• Happy New Year!

    Welcome to 2017! Wee Read has had a longish holiday and we’ve been busy with a new grandchild for Christine, and adapting to a house move.

    I thought I would keep you up to date with what is happening now.

     

    What we are doing now:

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    Wee Read@Lanark Writing Group, at Esteem Clydesdale 38 Greenside Lane,  Lanark ML11 7PY. We meet on Wednesday afternoons from 2pm-3.30pm. Christine is leading this group but due to the distance of travel to Lanark from Glasgow, is looking at getting support in co-leading it.This is a voluntary position, however it offers a chance for practising with a peer mentor.If you are interested, please contact me at christine@weeread.scot 07952 982868

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    What else?

    WeeRead@Stonehouse Hope Cafe, St. Ninian’s Church, Vicars Road,  Stonehouse ML9 3EB.

    Fortnightly meetings on Thursdays from 11 am-12.30

    (Please note that due to refurbishment there are no meetings in January 2017)

    Adrian leads a reading group with a spiritual context, with discussion on the big issues, of life, death, and living well.

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    Christine also does a monthly expressive writing group at The Maggie’s,  for anyone who has been affected by cancer. It is usually on the first Tuesday of the month, from 1-3 pm.For January and February 2017, it will be on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, 10th January and 14th February.

    Contact their staff to join:  01236 771199

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    Comments from our our writing and reading groups’ participants:

    “Christine, THIS is my therapy!”

    “Captain, My Captain!”

    “It’s good to be able to talk without feeling the stigma of having a mental illness”

    “It is confidential so ye feel safe.”

    For more information, please contact us at christine@weeread.scot, 07952 982868

  • Wee Read Moves Town!

    After weeks of packing and moving we are settled back into Glasgow, at Scotstounhill. Our links with Lanarkshire will remain strong, and in fact our See Me Champion, Christine has just given a talk at the Lanarkshire Recovery Network conference on Friday 18th November.We look forward to widening our work towards the West and the rest of Scotland.Goodbye Hamilton, thanks for all the inspiration!

    Working with our Lanark writing group continues, and we had a day outing to the national Museum of Scotland last month. It was so enjoyable, that we want to go again! Another trip to a pantomime has been discussed, as some members have never been to one!We will be reading our poems and talking to folks at the Stonehouse Hope Cafe xmas event.The group there with Adrian is growing from strength to strength.

    This week, our Maggie’s writer will be hosting a stall at the festive fayre selling books and other items to raise funds for a publication of the groups’ poems and writings.

    So, it’s all go!The autumn and now, the start of winter has come upon us and we sit witnessing change every day.

    Change is a big theme in our work.This week, our board will meet to review our last year, and to plan the year ahead. We have 4 new volunteers, which is a fantastic achievement. We look forward to a co-design and co-production approach for leading our services.

    Christine is also working for Lapidus, The Writing for Wellbeing Organization as Digital Editor.This broadens the reach, and creates new connections across our borders.

    I will leave you with one of my own poems, written a few years ago while I was in Hamilton. Dedicated to my brother Ian who helps us on this website, thanks Ian!

    All Was Silent

    All was silent.

    Many lives lost for words,

    til many years after,

    I say

    ma Granda died at 31;

    a miner, a heart attack,

    ma Daddy a week old.

    Seventh son

    no father knew.

    His seventh son

    inherits true.

    All was silent.

    Many years lost for words,

    til many years after,

    I say

    Ma Daddy died at 51;

    a steel worker, a heart attack,

    ma brother 4 years old.

    Til after many years I say,

    I’d cry until ma bones ran dry.

    Unutterable loss of my favourite guy.

    No longer silent,

    words speak at last,

    To Ian I say,

    sometimes love has no words to mark its’ day.

    C. Cather

  • See Me Poems against Stigma!

    Wee Read Lanark Writing group is starting a new project this week – a performance poetry event. We hope to get a date for performing this soon at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

    The theme this year is ‘Time’ and today we’ll be working to talk, write and express ourselves on the times of change.Change from foul to fair, from discrimination to equality.

    HORIZONS RECOVERY CAFE

    Excited about this- the poem we made last year was a cracker, it had contributions from 13 people!

