• Autumn falls into view

    Autumn for Wee Read will have some exciting times! Tomorrow we continue at the lovely Maggie’s Centre at The Monklands in Coatbridge with a selection of poems to inspire.

    Wee Read expressive writing group happens between 1pm first Tuesday of each month.Anyone affected by cancer can join just a small group sharing chat and reading some poems together.Whatever you write is right!Contact the lovely Maggie’s staff on  01236 771199.

    Tomorrow I will bring an extract of a Walt Whitman poem, Miracles.He is one of my favourite writers, who inspired me at the age of 12 or so to keep writing the ‘long thin stuff’ (poetry as described by A.L. Kennedy) .

    Extract

    ‘Why, who makes much of a miracle?
    As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
    Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
    Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
    Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the
    water,
    Or stand under trees in the woods, To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,

    Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

    Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the

    same,

    Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

    To me the sea is a continual miracle,

    The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the

    ships with men in them,

    What stranger miracles are there?’

    Walt Whitman

    Our Director, Adrian is busy in the background, finishing his first novel so it as an exciting time .

    At the end of this month, I celebrate my birthday and visit Paris for the first time,

    here is another extract which is about Paris:

    See Paris First – Extract

    Suppose that what you fear

    could be trapped,

    and held in Paris.

    Then you would have

    the courage to go

    everywhere in the world.

    All the directions of the compass

    open to you,

    But then danger

    seems too close

    even to those boundaries,

    and you feel

    the timid part of you

    covering the whole globe again.

    You need the kind of friend

    who learns your secret and says,

    ” See Paris first”.

    M. Truman Cooper

     

     

     

    Around the Hallowe’en time of year, I have been invited to give a presentation on Bibliotherapy and its’ applications or usefulness to mental heath nurses and patients, at the  Unite/Mental Health Nurses Association Conference, delivered in partnership with the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University.  So I will be  asking the question is our NHS really worth celebrating after 70 years? And suggesting that bibliotherapy can improve our services in a cheap and effective way!  The venue is Augustine United Church,  41 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EL

    It is on the 29th October, aimed at mental health nurses/students and here are details,

    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unitemental-health-nurses-association-scottish-conference-2018-the-nhs-at-70-a-happy-birthday-tickets-45890118580

     

    I will also take my co-director, Morin Fenton one of our volunteers for our Wee Read committee.

  • Wee Read needs new members at Maggie’s Lanarkshire!

    If you or someone you know has had cancer or been affected by cancer we would love to see you at our Expressive Writing group in Maggie’s Lanarkshire.

    We are celebrating  a very happy 4th Birthday to Maggie’s in Lanarkshire, beside the Monklands Hospital in Coatbridge this week! I have loved being involved for 3 years, with the expressive writing group. It is a real joy to hear from people who can say or write whatever they feel there. We are looking for new members and anyone affected by cancer is welcome to try it and see!

     

    We are a small informal group, just like the usual style for Maggie’s centres. You can talk or write as much or as little as you like. It’s good to hear other people’s voices and to read some poetry and stories together.

    We meet on the first Tuesday of the month, 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock.

    If you are interested please call anyone at The Maggie’s Lanarkshire on  the phone

    01236 771199

    or email

    lanarkshire@maggiescentres.org

     

    Maggie’s Lanarkshire
    at The Elizabeth Montgomerie Building
    Monklands Hospital, Monkscourt Avenue,
    Airdrie
    North Lanarkshire
    ML6 0JS
  • Teach This Poem – Academy of American Poets

     

    The Academy of American Poets

    A great resource for anyone in creative bibliotherapy! I wanted to share their news of an award they just received and just rejoice in their merits, what a great poetry organisation!

    The 2018 Award for Innovations in Reading Prize for Teach This Poem.

    I used this resource not to teach a poem in a school setting, but to discover a new poem and get hints about how best to use it with the group – whichever group I happen to be working with.

    When I select poems to bring to a group, I use a few resources, the main one my own memory.I connect a few poets, themes, and the muse provides something too..

    Imagination brings it home and I have a session usually with 5 or 6 pieces and exercises for people.They will be the planned content for my Wee Read expressive reading and writing sessions, that usually last about one and a half to two hours.But things can often change from the plan. That depends on who is there,- how I feel, or, what I intuit from the feel of the group. It’s not an art that is easily taught. Practising it is the only way to get the hang of it I think.

    Another great source from the Academy of American Poets that really helped me to build up a store of poets and poems I can use is the ‘Poem a Day’. You can sign up for a daily poem sent to your email inbox. Worth it just for a bit of inspiration!  When you are starting to facilitate poetry sessions, you want to have plenty of resources to have at hand. So a daily reading schedule for yourself is a big help, and the daily poems from the Academy can be a great boost as well.

    Just as I was browsing there today, I see a celebration of Walt Whitman’s birthday by Allen Ginsberg  

    A double-dunt as we say in Glasgow.Enjoy reading and browsing this brilliant website, plus it has audio and videos.

