Valerie Loughton, a resident at Marist in Belmont, was an accomplished and published author before joining Catholic Homes and has continued to pursue her passion with equal enthusiasm since moving there six months ago. The mother of four devotes a minimum of three hours a day to putting pen to paper, and some days more. The shelves in her room are packed to the brim with manuscripts and published pieces of work.
“I think my passion for writing is just something inside me. Many of my relatives were writers so it must be in the blood. My first poem “The Burden of Life,” which I wrote at the age of fourteen, was published in the Honorary Magistrate Journal and I just went from there,” she says.
Valerie’s husband’s career took her to various parts of the island and for five years they lived together in the Solomon Islands. It was here that she enjoyed a period of great creativity, with so many fascinating stories to tap into as a base for both novels and poems. She trained and practised as a nurse before becoming a professional writer.
She frequently uses rhyme as a base for her poetry as she believes the rhythm makes it easier for people to read, understand and absorb. Since being at Marist she has written a poem every single day, many of which are focussed on a particular resident or staff member. Her work is framed on many of the walls and each poem is designed to be positive and uplifting.
“I find characters come into my mind and don’t leave me alone. I have written 170 in six months and have no desire to slow down,” she says. “As long as it keeps making me happy, I will continue to write.”