    This week we will start with some poems, stories, and anything from Shakespeare, Margaret Attwood, Masizi Kunene and James Allen.

    Here’s a starter-

    This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing.

    I give up the old belief that I am powerless.

    Margaret Attwood

     

  • The examined life…

    Today Adrian leads a group reading about spirit and literature. That’s at Stonehouse Hope Cafe, St. Ninian’s Church. Living the examined life is a worthwhile life…

    Yesterday I was at our third meeting at Lanark with the newly-named Wee Read Lanark Writing Group, formerly Hope Cafe Lanark’s writing group. We are really settling down in a lovely room. The office is run by Esteem, a peer mental health organization with Theresa Coll Elder. It is  bright, calm and fragrant with the essential oils that Karen and Joanne use for their therapy sessions. We sit around Theresa’s beautiful old family table and share some poems, reading aloud and chatting about what they mean for us.

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    We will be expanding into an evening group in August, so watch this space*😉

    This week was fairly momentous for me, completing the See Me Community Champions Training with a great group of local people who are the salt of the earth. I look forward to working with them towards a Lanarkshire that is less stigmatised about mental illness.

    We’ll be adding local events to a See Me page here soon!

    Today I spotted another great Brain Picking from Maria Popova, about hope.

    Happy reading!

    Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change

     

  • Hope Cafe Reading and Writing Lanark and Stonehouse

    Lanark

    Today, we will meet at Greyfriars Church Hall on Bloomgate, Lanark, ML11 9ET. We begin at 2 until 3.30 pm  with a cuppa, for an expressive writing group. So, what do we actually do?-

    Well, first- you need NO experience of reading or writing at all!  We will hear a poem or story, have a chat about it, and then I give a wee exercise or writing ‘prompt’ so we can spend a few minutes writing whatever  we want. There is no need to share if you don’t want to – whatever you write is right.It is informal, friendly and easy-going.Everything is confidential.

    This is about safely expressing how you feel about the poems and stories I bring. One participant has said that the structure of the short writing exercises is very useful- it gives you a chance to think, to stop thinking about other things- and is a good distraction.

    Everyone can write-but if you want to just come and listen, that’s fine too!

    We will share some great poems and stories today, including Chekhov and Denise Levertov, here’s a wee taste:

    “One morning-and so soon-the first flower

    has opened when you wake.Or you catch it poised

    in a single, brief

    moment of hesitation.”…

    Extract from The Metier of Blossoming, Denise Levertov.

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    Please join us each Wednesday for the next 6 weeks, for a wee read, some company, and a bit of writing. £2 to cover costs.

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    Stonehouse

    Tomorrow, on Thursday 9th of June, Wee Read’s volunteer co-director Adrian will be at the Stonehouse Hope Cafe to explore Literature and Spirit. This is about sharing reading aloud, and chatting about the stories and poems.

    So, please join him in the Cafe at St.Ninian’s Church, at 11-12 – free!Here is a link to his latest blog, about nature and the environment – Mountains of the Mind Enjoy!

    “Some of the best writing on the human spirit is found in nature writing, travel writing, writing that focuses on extreme battles with elements…”

    Summer is full of the joys and it is a chance to get out and feel the world flourishing, with bees buzzing, butterflies roaming and branches forming dens. Go out and get the fresh air if you can, breathe new life into your lungs!

  • The Wee Read at Hope Cafe Lanark writing group- new dates, new venue!!

    Now we are settled at the new venue Greyfriars Church Hall, on Bloomgate-  here in Lanark, here are our next dates.We meet on Wednesdays 2-3.30 pm, for listening and chatting about poems and stories, that help support our well-being. Everyone is welcome.No experience is required, come and try! £2 charge to cover costs.

    Greyfriars Church (1)

    Please note this week, May 25th and  next week, 1st of June, we are NOT ON!

    HOPE CAFÉ WRITING GROUP 2016

    at GREYFRIARS CHURCH HALL

    Greyfriars Church Hall Enter by gate before Main Church with wheelchair access.