     

    Walt Whitman

    One’s-self I sing, a simple separate person,
    Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.
    Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
    Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the
    Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far,
    The Female equally with the Male I sing.
    Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
    Cheerful, for freest action form’d under the laws divine,
    The modern man I sing.

     

     

     

  • Words Work Well for All – Training Day for Facilitators of Therapeutic Writing

    Words Work Well for All

    An Introduction to writing, storytelling, and reading for wellbeing
    With Valerie Gillies & Larry Butler

    Wednesday 11 April 2018, 10am – 4pm

    Here are details for a new event happening for anyone who has experience of leading writing or reading groups with a therapeutic aspect!

    This is a great opportunity to work with Larry Butler, a well kent face in Scotland for his contribution to writing and wellbeing in Scotland. Larry is an American with a great love and appreciation of poetry. Using words for emotional expression can help you to manage your wellbeing and health issues.Larry has worked for many years with Lapidus the UK-wide group focussed on therapeutic writing.He leads writing groups in Maggie’s Gartnavel and is a great trainer.Read more about his publishing work here Playspace Publications

    Take this opportunity if you can!

    Valerie Gillies was an Edinburgh Makar, 2005-08, and has been a published poet and writer for decades.She has a confident and inspiring attitude to leading groups.Her holistic approach is supportive to anyone who leads or participates in therapeutic reading and writing groups.Fantastic chance to be in the company of the best!Read more

    Here’s the details:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              

    Wednesday 11 April 2018, 10am – 4pm
    Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

    Lapidus Scotland offers a full day workshop for storytellers, writers and readers who already work within community and education settings and would like to develop their facilitation skills within health and social care. From listening to reading to writing to sharing together, we will practise the presence of the facilitator, and the vital selection of the text, which story or poem to use.

    Cost £30 Spaces limited. To book your place, please email lapidus.scotland.1@gmail.com If you have any queries, call Philippa Johnston, Creative Project Manager on 01337 842513 / 07939 312829

    See also the website Words Work Well

     

  • Where Do I Come From?

    The questions, ‘ where do you come from?’ or,  ‘what does your father do?’, are useful in prompting your writing. I wrote this today:

    I just started reading ‘Germinal ‘by Emile Zola, inspired by watching a film about artist Cezanne and Zola, who were friends. Germinal is about mining and poverty. It’s written in what Zola called a Naturalistic style, it’s very realistic! I skipped the long introduction, but expect to find out more about Zola’s life and politics as I read on.
    Coming from Blantyre, a mining village in Lanarkshire, reading this has made me remember that my dad and two grandfathers were miners, also my step-Grandad, Wattie who helped to bring me up. I had a massive input from him ; he was a communist.
    The telling of this tale has made me actually go into the mine and scrunch myself into a ball, hunkering down under the walls to chip out some coal.(Imaginatively). It’s fairly harrowing.
    So, from this,
    I wrote a poem today:

    Buried beneath the earth,
    without a breath of fresh air,
    miners coal-tapping.

    Fearing the world will fall
    on their heads… suffocating,
    miners fighting for all.

    Squatting; back-breaking work,
    no other choice for a living.
    Compressed; lung-black; stuck.

    My father and grandfathers sat there
    Enduring. Direst of dire.
    Nae wonder they were dour.

    Their only fire,
    a lamp.
    no dry places, all were damp.

    And, empty of all uplift,-
    but walking out of there,
    believing heaven waits.

    C. Cather

     

    Related image
    Harry Fain, Coal Loader
  • Wee Read Summer Events 2017

    Express Yourself this Summer!

     

    Weeread2ndlot (23 of 30) (288x640)

     

    Wee Read presents 2 afternoon workshops exploring poetry and writing with Christine Cather.

    Venue- Glasgow Buddhist Centre Library, 329 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3HW 

    Saturday 10th of June 1.30 – 4.30pm

    Saturday 24th of June 1.30 – 4.30pm

    Christine reads poems by great published authors. Then uses Natalie Goldberg’s free writing approach, to get you writing whatever you wish!  Please come, to explore and express yourself in a conducive space. The selection of poems and writing are chosen to inspire a heartfelt response.

    There are no rules!

    Whatever you write is right!

    Beginners and experienced writers are welcome! Christine will be reading aloud from poems and books by some of the great writers. We will have a wee chat about what the words mean to us, followed by a little writing to timed exercises. Everyone can join in as much or little as they wish.

    Cost £10/£6 Concession

    Hippeastrum-Picotee

    Christine Cather is a poet and a Buddhist. She leads therapeutic writing groups in Maggie’s Lanarkshire and Clydesdale Esteem mental health support group. She has been writing and working to develop bibliotherapy across Scotland for several years.

    We need 8 names to run the event, please book here:

    Christine Cather at Wee Read contact christine@weeread.scot.uk  or Tel 07952 982868

     

     

  • 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.

    _____________________________________________________

    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     

  • 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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    Dylan's words on walls 2 2015 2015-06-17 109 (640x480)

    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

    Maggie's wall (9)

    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