Wednesday, 15 November 2017

What Do You Really Want This Christmas?

Engage with the reality of Christmas 
through expressive writing.

Are you looking forward to Christmas or is it a time you dread?

What's your Christmas Story?

Join us on 25th November for writing prompts and inspirations to help you cope with the festive season and reframe your Christmas story if you want to.

Time To Write 

Saturday 25th November 2017

10.30am – 1.30pm

Hummingbird Studio, 107 Havelock Road,
Brighton BN1 6GL

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Ted Bowman Guest Blog: Living With Uncertainty

Thank you to Ted Bowman for a deeply personal guest blog
on the theme of his workshop,11 November 
at The Psychosynthesis Trust, London Bridge
limited spaces available here 

Living with uncertainty is a challenge. Even though people and families have resources, no matter how troubled they may be there is a yearning for clarity and continuity for most. 

I have been eating a similar breakfast of cereal, yogurt, fruit, granola and coffee for years. Yes, I can divert when in another’s home or for “special occasions” when eggs or waffles seem to be the better choice. But I revert quickly back to routine.

In April, I experienced the death of a grandson. That broke the rules of routine and a kind of generational justice. Grandfathers are not supposed to bury grandchildren.

In the midst of my grieving, I was sitting in a bi-monthly group that gathers for writing and supportive care of one another. Here is a poem I started that day.

Severe Clear

The prompt for the bi-monthly writing group was
Where were you when…a world changing event occurred?
Some came prepared with the first step on the moon
Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas
I thought of the sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro
Most remembered September Eleventh

One person brought the September 24, 2001 New Yorker
With one line from the beginning of an article
“The day began with what pilots’ call
Severe clear – seemingly infinite visibility”
We were urged to write with whatever the sentence prompted

Immediately, the lyrics of a song were in my mouth
“I can see clearly now”, by Johnny Nash.
It kept playing in my head, stuck on the first line
No further lines emerged, only that one
I sang it discreetly while others wrote

In reality, I cannot see clearly now
My vantage is blurred, blocked, and bereft
My vantage is severe, not clear
Dying and death do that
I saw clearly a grandson on life support
The same young man I will never see
Except through reverse lenses and memories
I yearn for severe clear 

That will unravel the mystery of his too-early death
Instead, I am left with a wobbling faith
About assumptions, expectations and dreams
About choices, friends and drugs
About family and friends who looked but did not see
I yearn for the lines I cannot remember
“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day”

Infinite One, may it be so…one day!

Looking back from now (end of October) to then (May) I recognize my uncertainty and my struggle with it.  Writing helped me then; writing helps me now. Living with uncertainty gets a wee bit more clear when it can be addressed, named, discussed, or shared.

In November, I will be in London to meet with others in an experience initiated and sponsored by the WordTherapy Centre. I look forward to sharing with others as we all attempt to live with uncertainty. It could be a bright, sun-shiny day…or it may fit the stereotype of London in November.  No matter, to be with other writers will lift my spirits!

Ted Bowman – October 2017

I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Writing Together in Brighton

Fun prompts. A safe space. Just write...

Our next Time to Write is Saturday, 28 October. We have a new venue - Hummingbird Studio, Havelock Road, Brighton BN1 6GL.

Here are some photos and feedback from our first Time to Write in September. 

"An unbelievable space where you really do get to new, different, deeper levels of thinking."

"I appreciated the freedom to write and felt comfortable not having a definitive theme on which to focus."

"Really positive time to reflect and write in the company of like minded people from diverse backgrounds."

"Great sweets!"

"Thank you for a safe and nurturing space where we could weave the magic of our writerly selves."

"I felt like I progressed my own ideas and thinking which I will use outside of the workshop."

"A rich and valued opportunity. Thank you, see you next month."

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Happy National Poetry Day

Here's a poem by peace activist and buddhist monk Thick Nhat Hanh

They don’t publish the good news

They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published
by us.
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the side walk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.

Thick Nhat Hanh

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Arts Are Good For Your Health

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

We welcome this Report published in July 2017 which sets out research, evidence gathering and discussions with health care professionals, patients, artists, MPs and policy makers. Produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing it follows two years of inquiry.

The Report finds: "arts-based aproaches can help people to stay well, recover faster, manage long term conditions and experience a better quality of life." It also shows how arts interventions can save money and help staff in their work.

It recommends the National Institiute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) includes the use of the arts in healthcare in its guidance where evidence justifies it and hopes that:
  • New collaborations will be formed across conventional boundaries.
  • The thinking and practice of people working in health and social care will be influenced. 
  • A new culture will grow that supports the government in the process of change towards the creation of a society which is both healthy and "health creating." 

Finally the Report calls for "all those who believe in the value of the arts for health and wellbeing to speak up." 

It goes on to say "We will work with all who believe, as we do, that the arts offer an essential opportunity for the improvement of health and wellbeing."  

To contact the APPG and lend your support to the arts in health, email Alexandra Coutler on:

This post was first published in a slightly different form on Christine's blog at WordWell Writing Workshops

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Time to Write

Would you like time and space to write?

Time To Write workshops from 10.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m. Saturdays: 30 September, 28 October, 25 November 2017 in Brighton.  

Cost:  £60 for 3 workshops, £40 for 2 (if booked together), and £25 for one. 

What you'll get from Time to Write: 
  • time to write in a held space
  • inspirations for writing if you want them 
  • the opportunity to write alongside others
  • space to share
  • feedback if you wish  

Writing can feel lonely at times as well as easy to put off or difficult to start! These low cost sessions offer a held space intended to get you in the writing flow whether you're a beginner writer or someone who already writes. 

Time to Write workshops are a space where you can write alongside others on your work in progress or use the inspirations we bring to get writing. There'll be opportunities to share your writing and ask for specific feedback if you wish.

These workshops are for you if: 
  • you'd like inspiration to get your writing flowing 
  • you need designated time to write on your own project
  • you're new to writing
  • you enjoy writing in the company of others  
  • you'd like to share your writing 
Venue: 300 Restaurant, 300 Ditchling Road, Brighton BN1 6JG 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Writing in Nature

It was a bright and sunny day - just right for our writing in nature workshop at the Garden House on Saturday, 10th June.

The Garden House is a secret garden tucked away behind houses in Warleigh Road, Brighton. It's run by Bridget and Deborah who host a variety of workshops there. And a really special place as you'll see from the photos.

The writing prompts we used were inspired by a visit to the North Wales forest last year for a weekend of writing facilitated by poetry therapist Jill Teague

Writing 1: Find a space in the garden and write about what you see looking out and around into the distance. Go with the flow of your writing.

Writing 2: Find something you're drawn to. Focus in on it. Write about what you find. 

Writing 3: Re-read your writing and underline the words and phrases that stand out to you. Use them to create a shorter piece of writing or poem. 

We found these prompts worked really well. 

Feedback from participants: 

"It felt a safe environment with everyone being supportive. It felt like the words wanted to spill out of me during the exercises and the course more than fulfilled my hopes and expectations."

“A wonderful experience of having time and space to write creatively amidst the beauty of a summer garden."

“I found the exercises varied and challenging but in a good way! I would have liked more time for the workshop as it goes so quickly!"