Thanks again to MFR for continuing to raise the profile of Lyme diseas by asking me to speak about it! I was saddened to hear that the launch of the Lyme app has been delayed but under current curcomstances it’s sadly not surprising.
Thank you so much Penicuik Rotary Club for inviting me to speak to your club about Lyme disease and my novel Finding Joy – via zoom. I had a great time speaking to you all and your kind feedback has made my week! Read what they had to say below.
Morven gave a talk on Lyme disease to a Zoom meeting of the Rotary Club of Penicuik on 7th July 2020. I joined the meeting early and Morven was already there, chatting to the host and a few other club members. It was clear from the outset that Morven was a people person; I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that that augured well for the talk.
I was not mistaken. She began by reading the first page of her book, Finding Joy, the story of a young girl – the “Joy” of the title – who contracted Lyme disease in her early teens. Based on Morven herself, Joy suffers a series of life experiences which no young girl should have to endure. The disease, it emerges, is notoriously difficult to diagnose, having as it does an array of widely varied symptoms, each of which can characterize other illnesses.
Morven went on to explain the science of Lyme disease and its transmission, always with the sense of both respect for and resentment of the disease, which comes of having had it for fourteen years. We were left in no doubt that we did not want this disease. Nor do we now have any excuse for falling victim to it, given the clarity and intensity of Morven’s accounts of where, when and how infected ticks transmit it, as well as how to deal with them and what to do if the worst happens.
All in all, the consensus was that we left the meeting better informed, more sympathetic to Lyme disease sufferers, and slightly obsessed with ticks. I took a phone call as I neared the end of writing the last paragraph. When I told the caller, another club member, what I was doing, he said that since that night he is much more aware when out walking of where he is, and of what else might be there. I think Morven would be pleased to hear that.
Club Secretary, Rotary Club of Penicuik
Big thank you to the staff and cadets of 2405 Dingwall Sqaudron Air Cadets for the kind thank you card for the talk I gave on my novel and on Lyme disease. Thank you also for the kind feedback!
Bethany Skidmore – Dingwall Sqaudron Air Cadets
A very interesting and informative talk, Morven-May engaged with the cadets very well. All the cadets enjoyed the talk she gave and I would 100% recommend a talk from Morven-May to any organisation/group.
A huge thank you from 2405 Dingwall Sqaudron Air Cadets for taking the time to come and visit us.
I’m so please by this write up of the talk I gave for the U3A. Thanks so much for such a great review, for raising awareness and informing people on what to do if they get a tick bite.
Oban High School – Kerri Stewart (PT English and Literacy). Presentation and creative writing workshop
Thank you so much for making the events yesterday such a great success. The students have been unanimous in their praise. The talks and the workshop were all really enjoyable and interesting. It has such a fantastic impact on learning to have people come in and talk about their own experiences
Oban High School – Aimee McIntosh (English Department).
Morven’s talk about Lyme disease and her experience with it was interesting and informative. Many of our s4 pupils were aware of ticks and had experienced tick bites but knew little about the disease. Morven’s reading of the voice of Lyme disease really gave the pupils an insight to living with the disease. They thoroughly enjoyed the talk, especially the quick quiz at the end which really showed how much they had learned.
Morven’s creative writing workshop quickly focused our advanced highers on the task of creating a character. Her resources were great stimulus for some really imaginative characters which could then be developed into short stories. The group thoroughly enjoyed their workshop and produced some very detailed characters.
There’s nothing more rewarding than being invited back to speak at the same event. What bigger compliment can you get!
BY MORVEN-MAY MAcCALLUM
Review by Mavis MacDonald – owner of Nairn Bookshop.
When Morven-May approached me about her book ‘Finding Joy’, I was immediately drawn to her. She was quietly spoken and I found myself listening intently to what she had to say. I knew immediately I wanted to invite her to speak at the shop about her novel and Lyme Disease.
