The story of the day: from pilot to poet
In recent years, Linda Pauwels has made great career progress. After starting work as a flight engineer on Boeing 727 aircraft, which were then regularly used at American Airlines, he became a co-pilot and then pilot of several aircraft, including Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Airbus A300, A320, MD88, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft.
Throughout his career, Cptn. Linda Pauwels flew thousands of hours and faced many challenging situations along the way. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark on it the most.
Her experience as a pilot and years of service helped her keep her job at the airline, but thousands of other aviators were not so lucky during the pandemic. Aware of how badly the pandemic has affected the aviation sector and its employees, Linda has dedicated her free time to supporting the pilot community.
Linda always believed that creative endeavors were a great way to breathe a sigh of relief, so she began writing haiku - a type of short poetry from Japan. The new business, she says, helped her cope with the emotional tension caused by the pandemic. After several attempts to write traditional Japanese haiku, Linda decided to put together her creative work in the form of a book.
When the lockdown came, Linda decided to put all her creations in a book of poetry.
"I did not try to write poetry so far… […] Pilots live in a world of structure in which we fly by the rules. But poetry destroys some of this rigidity. By launching the haiku book, I wanted to make a noble gesture for those pilots who were affected by the pandemic. "
"We started with a poem on our pilot forum in 2015. Most of the pilots in that internal discussion forum were male pilots. At first, they didn't like poetry… but then they started contributing poetry. We began to share various famous poems, including Japanese and medieval poems, and to write some of our own creations. ”
She collected the haiku already written and published a collection of 59 pages called “Beyond Haiku: Pilots Write Poetry”. The book includes her own haiku and those of 40 other American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) pilots. The book was illustrated by a group of children, aged between 6 and 17, children of the pilots.
"This book allows people on the other side of the cabin doors to see that there is another side to men and women flying. It is the first book of its kind, in which the work is written by different pilots and their children. "
The book is full of advice and encouragement for all women.
The poetry project has another purpose. The captain decided to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to "Allied Pilots Association Aid and Emergency Scholarship Fund" to provide support to pilots and their families who have lost their jobs during this difficult time.
After the success of the book, Linda decided to continue writing and will release a second haiku book. The next collection, Beyond Haiku: Women Pilots Write Poetry, will be created exclusively by female pilots and should be released later this year.
"The book is full of advice and encouragement for all women. I would like to spread the message so that all the women there can be brave and reveal their creative side. The new book encourages women who have overcome extraordinary challenges to grow up together and learn from the experiences of others. ”
"I think poetry helps pilots in these challenging times. I think the ability to express oneself in especially for someone who has a technical and extremely stressful profession, it is an element of wellness that should be considered. Now, not everyone will love it, not everyone will be able to do it, but for those who are inclined, art offers benefits. ”
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