Gillian P Stokes

Rookie (1 January 1961 / Zomba, Malawi)

Biography of Gillian P Stokes

Gillian P Stokes poet

Who am I? I am a ditsy, forgetful, absent minded, untidy daydreamer. I believe in fairies and the little folk (she grins) I have been told that I have a very high IQ, but that means nothing in the real world. To function well, I need great moments of withdrawing from the madding crowd to restore my equilibrium.
My jobs have been many and varied, starting with nursing, running a health shop, sales and marketing, loads of admin and clerical positions along the way, small business management etc. Currently I am working as a real estate agent.

I am a maverick and a loner, I believe in speaking my mind and am thus perhaps not the most diplomatic person, and I do not make the best employee. Perhaps the problem is that in my “40’s”, I still feel that I am finding myself, and perhaps my employment problem my whole life long has been one of being a square peg in a round hole. I have an enquiring mind, am religious and spiritual, and am fascinated by things mythical and mystical. I have a gift of healing. I have always had a sense that I was born with an “old soul” and have had to grow into myself.

I live in Durban South Africa. Durban is a coastal / port city, and has a very warm sub-tropical climate. I was raised in the African bush and mainly in small towns, and after twenty years, I still find myself wondering just what I am doing in the City. I am single, no kids and share a home with my parents and Amber my cat. I am entrepreneurial and busy myself doing several things to “bring home the bacon.”

My siblings and I were all born in different African countries, my father was (to say the least) a bit of a gypsy when it came to work. I alone (including being “home taught for most of the first two years of my schooling) went to seven different schools; my older brothers (both dead now, creating a part of me that is either missing or broken and wounded forever) went to ten. My younger sister, the lucky one went to only one junior and one senior school. I come thus from a family background that was depending on your view point either blissfully different and exciting or very dysfunctional. We moved around a lot as children and did not have much opportunity to put down roots or develop lasting friendships. We were each other’s companions for the main part and our only other constant recourse for solace and entertainment was reading.

It seems that I am incapable of giving a “bio “ of myself that does not revolve around “words” written, sung, read, or spoken. I have always “composed” either in my head or with doodling and writing, or even transporting myself from a situation and creating a “script” in my head on how I would resolve things. It is how I deal with situations in my life. Most of my doodling etc have though been discarded as silly nonsense on completion (to my regret) and it is only in the last 3 years that I have been encouraged by good friends to take my writing seriously and to even consider the possibility that there might perchance be a glimmer of talent.

My family and my varied background have had a profound influence on me. As has the wonderful escapist fantasy world of books. My life experiences, my highs and lows and tragedies are dealt with by writing about them. My writing is my therapist, my confidante, and my friend. I am an avid bookworm, my tastes running from the classics, to dictionaries and encyclopedias, to “bodice ripper” or thriller novels. Then of course there is poetry! ! My love, my life’s blood. Again varied tastes from Wordsworth & Tennyson to Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. My bedside table always has a mountain of different books piled on it that I never seem able to put away! !

Apart from family, friends, and circumstances, my one great influence where writing is concerned was perhaps Rod Kimble, my home and English teacher in my very last year of school. A man with a passion and a burning desire to share his love for literature with his students, he made poetry and literature come alive for me. He was the very first person who created in me the ability not just to get inside a poem, but also to live and breathe it too. I do not know if he ever realized the influence he had on his students. He certainly recognized a spark in me that in one short year he nurtured and fanned into a passion for poetry and prose that has grown over the years. He also brought Shakespeare and our other set workbooks to life and made them fun. To him I am indebted forever for his skill as a teacher and his love for his craft.

This then, is the background that has brought me to this point, where I am able to share my work with others! Some of my writing has come from moments of pure inspiration, some (poems more especially) just writing themselves, the words pouring out. Some of my writing is the result of revision and hard slog. Some of my work has come from writing group exercises, where we were given a sentence, and told to write a song, poem or short story using said theme. Some of my work I feel is magical, some of it horrible! I make no pretenses of being either grammatically correct or a classical poet. I am a diamond in the rough, a work in progress. My writing reflects though my various moods and my growth as a writer. I present it to you as is, making no excuses. It is a good feeling to have come this far, and I hope you have as much enjoyment reading my work as I had writing it. Updates

My Africa

Come to my land to feel her warmth.
Come to my land to hear her myriad voices.
Come to my land to see her many magical colours.
Africa the shape changer, the chameleon,
Africa, different things to different people
Never ever dull or commonplace.

Merge with her, become one with her
Feel her joys and her sorrows

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