• 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.

     

     

     

     

  • 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.

  • The Wellness Hub, 23rd of July

    This is my second last session with the Walk ‘n Talk group of the Health and Wellness Hub  and as usual, I see them returning to the Pat Cullinan Centre from the walk to Strathclyde Park as I walk up from my bus stop. I was asked by a few people if I had been walking with them? I say no, but I’d love to! So I  intend or should I say Hope – to meet up with them at 10 o’clock on Thursday 30th which will be our last session for now.
    Being the summer, the group members have had days away, holidays and other commitments- but that is fine, we had a small, but perfectly formed group today!

    Yet again, I am struck by their friendliness, their warmth to each other, and to me. And again, they are in the news! The Motherwell Times did a two page spread on the community learning successes that includes the Walk n Talk group. This group is part of a Discovery programme for people over 50s and the Paths For All . We talked about following on from this Wee Read group with Lapidus Scotland training for anyone in the group who wants to take a shot at being a facilitator for reading and writing. I was delighted that I have at least one volunteer to do this!

    JpegThe Motherwell Times spread with photos of some of the group proudly smiling at the Discovery Awards. See The Motherwell Times for details here “The Walk and Talk Group were recognised for their enthusiasm and commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of local residents through managing the weekly health walk.”

    Jpeg

     

     

     

    Today we did something different, we wrote up some of our lines onto one of the white boards and here are some of the lines inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem, ‘Hope Is the thing with feathers’. We had talked about what we would hope for…here are our Lines of Hope:
    Birds sing even when the weather is bad, we should  sing then too.

    Hope springs eternal.

    There has been a time in my life when all I had was hope. It was the light at the end of the tunnel.When I had hope, I had everything.

    I hope for light on the chillest day.

    I would hope for health for my family… and that the senseless wars end.

    Like a wee flower opening up…

    Flowers are my life.

     

     

    I am looking forward with a tinge of sadness, to our last session this summer. Let’s see what we can write on the board then!!

  • Wee Read at the Hope cafe today Wednesday 22nd July 2015

    At The Hope Cafe today, we wrote postcards to say things we wanted to say but had been unable to.This proved to be a good way of unloading stuff,  getting things off our chest. As Ted Bowman says, “If it’s unmentionable, it’s unmanageable”.

     

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    Another writing prompt was: ‘my favourite childhood place..’ after reading Larry Butlers’  poem ‘Safe places I knew as a Child’ which starts:

    “Sitting on the toilet reading comics
    the door locked – Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse,
    Goofy, Superman, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd,
    I could sit for hours with a pile of comics

    up a pine tree swaying that the top
    looking out across the neighbourhood
    I could climb trees all day, slide down branches
    and build a tree house with my friend Donny …”

    Later, we listened to some howling with Allen Ginsberg:

    “…yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
    whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,
    who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall, …”
    -an extract from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl,
    more here :

    If you want to try writing something,write a postcard to someone, anyone, or a rant or a howl or a list!Whatever you write is right!
    Go!

    We explored our depths with a prompt called ‘Diving In’  – into expressive writing. We used a set of words that have more than one meaning, like: ‘bear, cleave, there, desert, sewer, skirt, run …’ This produced some very interesting pieces of writing!And a lot of laughter!

    Here’s some of the piece I wrote :

    Child of the Universe

    I cleave like a limpet, a clampet, onto the cliffs,

    I’ve survived the biggest storms- not  let go my hands,

    I can now see over the horizon.

    I can become a lighthouse, a lifeboat

    – I can become anything I want to be.

    Wildness and wild places are where I’ll be,

    they’re hame, they’re where ah need tae be.

    I’ll write of the howl, I’ll write of the wolf

    sit and look at the moon,

    or that lovely new heart on Pluto.

    I cleave to tenets, truths, revelations,

    honesty, beauty,

    kindness, generosity, love,

    hope, faith.

    Allowing all the water of the seas to roll over me,

    wash away all my troubles relieving the weight on my back

    and

    just sit

    with what is…

    C. Cather

  • New Writing Group at The Hope Cafe Lanark

    On Wednesday 1st of July,  Wee Read started a braw reading  ‘n writing group at The Hope Cafe – a place where anyone who has experience of mental health issues can come and be supported in an informal setting. The Cafe supports self-help and wellbeing and is often buzzing; with people chatting, meeting others with shared experiences and a chance to develop personally.

    The wee group got stuck right in, with an introduction to ‘free writing’, or ‘expressive writing’, – that means you can write whatever you want. There is no judgement, criticism, or formality- it is just a chance to open up yourself to the potent power of writing . We chatted and listened to a variety of readings.

    We heard poems from William Stafford, an American poet and a great man for his daily journal which is an idea that I encourage.You can later go back to things you wrote and find some gems to reflect on and grow from.Even grow a poem!

    When you write in the free style, you are ignoring your own judgement which can sometimes limit you. It is amazing what stuff comes out if we let it. Also, it can be a wee bit scary at times, so doing it in the company of others can be a bit of a comfort zone with whatever you are feeling and thinking.

    We chatted about Scottish Recovery Network’s Write to Recovery website and looked at one of the letters of recovery.

    We also heard Tom Leonard and chatted about how hard it is to read dialect. I look forward to sharing some of ma poems wi’ a wee bit ay the local Blanturr accent!

    We had a bit of time in the middle of the session to sit outside and used a postcard to write about. I found the contributions inspiring, frank, and uplifting. Thanks to all who came and I am looking forward to some new people and new wee words tomorrow!!

  • Wee Read goes to The Hope Cafe Lanarkshire

    Well at last Wee Read made it to The Hope Cafe in Lanark this Wednesday. It was well worth the wait! The cafe is comfy, colourful and buzzing with people! There’s a lovely wee room at the back called Mandy’s Place.This is where our expressive writing sessions will be happening for 6 Wednesdays from the 1st of  July.  The group will meet from 2-4 o’clock and everyone is welcome.Please book with me, Christine at email christine@weeread.scot tel 07952 982868.

    I am looking forward to spending time in such a vibrant, supportive space.Cloudy sunset pic

    Wee Read at The Hope Café
    8 Wide Close, Lanark
    Writing for Mental Wealth

    Wednesday afternoons starting on 1st July from 2 – 4 o’clock.

    Sessions will be led by Christine Cather
    Please join us for some therapeutic writing, a wee read and a right blether!

    Our approach is for beginners – Whatever you write is right!

    Please BOOK – Contact Christine at:
    E-mail christine@weeread.scot
    Tel 07952 982868
    Website www.weeread.scot