• The Power of Words – Event 30th October

    Christine from Wee Read will lead an event at the Maggie’s Lanarkshire for exploring the words we may use when someone has cancer.

    Hamilton Advertiser on The Power of Words event: Power of Words at Maggie’s in the Hamilton Advertiser

    Power of words press release

    Christine at Maggie's

    The importance of language when talking about cancer

     

    Language, including commonly used words such as brave, battle and victim, is often used in the media and with goodwill from friends and family. However, new research from Maggie’s, the charity which provides free practical and emotional support for people living with cancer, has revealed that these appear in a top 10 list of words and phrases that have negative connotations for people living with cancer.

     

    The research was conducted during a Power of Words workshop held in June 2017 and backed by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. People living with cancer were asked which of the words they hear time and time again carried strong negative associations for them. The following were voted as the most used and most negative:

    • Battle
    • Terminal
    • Heroic
    • Victim
    • Big C
    • My friend had it….
    • Think positive
    • Brave
    • Incurable
    • You’ll be fine

     

    Lorrie Forsyth, Centre Head at Maggie’s Lanarkshire commented: “People with cancer are often encouraged to be heroic, to fight.  When people talk about cancer in this way, they usually mean well but while some people with cancer may feel they gain strength by thinking of it as a fight, for others the opposite is true. Cancer can be a difficult subject for friends and family to broach, so at Maggie’s we listen as well as talk, and our experienced, professional staff are always on hand to have the kind of meaningful conversations that people with cancer really need.”

     

    With this in mind Maggie’s Lanarkshire is holding the first Scottish Power of Words workshop on Monday 30th October, 10.30am – 12.30pm.  Led by Christine Cather, who facilitates our monthly Expressive Writing sessions, we will explore the power words have to affect our mood and give us strength and comfort. There will be the opportunity to share words or phrases that have helped us personally and to hear the importance of words for others affected by cancer. As always, support from Maggie’s Clinical Psychologist and Cancer Support Specialists, will also be available. To book a space, people should contact the Maggie’s Lanarkshire on 01236 771199 or lanarkshire@maggiescentres.org

     

    Maggie’s Lanarkshire relies on voluntary donations to support and grow its network of Centres and to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. The charity’s aim is to make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends.

     

    To find out more about Maggie’s Lanarkshire and to see how the Centre supports people living with cancer across Lanarkshire please visit the Centre at Monklands Hospital, Airdrie or get in touch on 01236 771199 or lanarkshire@maggiescentres.org

     

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    For more information please contact:

    Lorrie Forsyth, lorrie.forsyth@maggiescentres.org; 0775 234 8273

     

    About Maggie’s

    • Maggie’s offers free practical and emotional support for all people living with cancer, and their family and friends. Built in the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places, with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support that has been shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing.
    • Great architecture is vital to the care Maggie’s offers; and to achieve that Maggie’s works with great architects like the late Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, whose expertise and experience deliver the calm, uplifting environments that are so important to the people who visit and work in the Centres.
    • The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996. There are now 21 Centres across the UK and abroad, with more planned for the future. Maggie’s also has an Online Centre.
    • Maggie’s relies on voluntary donations to support and grow its network of Centres and to develop its unique, high quality programme of support. The charity’s aim is to make the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends.
    • 2017 marks Maggie’s 21st anniversary
    • Maggie’s President is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
    • For further information about Maggie’s please go to maggiescentres.org

     

     

     

    To book, please contact the Maggie’s on 01236 771199 or lanarkshire@maggiescentres.org

    Here is an article by Janet Ellis, who spoke at the same event in London in The Huffington Post

     

  • A weekend event for therapeutic writers

    Facilitating Change - Lapidus Scotland Residential training course
    
    P1030510
    
    
    Change – Loss – Grief — Healing
    
    How to Facilitate groups using Literary Arts
     alongside Visual Art, Music and Movement
    
    A Residential Workshop for Experienced Facilitators AND Potential Trainers
     of Reading, Writing and Storytelling for Wellbeing
    
    2nd to 5th November 2017
     Thursday from 5pm till Sunday 4pm
     at Whatton Lodge, East Lothian
    
    
    Whatton lodge is located on Hill Road, Gullane , overlooks Gullane Bay
     and offers spectacular views over the Firth of Forth.
    
    Course Leaders
    
    Ted Bowman, Valerie Gillies, Larry Butler, plus a guest artist
     Further information and questions: lapidus.scotland.1@gmail.com
    
    
    

     

     

  • How is writing and reading helping?

