Mending Broken Hearts
If you’ve ever been tempted to ‘keep yourself young’ by following the advice to do something that frightens you every day then you’d be inspired by my friend Helen Brown, an award winning columnist and best-selling author.
Helen would be the last person to see her own life as something others should emulate, but she is one of those people who lives every day with courage. Her humorous tales as a middle class wife and Mum in Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland through weekly newspaper columns and now a monthly column in Next magazine share one theme – her willingness to be honest about her insecurities and fears.
Her latest book Cleo – How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family – described as a blend of Eat Pray Love and Marley and Me – is her tale of how a small black kitten helped her overcome family tragedy and learn to live again – through grief to a second marriage, having another child, relocating countries and then facing breast cancer.
It’s a story she says that she hopes will encourage others going through tough times to believe “there is a future”.
More Than Nine Lives
Every few years Helen seems to have stepped off life’s high diving board and taken on new challenges. Some of them are the ones we all face up to – her second marriage to a younger husband, a new baby, relocation to Australia when she was well established as a writer in her NZ homeland and unknown across the Tasman – and some of them are more extreme.
Like her decision to write and perform a one woman show based on her story and then – without any theatrical training – take it on the road in Australia and New Zealand fund raising for hospices – an experience you’d think would be close to daily torture for someone who doesn’t willingly hog the spotlight. One she made into a touching – and that word again – inspiring performance.
Retirement on Hold
Her book about Cleo appeared just as she was feeling retirement might be looming. Its success has set in train what looks like it could a whole new career and international recognition.
Cleo, the story of a small black cat – is being published in eight languages; it is in its second edition in Australia already (extracts appear in the October edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly, in the upmarket The Week and in Sunday Times magazine (WA) on October 4) and it is sitting near the top of NZ best seller lists.