TALL TALES: Chinchilla's Harry Smeeton loves to write poetry and short stories. Diagnosed with Parkinson's, he uses his writing to express his unique sense of humour and keep a smile on his face - and the faces of others.
TALL TALES: Chinchilla's Harry Smeeton loves to write poetry and short stories. Diagnosed with Parkinson's, he uses his writing to express his unique sense of humour and keep a smile on his face - and the faces of others. Brooke Duncan

Author: Laughter is my best medicine

WHEN one sets pen to paper (or these days fingers to keyboard) something wonderful can happen.

That's certainly the case for Chinchilla's Harry Smeeton.

Mr Smeeton, 64, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2008 after having troubles for three years.

Two years later his condition had worsened and he closed his second-hand shop.

But that's only the beginning of his story.

The following year, 2011, Mr Smeeton printed his first book A Book To Make You Smile.

"I'd been writing since I was at school I guess, but as I grew older I always wrote a lot when I was with workmates and that, writing stories about them," Mr Smeeton said.

"I did often think about putting them in book form but I didn't do it until I came down with Parkinson's.

"When I had to give up work and whatnot that gave me a time to get on the computer and write a few stories."

And write he did, penning short stories, a plethora of poetry, and even some songs.

Seven years later, Mr Smeeton has a new book, A Book To Make You Crack-A-Smile.

"95 percent of what I write is true, and the other five percent could be, so you have to believe everything I write," he chuckled.

Mr Smeeton never took writing classes, and is completely self-taught. He even prints his own books.

His writing is a mix of tales and poems about the humour in everyday life, and also about life with Parkinson's.

"I don't like writing sad stuff, I just like things that are funny," he explained.

"I've been called a practical joker over time but I disagree with that. I don't play jokes, I just do things that I like that I think are funny."

"I do it for the fun of it, when I write something about somebody, if they want to read it themselves I'll watch them closely because I love watching the reaction."

Mr Smeeton said he thinks people have picked up on his work because of the humour he uses to tell his story.

"Because I made a joke of the Parkinson's, not a derogatory thing."

But it's not always smiles and snickers.

Mr Smeeton said before he was diagnosed he struggled with the disease's effects, but once he knew what he had he could combat it.

"Even though it can't be cured you can still argue against it, and if you can't do that and it gets you down you're in bloody trouble."

"What Parkinson's does to you is pretty bloody cruel sometimes."

"The more I talk the more I get animated, but I've got a story behind that too, I was telling my sister there one day that when I get animated that's doing my exercise while I'm sitting down!"

You can pick up a copy of Mr Smeeton's book at the Chinchilla Information Centre, Chinchilla Farmers Market, or the Chinchilla Jewellers.


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