    Wee Read has been slowly building plans for some community engagement in Glasgow.Christine has a few regular groups, in the Maggie’s Centre, Lanarkshire and Glasgow Buddhist Centre. Adrian continues at Stonehouse Hope Cafe and is doing a 1-1 project.The people who come to our groups find it very helpful, sometimes emotional, very supportive and one cancer patient said:

    “Christine, THIS is my therapy!”

    Some extend their reading at home with a new-found or revived enjoyment of poetry and other creative writing. It is obvious to me how it helps, when there is an improvement in their writing over a period of time, as well as their willingness to share their more personal and profound ideas.

    It’s good to see a continuing interest and valuable research in the healing power of words. Here is a link to a BBC Future article that explores how writing may affect physical healing…

    “… the field psychoneuroimmunology has been exploring the link between what’s now known as expressive writing, and the functioning of the immune system. The studies that followed examined the effect of expressive writing on everything from asthma and arthritis to breast cancer and migraines. In a small study conducted in Kansas, for example, it was found that women with breast cancer experienced fewer troublesome symptoms and went for fewer cancer-related appointments in the months after doing expressive writing.”

    Some of the research shows that wound healing can have a short-term benefit with some people, however there are always limits and people respond differently.

     

     

     

     

  • Let’s get bibliotherapy widespread!

     

     

    Weeread2ndlot (18 of 30) (640x424)Photos by D.M Fox

    If you wish to find out more about what is happening in the work around bibliotherapy, here are some

    News and Events for Scotland

    See what is on at public libraries through CILIPS and the National Library in the next year or so. There is an ‘Open Book‘ project you may wish to contact if you live near Edinburgh.

    Why don’t you come to the

    Words Work Well for All Workshops

    at Glasgow Women’s Library on the 18th of March? Sir Kenneth Calman will give a talk and he is Chair of The National Library. You can also get the chance to network with other people working in this field.Tickets are only £10 here:

     

    The workshops look really interesting :

    PROGRAMME WORKSHOPS

    Out Of The Box: Writing in the Archives with Donna Moore Using the treasures in Glasgow Women’s Library’s museum and archive to inspire creative writing. From Suffragettes to Sewing Patterns, from Radical Posters to Roller Derby, from Bunty to Badges – GWL’s collections are a cornucopia for creativity.

    Donna spends her time surrounded by words and women’s history – whether in her role as Adult Literacy and Numeracy Development Worker at Glasgow Women’s Library, as part of her Creative Writing PhD at the University of Stirling, or as co-host of the annual crime fiction convention CrimeFest.

    Balance for Life: when the wind blows the tree bends – tai-chi, poetry & healing with Larry Butler Each tai-chi move is a metaphor, each move could be the title of a poem and playing tai-chi can boost your immune system.

    Larry writes poetry, teaches tai-chi, editor PlaySpace Publications and convenor for Lapidus Scotland, and facilitates writing groups in health and social care settings.

    The Mother Tongue: how language shapes us – with Helen Lamb Everybody has a private vocabulary, which they may not even be fully aware of. Some expressions are handed down through generations; you might suddenly hear yourself repeating something to your own children that was often said to you as a child. This workshop will explore some of our earliest experiences and memories of language and use them to inspire poems and stories.

    Helen is a poet and fiction writer and has published a short story collection, Superior Bedsits, and a poetry collection, Strange Fish. Helen has facilitated creative writing groups for Forth Valley Health Board, Falkirk & District Association for Mental Health, the Maggie’s centre in Edinburgh, and for Open Secret, a confidential service for adult survivors of childhood abuse.

    Learning through Stories – a 20 minute talk with Sir Kenneth Calman

    Ken is Chairman of the National Library of Scotland; Chancellor of the University of Glasgow. Former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland then England & Wales; He chaired the Commission on Scottish Devolution, and was President of the British Medical Association. He was awarded a KCB in 1996. His most recent publication is: “A Doctor’s Line. Poems and Prescriptions in Health and Healing.”

    Paint & Write – with Janie Walker Together we will create a beautiful pastel painting followed by some “artistic writing”

    Janie teaches ‘non believers’ to create Art, writing and spiritual visualisations to increase self-esteem. Janie’s hobbies are also her work so she believes she is very grateful to have been gifted with her talents.

    Journaling and Yoga with Jayne Wilding Journaling and yoga are ways of connecting with our innermost self. Join Jayne Wilding in a workshop which will combine relaxing yoga (done from our chairs) and journaling exercises to help us on the path to knowing ourselves.

