“This anthology was born of an international writing competition. Writers sometimes need accessible challenges to get them up and typing, and the competition asked them to write about a turning point in their life. The writing astonished us — it was as if the writers had taken note of the English poet Sir Philip Sydney’s muse simply instructing, ‘look in thy heart and write’”
– Editor Gareth St. John Thomas (Introduction – The Turning Point)
The stories that are featured in The Turning Point are deeply personal and often intimate accounts of the human experience, each one as different from one another as the people who wrote them.
We wanted to share some of these stories with you in the lead up to release, but we also knew that maintaining the intimacy and humanity of the original stories was extremely important.
So, we asked the contributors of The Turning Point to join us in creating this exciting project – The Voices of The Turning Point.
Organised into 6 parts, just like the book, this collection of audio recordings features stories of life altering events, read by the people who lived them.
We hope you enjoy these recordings and the other stories featured in The Turning Point – you never know, maybe one of them will be your own Turning Point.
Skin to sea
“It did not matter that I could not swim. The ocean’s waters lapped and grazed at my hip bones and I revelled in the understanding of what it meant to be free.”
My name is Vicky Lopez. I’m 22-years old and I grew up in South San Francisco, California . In the time since I’ve left Santa Barbara, I’ve reflected on the cluster of memories I collected during my four years there.
This story is one of those memories, one which I felt particularly compelled to share as it seems to have left the most lasting effect on my being. I hope you enjoyed it.
Note from the blue
“The moment that changed my life was not accompanied by thunderclaps, fireworks or cymbals as one might expect from a life-changing moment. In fact, it was a very ordinary day. What could be life-changing about a piece of paper slipped under a windscreen wiper?”
When Stephanie thought back to a moment that changed her life, one event stood out. This, because the actions of the two people involved were completely out of character. Now 60 and about to retire, she intends to devote more time to writing. Stephanie is a member of the Creative Writers @ Museum group, in her home town of Northampton UK.
KATE MARSHALL FLAHERTY
“How strange, in these corona times, I am more afraid of a tot on a trike, a super spreader unaware of her distance, than the closeness of a 900-pound bear, on his hinds, 6-inch claws dangling, sniffing my scent.”
Kate Marshall Flaherty is an award-winning poet who has recently rambled into prose. “Bear” is one of a few pieces that she wrote as a prose parallel to a poem. She had five books of poetry and has been published in numerous international anthologies. Kate lives in Toronto, Canada. where she guides StillPoint Writing and Editing Workshops online and hopefully in person again. See her performance poetry at https://katemarshallflaherty.ca
MARK R.C. LOVELL
“Physically, it helped us avoid interrogation, internment, being split up and possibly worse. But it influenced me mentally, too. I learnt that kindness exists in unexpected places; that languages are there to be used; and that my mother would have gone through hell for me …”
Mark Lovell, aged 86, was born in England. His early years involved much foreign travel but his university education was in Cambridge UK. He emigrated in 1976, became a Canadian citizen and lives in Montreal.
His main career was in marketing research. His non-fiction books include ‘The Fugitive Mind’ and ‘Saturday Parent’ under the pseudonym Peter Rowlands.
Now he paints watercolours and writes about significant experiences- while his memory holds.
“You’d probably benefit from attending playgroup,’ said the maternal child health nurse. Her name escapes me, but those words never will. It was then, in the depths of post-natal depression and anxiety that I reached out for help.”
Amal Abou-Eid is an educator, author and mother to 3 wonderful boys. Born and raised in Melbourne, Amal started writing children’s books to help educate people about her Islamic faith and cultural heritage. Her story, ‘Playgroup’ details her journey to becoming an author and details the moments, words and people that helped make it happen.
“Realization tore through me like a chilling Albanian katabatic wind ripping my breath away.
You saved my life.”
Award-winning author, Dimity Powell writes and reviews for children and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. She loves eating cake with ice cream, sailing on the beam and writing in her diary although combining all three at once makes her nauseous. She has lived, worked and travelled extensively throughout Europe including Greece and credits life as her best inspiration. Dimity lives on the Gold Coast, Australia. Discover more at www.dimitypowell.com
The lady in the blue dress
“She was skipping along the footpath opposite her house, when an old lady stopped her and uttered, ‘Hello. You must be Betty’s daughter.’
‘No,’ said the little girl. ‘I am Beryl’s daughter.’
‘No,’ said the lady. ‘I am sure you are Betty Kelly’s daughter.’”
I am 71 years old and live in Tauranga, New Zealand. After I joined a U3A memoir writing group, and with my mother’s picture as inspiration, this memoir became part of my life story. Our origins are an important part of our lives, and although the first years of my life were a lie, finding out the truth about my birth mother helped explain my relationship with my father, adoptive mother and siblings.
JESSICA L. FOLK
The 4×6 Photograph
“I don’t know when I stopped being the carefree young girl in that photo. I have this evidence of a family that was not yet broken — a 4×6 photograph of a new beginning. I have proof of a family on the precipice of something new.”
Jessica L. Folk is 31 years young and lives in Bowling Green, KY where she teaches creative writing at Western Kentucky University. Her story was inspired by a photograph of herself and her family that she found collecting dust in her sister’s baby photo album. When she came across the photo she instantly thought, “They don’t even know what’s coming next.” This story captures her musings about that time.
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The Turning Point
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘the moment when my life changed forever’. Some of us can even pinpoint it in our own lives; the birth of a child, the acceptance letter to a degree programme, the decision to make a momentous change. The Turning Point is an anthology of personal accounts, showcasing the extraordinary and unexpected moments that have completely altered everyday lives.