Recently, a radio show host from within the Parkinson’s community invited me to take up a regular weekly slot on his radio show. I was touched that he would ask me to write and present for a segment of his show. He has a charming personality as a radio presenter and his music playlist is right up my street, so to speak. In wanting to show my support for the great work he and the radio station do for people with Parkinson’s, I agreed to take up his offer. I hope to do him proud. My first broadcast was made several weeks back and was well received and now I have become a regular weekly contributor.
This opportunity has been a complete surprise to me and I am enjoying it. Behind the scenes, I spend time developing the script for the show. I am qualified in writing for radio. This advantage is a confidence booster. That said, behind the scenes I can still feel a degree of anxiety at participating in something so public. Once written, I then pre-record my segment for the show. I am not sure that a role in the public eye is for me, though I am happy be the writer.
I am familiar with high profile work. My dad was very much in the public eye due to his work in the world of film and television production. He was a stunt-man, stunt choreographer and he sometimes acted, too. From as early as I can recall, the studios at Pinewood, Shepperton and Ealing were my second home. Not only did I watch my dad perform in a vast number of iconic film and television productions of the late twentieth century, but I was often also thrust in front of a camera to be an extra, myself. I didn’t share my dad’s comfort at being in such a public position, however. I suspect that my strength lies ‘behind the scenes’.
Don’t get me wrong. I adored every second watching the actors and crew ply their craft, but I, instead, longed to be a writer of such productions; away from the viewing public. As I hit my early teens, my dad and I would have major arguments about me doing many of the things he aspired for me to, in the film and television world. He tried to open many doors for me, but I shied away. Part of that was just teenage rebellion against my dad but a lot was a reaction to being put into the spotlight.
The irony here is that I have recently published a book entitled ‘Look Inside. My Life with Parkinson’s in Poetry’, which has a close up photo of half of my face on the cover! Such a personally revealing book about an aspect of my life and my face now out there for all to see. Part of me is thrilled to have completed and published this body of work, while part of me still wants to hide from any sense that this places me directly in the public eye.
Where my writing career is concerned, I have even spent time wrangling over whether to write under my own name or under a ‘pen name‘ or ‘pseudonym.’ Again, this discomfort can be traced to this same historic origin of those days when my dad and I would battle over whether I would be walking through doorways leading to roles on stage and in film and television. Now, I find myself a published author and a radio writer and presenter! Isn’t it funny how things work out, sometimes? I will likely step away from the presenting side of things very quickly, but it is a great opportunity for me to write for radio for a while.
Fortunately, as a writer and even in presenting a small segment on a radio show, I can still maintain a somewhat discreet presence. In fact, my family and I only listened to my first broadcast. Since then, we just busily get on with whatever we are doing at the weekend and completely forget that my words and voice are being broadcast at all.
I think, perhaps, it is in the nature of writers to be happiest away from the limelight and comfortably established in an environment in which they can feel a sense of retreat from the scrutiny of society. It reinforces, for me, why I put so much effort into making my home and garden a sanctuary from the outside world. That said, I have added the podcasts of my broadcasts to this magazine, as a number of people in the Parkinson’s community have asked me to, for ease of access. I hope you enjoy listening.
I hope to write for radio a great deal in the future, although I think I’ll leave the presenting to those who are maybe a little more into performance art.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.