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‘Bikers had tears rolling down their faces’

A new book The Purple Veil uses art and poetry to encourage people to explore deep issues. Author Kerry Cole explains how it came to be written

A new book The Purple Veil uses art and poetry to encourage people to come out of destructive places and behaviour. Author Kerry Cole, co-founder of Cross Rhythms, explains how it came to be written

The Purple Veil comes from both personal experience and observation. I was born in the 1960s, a little West Country girl trying to make sense of the world around me.  I know some of the dark places that the mind and spirit can enter whilst pursuing relationships, love and pleasure.

I originally wrote it as a poem and then adapted it for the stage [at a Cross Rhythms festival] with the help of choreographer Paula Hocking.  The production took place within a large four-poster wooden structure, draped in gaudy purple fabric.  Within it the characters outworked their agonising longings and innermost emotions.

The climax came when a male character reached out and tore down the veil in a quest to find true love beyond the self-centredness that was displayed there. As he did this, he crashed to the ground and into this loneliness, despair and desolation a father figure came and held the man in a fatherly embrace. It was a connection with pure love that gave affirmation, hope, direction, security and peace.

The response from people watching it was overwhelming. Men especially broke down and cried audibly. I remember looking up and seeing a group of bikers, dressed in their leather gear, with tears rolling down their faces.

Another profound thing happened when I asked young adults to play the parts for an amateur production. For several of them it brought to the surface their need for healing from deep hurts, rejection and especially fathering wounds, one of the biggest social issues of the western world.

I have had some interesting feedback from the book. It has got into the hands of professional footballers, musicians, CBT therapists, teenagers, old people, educationalists and artists and I am hearing some great stories of lives being affected in a positive way.

The writing and images deal with deep issues like the betrayal of innocence, but it is not a book that condemns. Rather it carries a call for people to come out of destructive places and behaviour.

  • The Purple Veil by Kerry Cole with artwork by David Bill is available from price £9.99 + £3.50 p&p.

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