about poetry and I took inspiration from the other poets and their readings. After the event had finished everybody congratulated me on losing my poetry reading virginity and said I was a natural. To hear this gave me a boost to my confidence and has inspired me to carry on writing and reading poetry. Having Asperger’s and suffered from bullying has severely dented my confidence, but I am slowly getting it back through my new found passion.

I cannot thank Gaia Holmes enough for the lovely words she said to me at the end of the night, nor for the owners of the Kava Café who let us have the venue and all of the other poets and people who made it a magical evening for everybody. I got some ideas for a theme for my poetry and I cannot wait to read some poetry again whether it is one of my poor attempts or poetry by one of the greats.