The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing: Writing Myself

By Gillie Bolton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE

Writing in Prison,
the Old People’s Home:
‘Reach for the Stars’

One can afford to be hurt, one can afford to reach for the stars, if there is a
built-in safeguard against crippling depression or disorganising
excitement.

(Molly Harrower, The Therapy of Poetry, p.3)

Writing could keep me company when I was isolated

(Jackie Kay, Young Poetry Pack, p.4)

My grandfather and grandmother never spoke. Everyone in that little
house was miserable, and although they knew they were miserable and
why they were miserable, they couldn’t explain why … I realised the
only way I could express my feelings was by writing them down.

(Brian Patten, Young Poetry Pack, p.15)

Writing can not only keep you company when isolated from everyday contact with other people during everyday activities, and enable you to express your feelings when those around you cannot, it can also help you to reach for the stars, even from the restrictions of institutional life. All that has been said about therapeutic writing in the rest of this book is relevant here but institutional life makes additional demands which this chapter addresses. Annie Dalton graphically describes how a group of prisoners wrote a musical and John Killick and I tell of our work with older adults – mine in old people’s homes and John’s with dementia sufferers.

-178-

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