A group of Toogoolawah locals are proving that having a disability needn’t stop you showcasing your abilities.
Ten clients of the Carinity Our House disability support service are now published artists and authors, having contributed their original stories and images for the Our House Stories book.
The men and women “combined creative forces, unleashed our imagination and created our stories” for the self-published 28-page collection.
Fostered by a spirit of collaboration, the idea for the book developed after Carinity Our House staff member Tracy Dobson attended her local writing group.
“Each month we are given a prompt and have to write a short story of 500 words or less. I had come up with an idea on how to start it and I thought I would get the group to contribute to the story,” Tracy said.
“We had been doing some writing exercises at Our House and I felt they would enjoy participating in the planning of a story. I read out the beginning of the story then said, ‘What happens next?’ They came up with amazing creative ideas.”
The budding authors then started developing their own original narratives.
“When the story writers had done their first drafts, I offered them advice on the wording and assisted them with punctuation and editing,” said Tracy, who contributed her poem Little Arrows to the book.
Amongst the contributors to Our House Stories are talented artist Corrie Young, who has displayed his work in local exhibitions and painted the book’s cover image.
Fellow Carinity Our House clients Ashleigh Barry, Lisa Dean, Amber Bennett, Ryan Bagnall, Belinda Bagnall, Hugo Teske, Glenda Allen, Peter Hemsley and Shane Smith also contributed stories and illustrations.
Following the popular literary mantra of “write what you know”, rural life inspired Shane’s short story, The Cowboy’s Prayer.
“Some people have told me that my story, about a bull rider who wants to become world champion, made them cry. It was a great opportunity writing the book and I hope to make another book soon,” Shane said.
Our House Stories marks the second time Shane has had his work published. In 2013, he and three mates from Carinity Our House released a cookbook with original photos and formed a catering group dubbed ‘Lunch n’ Kings’.
Carinity Our House Coordinator Maggie Poole said the Our House Stories project “showcases what people can achieve if they’re given the chance”.
“We are all about creating a sense of belonging and purpose for people living with a disability and provide them with opportunities for personal growth and enablement they might not have elsewhere in the community,” Maggie said.