• 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 Summer Events 2017

    Express Yourself this Summer!

     

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    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

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    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.

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    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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    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

     

  • Wee Read is spreading itself about!

    Wee Read is offering free taster sessions to the community groups around Glasgow and Lanarkshire!We will bring stories, poems and activities to suit your needs.Sharing a story is easy with Wee Read, it is an informal blether group with a topic to talk about.Contact us at:christine@weeread.scot or on 07952 982868!

    Reading for wellbeing + writing for self-expression= Happy faces !!

     

     

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    You can really surprise yourself when you try a wee bit of writing- a new world opens up!!

     

    Weeread2ndlot (7 of 30) (640x557)Wee Read is good for everyone- little people and the big ones too.

  • 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!