    Jayne is a freelance writer and yoga teacher. sky blue notebook from the Pyrenees draws on the experience of living in the foothills of the French Pyrenees for three years. Jayne runs writing and yoga workshops for health and wellbeing in Fife and Dundee.

    Bedtime Stories for Beginners with Stewart Ennis Working with readers and writers in the context of a maximum security prison – In this workshop I will discuss my own personal experiences of working in prison and explore the creative ways in which I’ve learned to deal with the issues of personal sharing and personal protection. I will also look at the ways in which reading and writing can have a positive impact on prisoner’s relationships with one another and with loved ones on the other side of the wall, and how creative writing can nurture empathy and help to creative positive new identities.

    How do I encourage prisoners to open up while actively discouraging the prisoners from writing about the elephant in the room, their crime?

    Stewart is a writer, performer and teacher. He was a founder member of the theatre ensemble Benchtours and has written and performed for many Scottish theatre companies. For the past five years he has been Creative Writing & Performance tutor at HMP Shotts. His first novel The Saving of Joseph Kirkland will be published at the end of 2017.

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    You can also join Lapidus Uk which focuses on writing for wellbeing. There is a Jiscmail email alert group called BIBLIOTHERAPY you can perhaps join – they advertise jobs, research and events.I can add you to my Wee Read list for occasional events and news as well, if you wish.Contact me here if you would like to write a short piece about the work you have done for this Wee Read website.

    Enjoy all your reading and writing for wellbeing!

    Christine     

  • Launch of Reading Ahead at Wishaw General Hospital Today!

    Today the new staff reading scheme was launched at Wishaw by the library staff at NHS Lanarkshire, and I was asked to give a short talk, ‘Reading Is Good For You!’, all about the benefits of reading. It was great to chat with people who enjoy reading generally. Readers are often passionate people who are convinced of the benefits – because they feel it and know it themselves.

    So, I was speaking to at least some of the converted, which felt really good!

    I talked about story and how, basically, it’s what we all do all the time.

    I quoted from Joseph Gold’s book ‘ Read For Your Life’ – he says that :

    ‘Story is basic to how human minds see their world and to how those minds work.”
    He then quotes another researcher, Bateson who says :
    “A story is a little knot or complex of that species of connectedness …that we call relevance…”
    Bateson believed that story is organic…that all living beings grow into their own story, which is its history, its very nature- shape-form and function.
    Gold says, that. ‘The idea of connectedness is basic to story…’ Linking up bits of information, we grow stories, we grow knowledge. We weave some bits into our own life story.’ I think that this connectedness with all that is alive is like when Shakespeare says ‘We are such things as dreams are made on’.

    I read out a poem by Maria Venditozzi, who is a poet and a speech and language therapist.

    ‘Spending Time with Stephen’

    He sits cross-legged in his wheelchair

    eyes averted, picks at scars on his arm

    or flicks light through his fingers.

    Locked-in world of personal safety

    from the chaos of external existence.

     

    Senses overwhelm, invoke

    sensory storms, a crash of any control

    he can normally contain.

    Self-mutilation marks this territory,

    feedback at its most ferocious.

     

    Speech is a jumble of sighs and spits.

    He has tried to master more

    but he stumbles on the stumps of words,

    gnaws on sounds that make sense to us.

    His world makes no sense of syllables.

     

    Showing interest in his present moment,

    sharing his sounds and movement –

    our lives touch on his terms.

    Neginnings of positive interaction.

    Tiny steps into his fragile world.

     

    Slowly assuring that what he brings has value,

    that interaction can be pain free.

    Fear leaves his senses for a while,

    creates a space, opportunity for curiosity.

    He breathes softly, safely.

    He smiles. We smile together.

    Maria Venditozzi.

     

    I think this is a touching poem, where the poet enters the mind of the person who cannot speak. It shows how we can edge our way into someone’s story, by sharing movements and sounds that they make- ‘on his terms’.

    Story connects us all. Eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart.I encourage everyone to read more and share it!Talk about it in groups, or wherever, as there are more possibilities for benefits in a group discussion.

    I hope the new reading scheme is very successful and look forward to more events with NHS staff.

    I ended with a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, One Art.

    One Art (Extract)
    BY ELIZABETH BISHOP
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
    so many things seem filled with the intent
    to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

    Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
    of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
    The art of losing isn’t hard to master…

     

    Poem avaiable here

     

     

  • Scottish Book Week Starts!

