In this edition of our QQQs we have June Webster who took part in the Living Our Dying competition and her poem was highly commended by the judges.
June Webster is retired Accounts Manager, a poet and short story writer. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twelve years where her hobbies were painting in oils and acrylics, writing the occasional poem and attempting to write a novel. She continued to paint when she returned to the UK but gave it up to care for her youngest daughter Natascia when she became disabled, due to an auto-immune illness.
After Natascia died, June turned to writing, did a course on the Open College of the Arts, then on to Morley College and City Lit in London, where she rediscovered her love for poetry and is currently getting together a book of poems for her Natascia. Her poems have been published in South Bank Poetry, Dulwich OnView, Morley Poets First Anthology, Lighten Up Online, Second Light live, Dreich Magazine and Haiku Journal. She was short-listed for the Plumstead Poet Laureate. She is Rep for the Greenwich Meantime Stanza.
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Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:
- I lived in Italy for twelve years and loved every minute.
- I had four amazing children – three girls and one boy. My youngest daughter died after a long battle with Systematic Scleroderma, an auto immune disease, my second oldest daughter died from cancer during the second lockdown.
- I used to paint in oils and acrylics but gave it up to care for my youngest daughter. I’d always loved writing, as did she. When she passed, I decided to take a course of creative writing and discovered my love for the written word.
- I love animals and abhor cruelty to them, and nature – especially the sky, and water such as rivers, lakes and the sea.
What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?
My favourite age is now. After years of not liking myself, I find I am quite a nice person. Also, I have a wonderful husband, who champions everything I do.
Who is your favourite fictional character or famous person over 60?
Inspector Salvo Montalbano.
You are alone in your house (no pets). You have three minutes to get out before the house collapses and burns to the ground. What one possession would you grab and take with you?
What’s your favourite creative pastime?
Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.
I left home at 16, never got A or O levels or a University degree, but I speak Italian fluently and French quite well. I have a good knowledge of many subjects, thanks to short courses at various colleges, and free University courses online. I owe much to information found on the Internet, Wikipedia and my beloved books. Not to mention the help, prompts and advice from poet friends.
Our flash theme for September is Memory, Money, or Mates!
Is it technically autumn yet, or still summer? It’s very warm, but we’ve started noticing spiders so it must be September, but only just. This month, it’s #WorldAlzheimersMonth and Oddfellows Friendship Month and September also offers us Pension Awarness Week. This means our minds are on all things memory, connection and security for older people.
We’ll be featuring some content on the website about Alzheimers and dementia, financial matters and the art of friendship and connection. These are also the themes of our monthly flash competition, which is back to being a poem/prose/memoir this month, although accompanying photos are always welcome.
Are you aged 60 or over? Send us your flash entries! Tell us something about memory, money or mates.
Entries will be accepted until midnight on September 30th and we’ll pick our favourite in early October, which is, by cunning coincidence, when our poetry competition starts, so sharpen your pens for that. The winner will receive a copy of “The Book About Getting Older” by Dr Lucy Pollock which has been kindly donated by Penguin and their entry will be published on the Autumn Voices website.