Monday, 23 September 2019

Creative well-being

At today's session we focussed on well-being, firstly using the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week (23-29 Sept) as a prompt - Explore your way to wellbeing. After our first effort we looked at a collaborative exhibition in Wellington called 'Get a head, Get a hat' which is a different take on an old 1940s advertising slogan ' Get a hat, Get ahead'. Apparently if you want to make progress in life you need to get a hat and hats were everywhere in those days! Instead the creative spaces undertaking this project want us to think about getting into a good head space as a way of making progress in life, hence 'Get a head, Get a hat'.


A seesaw movement of mood
exaggerated at both ends
forcing me to hold on so hard
that it is the only reason
I don't fall off

If I could find a way to navigate
the playground of wellness
I must first experience everything
the playground has to offer

Ups, downs and psychosis
must first be experienced before
taking the model railway to wellness
The seats are small and I'm
afraid I might fall off

Taking the first step away
from the playground
I make it to the meadow
of well-being

It is an affirmative step
that I must consciously make.
Do I hide in the shadows
of this playground?
Or do I decisively walk away?

- M.F.


The words flow from the pen
slowly viscous like honey from a spoon
Wanting to taste and feel and hear and see
A feast for the senses

If only I could become a part of it
Just dive right in
Immersing myself in the poem
and having it cling to me

A barrier against illiteracy
A protective education
If I can express myself in
as few words as possible
I will be happy

- M.F.


What is more important?
What goes on it?
or what is in it?
A head is not just a shape
an object
for hats and glasses to perch upon.
A head is full of thoughts
and ideas
useful and destructive
helpful and not so.
Full of memories
which do we value and treasure?
the successes?
or the failures?
Why do some
remind themselves of their failures?
while others can hold onto their successes?
A head needs to be maintained
and cultivated
so it can be productive
and grow the best crop possible.

- Christine Philp


If well being was a hat
it would be well fitting

A good fit doesn’t slip
holds tight in the wind
adjusts to a preferred angle
It keeps off the rain
and the burning sun
shading the eyes so
Life’s detail is clearly seen

This Well Being Hat is So Cool!
It struts down the street
saying “Look at me;  I am OK”
It lifts in cordial greetings to friends,
and at days’ end it flies buoyantly
through the air, to land on the bed

- Kate Jenkins


A kitten runs curiously from box to bag
a child escapes outdoors
to a garden playground of thought and task
the teenager runs, and shouts to the hills
and an OE generation boards a plane

I walk slower now, content to see
the many things I raced past in youth
but longing still for the resounding silence of the mountains
augmented by the trill of a lone bird
as clear splashing water explores the rocks
in its downhill rush between tussocks and rare alpine herbs
to join a beech hidden river
a boulder gorge, a tight high waterfall
then the fast meandering of reed coated flats

Content with memory I find
my eyes more active
seeing in detail one path on the road from home
my neighbours’ garden
and a baby tūī going joyous on flax

- Kate Jenkins


Sits waiting
Where you've gone
Having faith
That you will find 
Your own way back
To how things 

 - Pauline


Buying a hat
One would think
Would be unimportant
If one had no head

A hat
Bobbing about 
No nose
No eyes
No mouth
No ruffled hair 
Blowing in the 
No smile
No angry glare
No tears
No fearful glance
A covering only
Sitting on shoulders

 - Pauline

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

TV Dinners

Over the last two weeks we have focussed on prose and to help us get into the groove we used a film or television programme we had seen as the basis of our story - or at least the starting point. We were asked to change at least one significant aspect of the original story and to be as creative as we liked but with a word limit of 250. How to convey a film or programme in a short word count was an interesting challenge. We revealed what the programme was once we had shared the story - sometimes it was patently obvious and other times it was a complete mystery. With only about 20 minutes of writing, our group did incredibly well. Here are a few samples.


I used to dream that when the moon would awaken, he would be there. His long blue fur and deep steps that trimmed the echo of the night. I would be curled up in bed but always feel the creep. The dull sweep of his toes and the deep rumble of his breath. I would dream and there he would stand. It would start with a knock, just enough of a noise to rouse me, then an obscure breeze would tear the curtains. Even though I knew that it happened every night, my pulse would beat like the wings of a butterfly and my eyes would flutter awake. I recall the chill in the room and the way a low groan cut through the silence. I recall following the scuttling sound near the bottom of the bed and how the chill of the room stuck to my neck. Then came the roar. The realisation as to what was there were your skin turns artic and you feel the thick wads of fur suddenly near your pillow. Then the room fills with thunder as this giant blue create with rows of sharp yellow teeth bellows out a roar- the sound is so loud, I recall it making my ears ache, my eyes always watered, and my mouth screamed. I used to think he was terrifying. The way he used to scare me and then one day that changed, and now, when he walks through the door near my bed, so late at night, I welcome him and laugh about all the ways things used to be.

- Nellie Toubon


Swimming through the freezing sea, I feel free. My friends are around me and we play as we swim. Soon I'll be home, soon I'll see my family. Nearly there I think to myself. As we get closer to the shore we instinctively swim faster: we know that he'll be there waiting for us. Just as we had expected he was waiting, his looming body blocking our way to the beach. His body at least three times bigger than us, his teeth gnashing at us. At least there is only one beast today, we can outrun him. Like a switch instincts all kick in. We dart past him, weaving around him. His large body slowing him down, he tires quickly. My friends and I arrive at the beach in one piece, I feel the endorphins surge my body giving me that last blast of energy to get home. It's still a long way to go, I see the familiar hill that we must climb. As I look up I see the jaggered  rocks and sudden drops. So one by one we make our way up, catching each other before they slip. It's a long journey home, my feet are aching but the distant sounds of hungry chicks keeps me going. Soon I'll be home, soon I'll see my family.

- Tayla


He arrived in the new town, new country, new everything, wondering what they already knew about him.  Would they know he'd been kicked out of Australia, tail between his legs?  And they'd only taken him on here because they were so desperate?  He'd learn about them quickly enough, being the new doctor.
The first patient was rough, "You can't be the new Doc, you're Australian".  He smiled, grimaced, and tried to explain that yes, they do have medical schools in Australia, and he is indeed a suitably qualified doctor.  After that, dealing with his bunions was a breeze!
His daughter was another issue.  He'd uprooted her from everything she knew and everyone she knew.  And being a teenager, she was quick to tell him what she thought!
After 3 weeks of listening to her moan, he'd had enough and started packing to go back to Australia.  He'd have to start at the bottom again, maybe in a small practice where no-one knew him.  And then the biggest shock of all - she wanted to stay!  She'd started to make friends and wanted to give this new country a go after all!

- Christine

Today we feature one of our regular writers who has diligently written up the poems she has developed at the Artsenta Writer's Group ove...