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“I’m a doctor and I had back surgery a few years ago that was spine damaging, so I’m now less mobile and in pain. It’s hard to maintain the compassion and curiosity required to continue as a GP so I decided to stop being a doctor this year and start studying creative writing to set up the next era of my life.”
“Training to be a doctor was a massive accomplishment for me because it came on the back of leaving school at 14, working as a stripper and a prostitute, having a baby at 17, and nearly dying from a suicide attempt at 20. In recovery in intensive care, a doctor asked me if I had a dream for my future and when I said I’d like to be a nurse or a doctor, he laughed at me. That was the catalyst for turning my life around. I was working the streets in Wellington in 1981 and graduated from medical school in 1991. I also did the Ironman twice.”
“So to now give up being a doctor is a huge let go of invested energy and identity. But once I accepted it, I made a plan. Twenty years ago I had written two successful autobiographical books, one called Bent Not Broken and the other called Life on the Line. They were published in England and Europe and I took the story to women’s prisons and programmes and spoke at graduations.”
“It’s now time to wake up that place in me that has been sleeping but I first wanted a qualification. I like having letters after my name to validate things to myself and it would also give me an entrée later into editing. Because of my physical limitations, my study had to be online from home, and when I researched creative writing this NorthTec course came up. I’ve lived in the north for the last five years so I got on the phone, had a wonderful conversation with one of the tutors, and signed up.”
“I started with leveI 6 and have now nearly finished level 7 and I’m amazed at the quality of the course content, the teaching and the mentors. There is extraordinary support and encouragement here, and I don’t have to leave home to do this exciting stuff. At the course hui, we get to put names and faces to our online classmates and tutors from around the country, plus get inspired by talented guest speakers.”
“I’m delighted with my progress and I completed a book during level 6 which is now with editors in London and New York, and I’ve almost finished another one. I am ripe with so many ideas that I plan to live to 112 to get them all out.”