• 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

     

  • Wee Read Writing Group at Lanark MOVING TOMORROW

    Weeread2ndlot (26 of 30) (480x640)The Wee Read writing group that used to meet at The Hope Cafe Lanark – will meet tomorrow at 2-3.30pm at the office of Peer Lanarkshire, at 38 Greenside Lane, Lanark, ML11 7PY . This is at the top of Wide Close, diagonally opposite on Greenside Lane, number 38 is near the far end,- so a wee walk.

    It is a really nice space, –  just right to write in! Come and join us for £2 donation to cover costs. We’ll be having a chat, hearing poems and writing away the summertime blues!

    Call Christine if lost 07952 982868.

    Let’s keep connecting with some words for wellbeing and a good blether!

  • 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.

    Hippeastrum-Picotee

    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!

  • Lanarkshire welcomes the Shore to Shore poetry Tour!

    Am chuffed to be getting free tickets from StAnza for the Shore to Shore poetry tour- at a local Lanarkshire venue, Biggar Municipal Hall.


      ” Picador and Atkinson-Pryce Books present Shore to Shore: Celebrating Poetry and Community with the Laureate and Friends, featuring Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, Imtiaz Dharker, Jackie Kay, John Sampson plus special guest poet.”

    The event  is on Friday, the 1st of July at 7.30pm.It should be a really good night, so come along if you can to hear the poets voices, LIVE AND LOUD!

    The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, will be there reading some poems along with other guests. Am so excited to be going to a local Lanarkshire community venue and hear some of my favourite poets.

    There is also a poetry competition about community which we can enter here:

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    And you can get the complimentary ticket offer for the Shore to Shore tour too, –  from StAnza if you subscribe to their e-newsletter details here:

    StAnza are lucky to have some complimentary tickets to the Scottish events and we’ll be offering these on a first-come basis via our e-newsletter. So if you are already signed up for this, watch out for a message coming soon about this. If you are not already signed up but would like to receive our e-newsletters, then it’s very simple, just go to our homepage and type in your email address in the box provided.

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    My connection to community poetry and the Poet Laureate

    A poem Carol Ann Duffy wrote was very important to me. I read it at the very first ‘Reading Aloud’ group I did in 2009 at the Greater Easterhouse Alcohol Awareness Project- for the Women’s Group. It was the week after Carol Ann was made Poet Laureate, and I felt proud that she was the first woman poet laureate for 400 years, and a Scot, born in Glasgow. I read Louis MacNeice’s ‘Snow’ then Carol Ann’s After Louis MacNeice’s Snow, and a group of twelve Easterhouse women and me started talking about what these poems  meant to them.

    It felt miraculous to me, these women, really tearing the words apart, searching for their own personal meaning in them. Creating a community of friendship after alcohol affected them in some hard ways-they found out new things about each other. And I found out that they were wonderful.My report of that first foray into sharing poems in the community is here.

    I am grateful that now I have a miraculous job,- to do community reading with people across Scotland, bringing poetry and making friends.