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As part of Mirthy Book Club in June, we launched a writing competition for members to write their own entries inspired by the little green notebook of 'The Authenticity Project', June's book of the month written by Clare Pooley. Thank you to all those who wrote submissions. Warm congratulations to Julie Cunningham on her winning entry, a signed copy of The Authencity Project is on its way!

If you found the little green notebook in a cafe would you read it? And then, would you write in it?

Of course I would read it. If the little green book had gone to the trouble of waiting for me to find it, it would be rude not to see what it had to say.

I would devour the words written by the previous owner, curious to see what they made of their life.

What their thoughts, hopes and fears were and how they expressed them.

What their dreams and ambitions were; their achievement and failures, their highs and lows.

I would look for differences and similarities between us and start to think about what the next chapter held.

I would hope that there were a few empty pages at the end of the book for me to add my thoughts.

I’d write about my own truth, which I think would probably be the same as Julien Jessop, the same as a lot of people really. We may all look different but there is something inherent in human nature that binds us. The same deep core that is constant in all of us; as Paul Gauguin said, where do we come from, what are we? where are we going?

But back to the notebook. It deliberately found me because it knew I had something to say. But first I have a few questions for it!

Your cover is the soft green pearlescent shade of aventurine, like the underside of a shell. When I touch you I feel a slight buzz under my fingers as if you are alive. Do you breathe? You smell of damp grass, as if you've been lost for a long time. Why are you green? Is that significant? The colour purple meant something to Alice Walker. The young girl striking out from her constraints and transforming into a strong independent woman. She loves all things purple both in the man made and natural world. So why are you green, my little notebook?

I know you can’t answer, so I’ll have to use my imagination (and thank you for leaving those five blank pages at the back of the book, looks like it will be just enough for me).

You have inspired me to contemplate the colour Green and all its mysteries.

What is green?

It is a walk in the forest, the green canopy above my head, sheltering me, protecting me. The light filtering through the leaves sprinkling dots of sunlight on the mossy carpet under my feet.

It is the rose – ringed parakeet circling above me, settling on the low branches searching for food for its young. Taking flight when it senses me nearby.

It is the middle colour of the rainbow, holding the other colours either side of it together. When I see it I know there will be sunshine and rain to nourish the earth.

It is the colour of the heart chakra, poring out its love on full beam. Reminding me to love fully, don't hold back.

It is the green light on the pedestrian crossing, telling me it is safe to cross, safe to proceed. The green man his arms open, get those qualifications, chase that dream, that ambition. But cross quickly, it wont always be safe. Go now, proceed, get things done before it turns red.

It is the green shining emerald ring on my finger as I contemplate my future. I like the gleam and shimmer of the ring as the light hits the gem stone, but I’m not so sure about the man.

It is green tea and watercress soup cleansing my system, mopping up the free radicals that course through by blood stream before they cause disease and imbalance.

It is the heavenly curtains of the Northern Lights as they wave and billow too far north for me to see from home, but there in my imagination. Distant and serene.

But green can also be bad.

It is the rotten apple that could poison me and churn my stomach.

It is the colour of my envy that simmers below the surface.

It is the slimy lichen on the rocks sending me sliding down into the deep waters.

It is the poisonous tree frog clinging to life, beautiful but deadly.

Here in imagination my journey closes. I take fairy light steps across the green pond, landing lightly on the lily pads as they hold me. I am gossamer light as I make my way to the mossy bed in the middle of the pond. I am safe now. I draw my knees to my chest and wrap my arms around myself. I lie curled like an unfurled fern and fall asleep. My journey done. I dream of green.

Julie Cunningham

June 2021