We had an excellent turn out for her. Again, although quietly spoken, she could be heard quite clearly and she had the undivided attention of the audience. Morven-May’s talk was informative and well presented. She took several questions from the audience which she answered and sometimes became discussion points. A very competent and well received speaker.
This book was written as a work of fiction but is very closely linked to Morven-May’s own struggle with the devastating Lyme Disease.
Morven-May takes the reader on a harrowing journey of the young character Joyce. Joyce very quickly transforms from being an energetic teenager to a recluse. Some days she cannot get out of bed or carry out the basics of everyday life e.g. brushing her hair.
Doctors don’t listen to Joyce or her carer Aunt Beth. Generally the doctors and people who know her do not believe the physical and mental agony Joyce is going through. However, one day, she is listened to and life starts to change for her by bringing some light into her now very dark life.
Like her character Joyce, Morven-May missed most of her secondary education which, in my opinion, makes it remarkable that she was able to pen a novel of such quality.
‘Finding Joy’ gives the reader a shocking insight into what it is like for many sufferers of Lyme Disease.
What a delight to have my novel read by Sue from Books From Dusk Till Dawn! Thank you so much Sue for writing such a beautiful and insightful review – you captured everything I hoped to achieve by writing Finding Joy. I’m really pleased that you enjoyed reading Finding Joy. Read Sue’s review and explore her briliantwebsite by clicking here.
Thank you very much Laura for taking the time to read my novel and for letting me post your review on my website – I’m delighted that you enjoyed reading Finding Joy.
I’m always overjoyed to hear what people think of my work and reviews are such a great help to encourage other people to read Finding Joy and to learn about Lyme disease.
Review by Laura: ‘Well done! I have just spent all day reading your book and just wanted to say really well done. I highlighted lot’s of things which mirrored our families experience of Lyme. I spoke to you last year at Belladrum as my daughter had had and recovered from Lyme Disease. You give a great hug!
I liked the way you gave the perspectives of sufferer, carer and friend and I think your book will be invaluable to people in the midst of illness, before treatment or during treatment.’
Thank you so much Drew for writting such a kind and beautiful review of the talk I did for the Highland Lit – I was so delighted to be invited to the event.
Morven-May Macallum and Finding Joy at the HighlandLit
The HighlandLit was delighted to welcome Morven-May MacCallum to our monthly author event at the Glen Mhor Hotel the evening of July 19, 2017.
Morven-May spoke to a packed room about her recently published novel Finding Joy, in which she describes the experiences of a young woman who has Lyme disease. Charting the background to writing Finding Joy, Morven-May enthralled the audience with insights of how she drew upon her own experience of the disease, vividly detailing its debilitating effects and her long struggle to get the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. It is, she told us, a vicious and ‘intelligent’ disease which plays to a given individual’s physical area of particular weaknesses or vulnerability. Thus, Morven-May is determined to do everything she can to raise awareness of the seemingly innocuous yet pesky tick, the devastation it causes, the need for far greater education as to its dangers and the need for significant research funding going forward.
Essentially, Morven-May emphasised how she has always written; it is, she told us, ‘something she has to do’. Hence, it was natural that – when still too weak to leave the house – she began communicating the facts about Lyme disease by writing her novel.
Morven-May comes across as a quietly confident, courageous and resilient young woman, and it was our privilege to meet her last night and hear her captivating story. Always the campaigner, taking every opportunity to speak out about Lyme disease, Morven-May answered questions from the floor with thoughtfulness and patience, and stayed behind afterward to sign copies of Finding Joy and engage further with folks.
Also present at the Glen Mhor lending his support was Morven-May’s grandfather, the redoubtable George W. Macpherson, author and one of the last Seannachies in Scotland. Clearly then, storytelling and the wise wielding of words runs in the family. And although Morven-May – by her own admission – has been busily devoting so much of her time and energy recently spreading the word about Lyme to devote much time to writing, she is she assures us brimming with ideas for future literary pursuits. In which case, HighlandLit would have no hesitation in welcoming Morven-May on a return visit. Watch this space!
Drew Hillier HighlandLIT Programme & Publicity Coordinator