    The great Scottish book week started today.See the website for all this week ‘s action!

    Plus, there are events and  online activities, plus free book to everyone on the Scottish Book Trust Website

    I am looking forward to an event called Reading, Writing and your Health: Journeys in self-management.

    This event is organised by the Alliance, discussing the effects of Reading on the self-management of health. A topic close to my heart! So I am off to Auld Reekie tomorrow to the wonderful Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

  • Words Work Well Toolkit

    The Words Work Well bibliotherapy toolkit for practitioners is much improved and ready for use! Enjoy!Please add comments and if you notice gaps, we are looking to continue adding more examples of good practice!
    http://wordsworkwellscotland.co.uk/

    Includes a video of Ted Bowman introducing stories and creative bibliotherapy.

  • Wee Read’s latest words that heal – 13th October 2015

    Maggie's wall  (9)Start of the autumn in Maggie’s expressive writing group at Monklands Hospital campus in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.All are welcome to come and try!

    Whatever you write is right.The next group meets on Tuesday the 3rd of November.

     

     

    Yesterday and today I have been privileged to work with some young people who are part of the RSNO chorus, for the creative festival ‘To Absent Friends’ at The RSNO Centre, The Henry Wood Hall in Glasgow. We were fortunate to meet Mr Raymond Williams and his stories were inspiring and entertaining.The love of music runs through these sessions and the parallels with poetry are conspicuous.I am looking forward to developing the writing today!Great to see my good friend, Margot Henderson storytelling at the Festival on 1st November.

    Tomorrow is the See Me, Read Me, writing group to stand up to the stigma handed out to people with mental health issues.All welcome, at The  Hope Cafe, Lanark  for 6 Wednesdays from 2-3.30 pm.cannot wait to get stuck in!

  • Wee Read Autumn new beginnings!

    What a week! I made a new start at the Maggie’s Lanarkshire and it is a joy to write and listen to each other in such a lovely environment. Please come along- we will do a group on the first Tuesday every month (except December 8th).Maggie’s is for anyone and everyone affected by cancer.So if you have a desire to explore the changes that living with cancer brings to you please drop in and try.Or, pop in and book with the Maggie’s staff, tel 01236 771199 email  lanarkshire@maggiescentres.org -There’s always a welcome and a cuppa for you – and often cakes!

    Maggie's wall  (9)

     

    Then, yesterday 8th October was National Poetry Day see here for my poem I added …

    I was lucky to be invited to meet two fellow librarians at Hillhouse Library, to arrange some See Me, Read Me sessions. We will do the first one on remember, remember…the 5th of November see event details here…

    hillhouse poster-Final

    The second one will be on the 3rd of December, come along to explode the myths about mental health and stigma. Challenge the stereotypes!See Me funds the See Me, Read me project.

    It’s aw’ go! Get involved! Anyone who wishes to send me a poem or a contribution please email me at christine@weeread.scot

    Enjoy Autumn falling all around you.

  • Wee Read at Words Work Well Weekend September 18th

    Words Work Well

    Reading, writing, storytelling, new friends!
    I spent last weekend on the best writing weekend ever. It was at Whatton Lodge in Gullane. With some old friends, Larry Butler, Ted Bowman, Valerie Gillies who were leading people like me who try to be better at facilitating the healing words work that we all do all the time.Organised by Lapidus Scotland, it is part of the project to bring training in bibliotherapy, using words for wellbeing, to Scotland. See more

    This useful  toolkit will soon be used to train new and current facilitators of groups – please let me know if you are interested!

    The setting was glorious and gave us a space where we found treasures, words to express our feelings and heartfelt stories for the future. We came together to play, learn and simply share ourselves.
    Thanks to everyone who was there- I am sure we are all reaping the fruits and benefits of that experience. It was like a cornerstone to start my autumn, my favourite season.
    We explored the new Words Work Well Toolkit – a great collection of useful experiences of using words for wellbeing across Scotland.

    I came to Gullane from Edinburgh – Embra-in Lanarkshire dialect. From my evening at the Scottish parliament where I met fellow travellers in the See Me campaign to wipe out mental health discrimination. I found the name of my local community innovation project – See Me, Read Me!Thanks to Eleanor Ogilvie and Laetitia Jan for welcoming me to this new circle of friends.
    See more

    It’s great for me to belong, to share a vision – to speak openly about our mental illness experiences and especially the taboos that end some people’s lives in suicide.