• The Hope Cafe Wednesday 8th of July

    Jpeg Jpeg
    Second session in Mandy’s Place at The Hope Cafe!


    A small group of us met this week and we had a very frank, open and meaningful reading and writing session. We started with The Voyeur, by Tom Leonard, which is all about the word ‘wee’.

    It starts:

    ‘What’s your favourite word dearie

     is it wee,

    I hope it’s wee…’ 

    from  Tom’s book, Outside the Narrative which I recommend. It’s a very interesting collection of works for those of us who feel like “foreigners on their native soil.”

    A suggested prompt to write from this was: What are your favourite words?

    We made lists and some amazing stuff came out.

    Then we read William Stafford’s poems,  ‘Ask me’ and ‘The Way it is’. 

    We wrote from the prompt: Ask me… and got some strong responses with this.

    From strength to strength, we went on to experience the power of Maya Angelou, by reading ‘Still I Rise’ and chatted about it.

    We had a read of an item from the Scottish Recovery website,  Write to Recovery, called: ‘Eat a frog’  about anxiety- eating the frog is one step in breaking through something you are worried about- and relates to the technique of thinking of a big problem as an elephant,  How do you eat an elephant? In small chunks.

    My suggestion for home writing was: What are your frogs or elephants?Only a suggestion, as we can write whatever we want and know it is right!

    More mental wealth at The Hope Cafe next week! Anyone can write, please come along!


  • 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!!

  • Breaking the Mould – Writing Competition Closing date Monday 6th of July!

    Breaking the Mould

    Writing Competition

    Are you fired up by the achievements of women’s activism and their role in public life, working life and the suffrage movement over the last 100 years?

    Then put your pen to paper or finger to the keyboard!

    There are 4 categories:-

      • Poetry (no more than 40 lines)
      • Short story (max. 2000 words)
      • Flash Fiction (max. 500 words)
      • Documentary (1000 – 2000 words)

    Entry is free, but no more than one entry per category per participant.

    Prizes: Waterstones Book Tokens

    £25.00 – best entry per category.

    (All new, previously unpublished work)

    FREE PLACE on writing course at Moniack Mhor for unpublished writer demonstrating most potential.

    Closing date: Monday 6th July 2015

    • Entries to be typed on A4 single-spaced – to include category, title, but no name.
    • Please attach a separate sheet of paper with name, title of work and category
    • Electronic or hard copy accepted.

    Anthology of selected work to be published.

    Send entries to:

    W.E.A. David Whyte House,

    57 Church Street,

    Inverness IV1 1DR

    Or email: s.mitchell@weascotland.org.uk

    Telephone no: 01463 710577 P.T.O.


    Researching and Celebrating 100 years of

    Women’s History and Experiences in Scotland

    This WEA Scotland adult learning and heritage project on women’s history will seek to uncover and add to recorded history, information about influential and inspiring women who were able to “break the mould” and affect social, economic and political change in their communities, nationally and internationally. The findings will be shared in creative ways across Scotland.

  • First writing group at Maggie’s Lanarkshire

    Our first expressive writing group session was on a bright sunny morning in this gorgeous building.Seven of us met to write about our origins, share our stories, and listen with heart to readings from William Stafford, among others.  We also picked a picture from a selection of cards, and then went off solo to find a spot and write about what it meant to us.

    Maggies Lanarkshire Writing group 005

    I love this building and I found my quiet spot in a wee dookit, that sits right beside the kitchen, at the centre of it. It is like a well of light that you step into with no roof- only sky straight above, with the crows flying past and almost coming into the room with you.

    The writing flowed and we chatted about anything that came up in a gentle, supportive setting.The two hours flew by quickly and I look forward to being there in the future.

    Maggies Lanarkshire Writing group 004

  • Bank Street Writers

    I rejoined my old writing group this week, after an absence of  a year due to being over committed time-wise. It was so good to be back with old friends, sharing our home-written poems and prose, in a gentle and supportive setting.  We take turns to facilitate the group, which has been going for many years- it was founded by Larry Butler and Kay Carmichael and we used to meet in Kay’s kitchen in Bank Street.

    This group has helped me to find my voice, with much encouragement from the others. We usually bring a copy for everyone, read it aloud then the author stays quiet while the rest of the group are talking about it. We follow a format asking : what it is about; then what we find striking about each piece; then ways we may change it if it was our poem; the author responds to comments at the end.

    We spend time writing on a prompt from whoever is leading that week. Someone also prepares a new writer to bring to introduce to the group. Tonight we heard about William Stafford, and I was inspired by his journalling for many many years of his life.I recommend his poems to everyone.

    Ask Me

    Some time when the river is ice ask me

    what mistakes I made …

    William Stafford



  • Your own voice

    Tom Leonard’s poem, Unrelated Incidents III, or the Six o’clock news as it is known, is a door-opening script for us to own our language, our accent, our truth. It had a liberating effect when I read it aloud at a group and everyone wanted to read it aloud too!See here

    this is thi
    six a clock
    news thi
    man said n
    thi reason
    a talk wia
    BBC accent
    iz coz yi
    widny wahnt
    mi ti talk
    aboot thi
    trooth wia
    voice lik
    wanna yoo
    scruff. if
    a toktaboot
    thi trooth
    lik wanna yoo


    Here is a link to Tom’s pages where he speaks of the political nature of poetry, and his full poem.

    It inspires me to write in ma ain Scottish voice. Try it! It’s harder than you’d expect.

    Let me know what ye come up wi.