Thoughts and Memories - Funds from the book will go to Spinal Injuries Ireland

By Tiana Binns

The curveballs life throws us always have the potential to change our life for better or for worse.

However, it is never that black and white. What you do with those curveballs is what matters the most.

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Joe Cannon and his book

For Tallaght resident Joe Cannon, the curveball was a devastating spinal injury that occurred in 2016 that left him semi paralyzed.

It was an injury that affected Joe and his family for years. He had to undergo several operations and physio sessions that, over a period of about three years, allowed him to get back to his life.

During his recovery, Joe began writing down memories from his life growing up and his family now. He wrote his thoughts and poems about these memories and now has just completed them into a compilation for his new book.

Titled, A Miscellany of Thoughts and Poems of Joseph Cannon, he has decided to donate all of the proceeds from his book sales to Spinal Injuries Ireland, an organization that provides assistance to those who are affected by a spinal cord injury.

Joe’s book costs €10 and can be purchased through his GoFundMe page where he is also raising money for donations towards Spinal Injuries Ireland.

You can check out this GoFundMe and purchase Joe’s book at: Joe Cannon Book

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Where are you from and what has led up to this point in your life?

I come from a town called Staleel near Carrick in Co Donegal. I lived there with my twelve brothers and sisters and our parents.

I attended Carrick National school. I grew up in the hills where the Gaelic Athletic Association, GAA, was a real center point of the community. Kilcar was the team that my brothers played on and I saw them win leagues and championships for many years there.

I lived on a farm, which was hard work; looking after the sheep with the family and daily trips to the bog to cut the turf.

I moved to Dublin in 1979 as a bar apprentice in Burchells of Ranelagh then moved to Dalkey as a senior barman. I then moved to Tallaght with my wife and got a job in South Dublin County Council.

What inspired you to write this book?

I suffered a spinal injury that led me to be semi paralyzed. Three years after my operations I was still only able to join dots on a page.

However, after many physio sessions I was able to grip a pen and write a little bit. This is the first book I’ve written, however I have written a number of poems that were published in The Echo newspaper over the years. It was 2017 when I was able to hold a pen again and the rest is history.

I started to realise my strengths and weaknesses and to utilise whatever talent you have, whatever it may be.

Can you give me a brief overview of what the book is about?

It starts with special dates on my journey to recovery from my spinal injury. After gaining some power in my arms and hands, I started to write down thoughts and poems about my life growing up in Donegal and the life I started in Dublin with my family. The book is filled with key memories in my life.

This continued on as I attended the rehabilitation center to learn how to walk again. As I continued to recover, I started writing poems of key events happening around the world.

What was the writing process like in conjunction with your rehabilitation?

It was on and off. Whenever a memory or thought came into my head, I always had a piece of paper beside me to keep notes.

The most challenging was trying to put all my notes together and not leaving people out who had helped me through my recovery. After surgery, I moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

This was followed by a number of months in Lisheen Nursing home in Rathcoole while my house was getting renovated for me.

There was plenty of time to write in between physio sessions. I really enjoyed reminiscing on the memories I’ve had with family and friends while writing.

I plan to write a second book within the next couple of years.

Do you have any advice for writers who may be going through similar situations regarding their health?

Be patient and stay strong. Your health is your wealth and looking after yourself is the most important thing. To anyone struggling at the moment there’s always hope. Keep positive.

There’s always someone who wants to help you to live your life to the fullest. It can all change in the blink of an eye.

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