    WEDNESDAYS at  2-3.30PM
    25-05-16 and 1-06-16 – BREAK FOR 2 WEEKS  

     

     

    JUNE-JULY Wednesdays 2-3.30 pm

    08-06-16
    15-06-16
    22-06-16
    29-06-16
    06-07-16
    13-07-16
    BREAK FOR 2 WEEKS
    AUGUST-SEPTEMBER
    03-08-16
    10-08-16
    17-08-16
    24-08-16
    31-08-16
    07-09-16
    BREAK FOR 2 WEEKS
    SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER
    28-09-16
    05-10-16
    12-10-16
    19-10-16
    26-10-16
    02-11-16
    BREAK FOR 2 WEEKS

     

    Contact Christine Cather 07952 982868 christine@weeread.scot

    www.weeread.scot

     

  • Braw Blether at Horizons Recovery Cafe, Dalkeith Baptist Church

    JEAN AT HORIZONS RECOVERY CAFE BRAW BLETHER DALKEITH BAPTIST CHURCH DALKEITH HORIZONS CAFE DALKEITH RECOVERY CAFE CHRISTINE AT HORIZONS BRAW BLETHER HORIZONS DALKEITH HORIZONS RECOVERY CAFEOn Fridays, Wee Read is now at Horizons Recovery Cafe for a Braw Blether.This is delivered by Wee Read for Midlothian Libraries service! It is in a lovely, bright, welcoming space in the hall at Dalkeith Baptist Church in North Wynd, Dalkeith.I recommend the home-made soup! All are welcome to join us, to share reading, to listen and chat about our stories, wi’ a wee bit ae’ writing as well eh?

    I love the  Midlothian accent, and the people who volunteer and attend the cafe are friendly to all, including a  Lanarkshire-cum-Weegie like me.

    Last week we did a poem from Emily Dickinson and  ”Choose Life’ from Trainspotting. This week we heard from Rumi- The Guest House, which a participant brought with her, and happens to be one of my favourites. Then we heard the Sound of Silence. It was great to explore the song’s lyrics, without the noise of the music which almost hypnotises you to just sing it.

    Hello darkness, my old friend,

    I’ve come to talk with you again…

    Next Friday we’re going to hear from Dylan Thomas, and Bob Dylan among others.

    It’s a Braw Blether!

     

  • Stand Up Against Stigma! 23rd October Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

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    Wee Read I am – Stand Up Against Stigma 23rd October, St Ninian’s Church, Stonehouse Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2015

    The gala night of local folk standing up against mental health stigma at Stonehouse on Friday 23rd was a brilliant event and I felt privileged to be a part of it. The event was produced by The Hope Café and Inspire  Theatre. The contributions from the Acting Bairns of Stonehouse and Inspire Young People about stigma from were very impressive and were the core of  first half of the event. These pieces were strong and well-performed. Songs written by Angel Newlands were outstanding. In the second half, At Theatre and the Inspire group showed us all their talents . The final piece was about Scott Baker- a friend of mine through our shared work as volunteers at the Hope Café. Scott showed a lot of courage in putting his story into a dramatic performance by Inspire Theatre,  which did just what it says on the tin- inspire!

    I am looking forward to seeing more from these young people! They all showed a great deal of talent, energy and determination in their performances. Well Done to them and thanks for a brilliant evening!

    The show started with a great singing experience from the Stonehouse Male Voice Choir which got everyone in the audience singing, clapping and chair-dancing!  The event was held in the main part of the church of St. Ninian’s and I felt slightly awed by this- and by the 150 people present!

    My Wee Read was based on the I am I am I am workshop, shortened to ‘I am’ – and as the number of people was more than expected, I had to change the format to simple reading – no chance to write or interact. Gillian Grant, an Edinburgh Comedy Festival star who works with Universal Comedy,  compèred the evening with funnies and pezazz! But, luckily, I was on after the tea break, so I had time for a cuppa tea before it.

    We had some lovely home made cake too!Especially liked the Rocky Road.  It was a bit nerve-racking standing with the bright stage lights in my face, and to a full church! I sat on the stage for the raffle winners,  with Donna Barrowman, the founder of The Hope Café.  I took courage from all the 150 people in front of me who had come to stand up against stigma, and the welcoming atmosphere provided in St. Ninian’s Church by the local people.

    I was slightly flummoxed at the start, however, it went well. I read 4 poems,  and here is a draft of my presentation:

    Wee Read is myself, Christine Cather and I am also a volunteer at The Hope Cafe. We enjoy a writing group there, that helps us to express ourselves, and I want to invite everyone to new reading and writing group at St. Ninian’s Church in Stonehouse.

