The story of a real-life relationship.
On a White Horse charts the story of the relationship between two people, Cathy a struggling artist and Dan, a burgeoning entrepreneur and publisher, how they met by chance in a pub off Carnaby Street in the early 1990s and how their relationship was to flourish for nearly a quarter of a century until Dan’s untimely death from bowel cancer at the age of fifty eight.
Information about the book
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42391287-on-a-white-horse
GUEST POST – MY FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT WRITING!
If you can think it, you can write it. It’s as easy as that. Once I realised this, the fear of the white page evaporated along with the insecurity about my intellect and a thousand and one barriers picked up through my patchy education. Unfortunately I still can’t spell but this has to be the least of my worries. And it’s not about being clever, it’s about having something to say.
After the death of my husband Daniel from bowel cancer aged only 58, I definitely had something to say. About the NHS, the inadequacy of friends, the strangeness of occupying that horrible word, ‘widow’, madness, drinking too much vodka, I could go on and I did. It all started to pour out of me. Firstly, in a tiny trickle and then in a much wider flow.
I began to find useful strategies for collecting my thoughts. Different nets for different fish if you like. A note pad by the bed for dreams and those waking hours. A smaller book for travelling. Trains, planes and even walking. Somehow forward motion always triggers thought in me and usually of a new and interesting kind.
I have come to realise that the act of creating a narrative – especially if it resonates with some upsetting or stressful personal truth – is deeply cathartic. Somehow to tell it how it is, to set it all out in a sequence will surely calm the mind. Just as cave men and women would tell of the latest run in with the sabre tooth tiger – perhaps even with some embellishment – so we are compelled to tell stories of derring-do or even of boredom. No matter, we must do something to calm the jumble of thought. The white noise.
Once I have a decent catch, it is time to present to the PC. Here another sensibility prevails. It is one that I associate with the making of things. The craft. Fashioning sentences and honing meaning. Just as an artist would draw over and over to capture the shape of a thigh or the fold in a piece of cloth, I work at it. For me it is about accuracy. How clearly I am expressing myself. That is what excites me and hopefully the reader too.
There is something profoundly healing about creating a narrative, particularly in relation to painful experiences. Some how to set it all down, to tell it how it really was, is immensely cathartic. I very much hope that my book might help others find a way – there own way – through the pain of bereavement and by so doing find greater joy in life. Oh yes and I do love to celebrate how wonderful my late husband Danny was!
What is one piece of advice you would give to others writing books? I have to pass on a very good piece of advice from my brother Greg – if you think it, you can write it. So don’t be scared, just put it down on paper. If you have something to say you will find the appropriate language. And don’t try and be clever
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cathy Phelan-Watkins was born in Portsmouth in 1963. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College; her work has been exhibited at galleries across the UK including at Tate St Ives, where she has served on the advisory board and as chair of the Tate St Ives members committee, working to further public engagement and understanding of contemporary art. She is director of Civil Society Media, the leading publisher within the charity sector. In 2016 the film maker Peter Bach made a documentary about the creation of the horse, After Daniel www.on-a-white-horse.co.uk. She lives and works in Clapham.