Michelle Payette-Daoust

In Part One of her interview, Canadian blogger, bi-linguist and teacher Michelle Payette-Daoust bares her soul as a cancer patient. Michelle talks about how she closed her eyes to the symptoms until the condition forced itself on her, and how it has changed her life. The photos in the piece show Michelle’s family and the progress of her condition.

Leslie: How did your cancer first present itself and what were the early stages like?

Michelle: I suppose I may as well get right into the nitty-gritty in order to leave it behind as quickly as possible. My cancer narrative is one of self-neglect. My body had been sending me all kinds of suspicious signals for several years, and I ignored them. Continue reading THE THINGS THAT FETTER ME


Raine’s great uncle, Tommy Ripley, who sold flowers close to Windsor Castle for many years. The Romani word for flowers is loolladi

I Interviewed Raine Geoghegan about how her Romany roots have opened up a new world of film and poetry for her. Raine’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Forward Prize for Best single Poem, the Saboteur Awards, Best of the Net 2018, and her collection Apple Water: Povel Panni was chosen by the Poetry Book Society for its Spring 2019 Selection. Raine has an MA in Creative Writing and has had M.E. and Fibromyalgia for twenty years.

Leslie: Can you describe the writing of Apple Water: Povel Panni from first draft to final collection?

Raine: I have been working with a mentor, James Simpson, who suggested that I write about my Romany roots. I spent some time sitting quietly, thinking about my family, the strong women, like my mother and my granny. I visualised a woman, a nomad. She was walking along the road. She seemed at one with nature, bending to pick flowers, drinking spring water. With my eyes closed I watched her as she kept on walking and I saw her body begin to age. Continue reading REDISCOVERING MY ROMANY ROOTS – RAINE GEOGHEGAN


I interviewed artist Su Blackwell, who creates her delicate, intricate dreamscapes out of paper.

Su says of her artwork, “I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculptures, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional dioramas, and displaying them inside wooden boxes… For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder.” Continue reading SU BLACKWELL’S PAPER ART AND BOOK SCULPTURES


Clare Hedin

Interview with musician and sound healer  Clare Hedin who uses energy awareness, connection and deep listening to explore the nature of being. Clare performs and speaks at conferences, events and symposiums, and teaches Creativity & Innovation at San Francisco State University, and in online workshops. Continue reading THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SOUND HEALING


Sussi Louise Smith

I interviewed Sussi Louise Smith who describes herself as a, ‘Danish artist & poet living in Ilkley, UK, painting life in colourful naivism’. Sussi talked about how she creates her art and what she draws from Danish ideas such as Livsmalerier and Hygge. She also talks about Danish artists, world artists, and compares Denmark to England.

Leslie: Tell us about your art and livsmalerier.

Sussi: Livsmalerier is a combination of two Danish words meaning Life and Paintings. I chose to put the two together, firstly because if we run out of words in Danish we just make new ones up by combining other ones, and secondly because that is what I do. Continue reading NAIVE ART, HYGGE & GIRAFFES


Jane Porter – me and Dennis

I talked to Jane Porter, illustrator, author and conservationist about her children’s books, her love of nature and her creative process. Her books include Brian The Brave (written by Paul Stewart), King Otter, Simon & Schuster, June 2019 and The Boy Who Loved Everyone (illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring, Walker Books, November 2019).

Jane says about herself: “I am currently working on a four-part graphic novel: The Ghost Carp. It’s a humorous re-telling of Herman Melville’s 1851 masterpiece Moby Dick, set on a 21st century urban river.” Continue reading JANE PORTER – ILLUSTRATOR, AUTHOR AND NATURE LOVER


Tania photographed by Edna Williamson

I interviewed Tania Clarke therapeutic coach, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Tania says about these three methods she uses, “All three have the same goal: ‘helping you make the changes you want in your life’. They’re just different approaches to reach that goal. The methods overlap, and each client is an individual, so we bring in whatever the client needs as appropriate.”

Leslie: So how does each approach work, please?

Tania: Coaching uses our conscious learning ability. Generally, we focus on changes in the top layer of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, helping people to take in new information and practise new skills and new behaviour. Continue reading TANIA CLARKE THERAPIST – WAYS TO CHANGE OUR LIVES


Glasgow Women’s Library launch poster 1991

I interviewed feminist researcher Rachel Thain-Gray about Glasgow Women’s Library, a collection of iconic publications and objects testifying to the importance of women in history. Glasgow Women’s Library has won no less than seven awards. It began from events run by feminist artists and activists during Glasgow’s year as the European City of Culture in 1990.

Rachel Thain-Grey, whose doctorate examines feminist museums across the world, describes how GWL continues to put on exhibitions and events that showcase the full range of women’s history while informing the struggle for gender equality today.

Leslie: In a nutshell, what does the Glasgow Women’s Library display, how does it display it, and what’s your role there? Continue reading SOCIAL JUSTICE & GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY

Author and Poet