Monthly Archives: May 2014

Workshop: therapeutic creative writing 19th July 2014

Come and explore creative writing within the therapeutic context through the wonder of metaphor. We use metaphors all the time, they help us express ourselves and can open up paths to finding meaning and understanding. Through creative writing we can discover more about the metaphors we already use and also find new metaphors which could lead us to greater personal awareness. This one day workshop looks at metaphors in the context of our own self-reflexive practice and of our work with clients.

Scarborough Counselling & Psychotherapy Training Institute (SCPTI), 1 Westbourne Grove, Scarborough, YO11 2DJ. 10am-5pm. Tutor: writer and psychotherapeutic counsellor, Kate Evans (www.writingourselveswell.co.uk)

Fees: SCPTI members: Early Bird (pay before 22nd May) £75/after that £90. Non-SCPTI members Early Bird £95/non Early Bird £110. Apply: mail@scpti.co.uk

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Edith coming off the page

Today was our Edith Sitwell schools’ taster day, run in collaboration with the University of Hull, Scarborough campus outreach, Woodend Creative Industries Centre and Scarborough Library. We had 26 young people coming from three local schools. They were introduced to the history of Woodend and to aspects of Edith Sitwell’s life and poetry. They were treated to a performance of an extract of Façade. They learnt something of what it is to be a writer, to play with and then craft words, to search within and without for inspiration.

Some dived into it with great confidence and that was lovely to see. However, as usual for me, it was those who struggled that held my curiosity. Two lasses responded to all my suggestions and questions with, ‘I don’t know’. So in the end we created a embryonic rap with the repeated line of (yes, you’ve guessed it) ‘I don’t know’.

It was hard work and I am very grateful for the support of all involved. I am left with the even greater conviction that, far from being a dusty has-been, given the chance, Edith still leaps off the page. Well, at least, there are 26 young people in the Scarborough area who on hearing Edith’s name won’t look blank but should have something to say about her.

Be Brave

Last night I caught up with a documentary about Frida Kahlo (in the surprisingly interesting ITV series Perspectives) and I was once again reminded of what an inspiring artist and woman she was.  I have held a long-time passion for her and was lucky enough to see an exhibition of her work at Tate Modern in London several years ago. I was seeing her paintings in the ‘flesh’ for the first time and her use of her body means it did feel like I was touching skin. The effect was visceral. There are many websites which carry images of her art, but I found this one: http://www.fridakahlo.org/frida-kahlo-paintings.jsp#prettyPhoto

Frida did not hesitate to pour herself, her pain and her joy, into her work, and, in doing so, she grasps the viewer in a very personal way. And yet, from her own individual experience, she also creates something which is universal, in which the viewer can find themselves. This is what I intend/hope to do with my series of crime novels. Frida was brave and did not shy away from what she felt impelled to do. I too wish to be brave.

Fruity Characters

I had a really good time on Saturday with my Lapidus pals (www.lapidus.org.uk) writing and supporting each other in our writing processes. I am grateful to Sue for her writing with all the senses exercise which encouraged us to get to know two pieces of fruit and develop characters from them. For me, it resulted in this:

The day has been oppressively hot. Everyone has kept to their own cell in the bowels of the boat. It is only in the cool of the evening that people begin to come on deck. They are a disordered lot, crying or mumbling or fumbling, the weight of something unspoken making their spines crooked.

In contrast the young woman in her serge cloak and kiwi green gown, stands slender and straight leaning against the handrail. She watches the boat slip over the river water as if it were sliding across a snake’s back. The wooded hills rise sharply on either side to a gloaming sky. Where there is a patch of flattened bank, there is a village gaily lit with coloured fairy bulbs. The air is tangy and sweet.

An older woman comes to stand beside her, her skin is pitted and scarred. Neither of them belong on this ship of folly. They’d merely been on the wrong landing stage at the wrong time. ‘It’s beautiful here,’ says the youngster.

‘If you’re partial to this sort of thing,’ replies acid tongue, aware she loved it once.

‘Do you know where we’re going?’

‘Didn’t you check the destination board?’

‘I just jumped on at the last minute. I’m happy to go where life takes me.’

‘Then you’re more of a fool than the rest of them, for they aren’t here by choice.’

‘So you do know where we’re going?’

‘It’ll be wherever you least want to go.’