    I stand up against stigma because when I was in despair and having suicidal thoughts, I could not talk about it. I want everyone to be able to speak about their mental health so that this doesn’t happen to them.

    What I’ll do is read 3 or 4 poems.

    And why this title ‘I am I am I am?’

    Because it’s a positive statement and embodies that passion that we are celebrating this year in the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

    The quote “I am, I am, I am” appears in Sylvia Plath’s novel, “The Bell Jar” about a fictional character who has depression, and attempts suicide.

    The quote is

    “I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am”.

    The first poem is Patriot, by Norman MacCaig

    My only country
    is six feet high
    and whether I love it or not
    I’ll die
    for its independence.

    The country is myself. It is not about political independence but personal independence.

    What is stigma?

    When someone labels you as a discredited person;

    your identity is spoiled;

    your status is lost;

    the powerful social group then discriminates against you with a negative stereotype;

    you are no longer equal ;

    it results in social oppression.

    it is the powerful group who is to blame – not the person who is mentally ill.

    And this is not just against anyone with mental health but against anyone for being different, being labelled by society in many ways. For example, being of a different race, gender, sexual preference, disabled, wee, skinny, anything !

    Let’s hear a poem by Sylvia Plath, I am Vertical

    I am vertical.
    But I would rather be horizontal.
    I am not a tree with my root in the soil
    Sucking up minerals and motherly love
    So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
    Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed

    Attracting my share of “Ah’s and spectacularly painted,

    Unknowing I must soon unpetal.

    Compared with me, a tree is immortal

    And a flower-head not tall, but startling,

    And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.

    Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,

    I walk among them , but none of them are noticing.

    Sometimes, I think that when I am sleeping

    I most perfectly resemble them –

    Thoughts gone dim.

    It is more natural to me, lying down.

    Then the sky and I are in open conversation.

    And I shall be more useful when I lie down finally:

    Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.”

    (Extract.)

    Sylvia Plath

    Available

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-am-vertical/

    When I was in despair, my throat felt frozen. I could not speak.

    A poem by Maya Angelou, Caged Bird

    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream


    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with fearful trill
    of the things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill for the caged bird
    sings of freedom

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

    Maya Angelou (Extract.)

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178948

    Now – the final poem is more positive. This was about human rights, black rights in the 60’s in America.

    Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may tread me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I’ll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
    Weakened by my soulful cries.

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don’t you take it awful hard
    ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
    Diggin’ in my own back yard.
    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.

    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise

    I rise

    I rise.

    Maya Angelou  (Extract.)

    Available

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/still-i-rise

     I was also given a surprise birthday bouquet and the audience sang Happy Birthday to You!

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    Then before we finished a marvellous show  we all sang Lean On Me- the song that means so much to the Hope Café .We sang in unison, with all the volunteers,  actors, the many young people involved in the event and the Stonehouse Male Voice Choir all around us in a huge circle. Wonderful!Thanks to all concerned for an inspiring and meaningful evening!

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  • See me, Read me – 6 sessions at The Hope Cafe 14th October

    See Me, Read Me!

    Wee Read

    A six weeks course of reading and writing in which we challenge mental health stigma.

    Starts Wednesday 14th

    October at the Hope Café,

    8 Wide Close,

    Lanark

    2 – 3.30 pm

    Join us to share stories, poetry and writing.

    This is a FREE course. Please book a place by calling 07952 982868

    email christine@weeread.scot

     

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  • See Me in health – reception at the Scottish Parliament today!

    I am excited to attend this reception tonight at the Scottish Parliament for the See Me campaign. Wee Read will deliver a local project of fighting stigma by reading, talking and writing.

    See me, Read me!

    I am chuffed, especially since I have not been to the parliament building yet!

     

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    You are invited to attend the

    See Me in Health Parliamentary Reception

    Sponsored by

    Jenny Marra MSP

    to celebrate the See Me in Health programme

    Speakers will include:

    Jenny Marra MSP

    Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Heath Improvement and Mental Health

    Chris McCullough Young, Walk a Mile

    Thursday 17th September 2015

    6:00pm – 8:00pm

    The Garden Lobby, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.