Reading and wellbeing are two of the most important things available to us. I asked Ian McMillan, the ‘Bard of Barnsley’ about how he keeps himself well as he tours around, and how his reading helps him in life. Here is what he had to say:
Q We all have mental health or ill-health, and we all have a being, well or not. What are, or have been, your biggest challenges in mental health well-being?
A I think that sometimes I allow myself to get too tired; I get up very early, which is fine, but I have to keep reminding myself to go to bed early too!
Q When you’re feeling down, what are the things that help you through? What are your top three tips that might help others?
A Exercise, sleep, talking to people you know as well as people you don’t know.
Q What do you do for day-to-day self-care?
A I try to make time in the day to just meditate and contemplate and drift.
Q I work with a lot of young adults experiencing difficulty. If you had one piece of advice for teenagers and young adults what would it be?
A Remember that you are not alone; the world can be a harsh place but you are not the only one to be feeling that harshness.
Q Do you think reading is important, and why?
A Reading takes you into the mind of the writer and into the centre of the things the writer is writing about. It’s a space where you can interact and it’s a space where you can be yourself.
Q What are you currently reading?
A All sorts but I’m enjoying rereading the poems of TS Eliot: I like trying to fathom the mystery of The Four Quartets!
Q Are there any books you go back to time after time?
A Yes, the afoirementioned Four Quartets and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath to remind me that we are all human and we can all help each other and the world.
Q What book has had the biggest impact on you?
A Maybe The Grapes of Wrath, I guess.
Q Where and how do you do most of your reading?
A Anywhere and everywhere; whenever I can grab a few moments
Thank you Ian!