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  • Emily Jarvie

An Introduction to Fibres of a Memory by Natalie Kormos

Updated: Jun 25

About the Author

Growing up on a ginseng farm in Port Dover, Ontario, Natalie began writing poetry at a young age. She holds two degrees from the University of St Andrews - a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master in Business. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys singing, golfing, playing polo, skiing, ballroom dancing and, of course, learning.


Natalie's writing has been featured in several literary journals, including multiple publications in The Parliament Literary Journal. She has won literary competitions by the Royal Canadian Legion and The Poetry Institute of Canada. Often writing from a scientific perspective, Natalie has a great passion for writing lyrically rhyming poetry to help others. Her writing is for all ages; providing comfort, encouraging connections and inspiring creativity.


The scientific basis to Natalie's writing has been greatly influenced by Professor Vincent Janik, Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews. It is Professor Janik that very poignantly spurred on and encouraged Natalie's great passion for scientific learning.



About the Artist - Susan Parish

Susan Parish didn't let a diagnosis of dementia stop her from living a full life. She took up art in her later years and, with the guidance of her art therapist, Annalisa Danowski [DTATI, RP (CRPO)], created many beautiful works that live on as her legacy. Canadian born, Susan was a true trailblazer who, by sharing her experiences, pursued her mission to make more communities dementia friendly for the benefit of those living with Alzheimer's. Susan rose to the occasion and let her voice ring out as a guiding beacon of light: "The whole country should be understanding what Alzheimer's is and what it means to deal with it and live with it. Which is what we're doing, we're living with Alzheimer's". Creating these pieces of artwork, along with many other paintings, brought Susan great joy and happiness, emotions that are felt by those that continue to view her art. Her beautiful artwork is forever cherished by her family and friends and lives on by being shared with others.


About the Book

Fibres of a Memory, available worldwide on Amazon, is a lyrical rhyming story of the emotions, challenges and experiences of a man living with Alzheimer’s, in addition to delving into his connections with loved ones and the world around him. The book provides an opportunity for readers to share and discuss personal experiences, questions and emotions around memories and dementia. Paired with beautiful illustrations created by an individual who lived with Alzheimer’s, this story honors our memories – those created, lost, shared and all those yet to come.

 

Providing great comfort and solace to readers, this book has been written very much from a science perspective. This poetry was greatly inspired by the research and teachings of Professor Frank Gunn-Moore of the University of St Andrews. During her time as a student of Professor Gunn-Moore’s, Natalie recalls the impactful moment when he described a synapse as the point of a memory. Professor Gunn-Moore’s great amount of fascinating and successful research in the area of Alzheimer’s and dementia, particularly in the discovery of amyloid-containing plaques and neurofibrillary Tau tangles in the brains of three species of dolphin, is the scientific basis providing inspiration for this book.

 

There are several very intentional features about this book, the first being that Fibres of a Memory is only available in a physical paperback format. It was very important to the author to have something tangible that would be easily picked up, opened and shared. Fibres of a Memory has received classification of large print, making the text size and contrast easily readable for all ages. Additionally, there is one image in the book that is purposely repeated twice. This image portrays a misty spattering, as if memories coming into emergence and evokes structures of neurons. This piece of artwork was intentionally repeated in the book to mimic the patterns and nature of our memories and the strengthening of neural connections. The title ‘Fibres of a Memory’ relates to the dendritic structures of neurons.

 

There is fascinating research with music and Alzheimer’s, particularly in the area of therapy. Natalie has sung competitively from the age of 3, singing classical Italian opera, the great American songbook and many Scottish folk songs. Coming from a background steeped in singing and musical experience, there is a prominent versatility to the rhyming nature of this book.

 

A portion of the proceeds from Fibres of a Memory is contributed towards further therapy programs for those living with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Natalie hopes that this book can provide comfort and support to its readers, that it can open up conversations between generations to discuss experiences, challenges and emotions and that it can inspire creativity through its words and artwork. Returning to the synaptic connections between neurons, Natalie hopes that Fibres of a Memory can build and strengthen connections between individuals that may be otherwise isolated emotionally or physically by dementia.    

 

Fibres of a Memory is a book for everyone. It is a powerful book, not only for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but for the many more that are affected: loved ones, community members and caregivers. Natalie has many more similar projects that she looks forward to publishing and sharing with the goal of helping others.



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