Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Inspired - The word of the day

With thanks to Sheelagh Gallagher: Lapidus chair and host

An entire day spent with Lapidus members is inspiring. I want to share the buzz but I fear it won’t translate. You’ll have to seek out your local Lapidus group if you want to be so inspired.

Wendy French began the day with promises that this year Lapidus would be focussing on support for local groups.

So what do local Lapidus groups do?

There was a common theme coming from each group representative.

We support each other

The sessions are enjoyable

We share news and feedback on current projects

We are inspired

London and the South East:

Wendy French talked about their meetings in the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden. How can you fail to be inspired in such a location? Each session starts with news and the sharing of experiences and then it's down to the important things like coffee and writing. Up to 20 members go along and any writing can be contributed to a joint creative journal.


The Midlands group usually meet in Nottingham. Sheelagh Gallagher described a recent meeting which involved a story teller and the chance to transform your life story into a fairy tale. Can I compete on the inspirational scale with a Leicester based meeting in the Spring?

South West:

Sue Sims spoke of their bi-monthly meetings in the Pierian Centre in Bristol, another inspiring location. In January Sue ran a successful workshop on free-fall writing and they too are creating a joint journal. They have plans to set up a project working with the homeless.


Four people from Wales were so inspired by one of Victoria Field’s courses that they are now setting up a Lapidus Cymru group. Christina Evans described how they were brimming with ideas including an event at the Hay Festival and work in conjunction with the University of Glamorgan.


Lapidus in Scotland is the epitome of inspiration. Larry Butler told us how it began, pre-Lapidus days, with a Poetry Healing Project. Many successful projects, later they are now planning ‘Writing Your Self’ with special guest John Killick. They also have local group meetings which sometimes involve singing and singer/songwriters. Larry is a firm believer in the importance of song.

Hints to local groups

  • Larry’s message is to ‘act local’. Meet round a kitchen table every few weeks, write, tell stories, drink, eat, be inspired.
  • Sue’s advice is to avoid burn out, rotate the chair and share out responsibilities.

And then came lunch

Larry Butler led an after lunch session that began with candle-lit meditation, a communal song, an active game, and then a stream-of-consciousness writing entitled ‘What inspires us.’ The feedback contained as many answers as there were people in the room.

Please remember to send your inspiring thoughts to Sheelagh for the next Lapidus Journal


Anyone who is reading this please feel free to share your thoughts on ‘what inspires you’ in the Comments below.

In an adjoining room Steve Dearden was running a workshop on funding for projects. Jane Reece attended this session and told me a little bit about it.

"Steve's workshop allowed us to talk about our ideas for projects and how we might approach funders and make effective applications," she said. "He reminded us to take control of our work by really identifying what our dreams were and aiming towards seeking support for them rather than tailoring our dreams to what we anticipate the funder might fund."

Yet another inspiring workshop. Why couldn't I attend both sessions... at the same time?

Kate Thompson ended the day with a cautionary session on looking after ourselves when working with groups or individuals. She talked of using the Journal Writing Technique for self-supervision. There are three stages:

  • Writing/cathartic
  • Reflecting
  • Reading back and noticing what has been said

A well tried method is to write an unsent letter (one that is never ever sent).

After reading it through, respond to the following:

  • When I read this I notice...
  • I feel...
  • I am surprised...

We finished Kate's session with a metaphorical Black Box. What is left in the Black Box when the day’s programme is over? My Black Box contains a pledge to plan a meeting in Leicester for the Midlands local group... and I hope it will be inspirational. Any interested readers please contact me.

A date for Lapidus/prospective members:

AGM April 17th at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden.

Please send creative writing ideas for the day’s programme to Wendy French

Submissions for Lapidus Journal

Please send proposals to Sheelagh Gallagher

1 comment:

  1. The following is a message emailed from Karen Harvey (thanks Karen)

    I'd like to echo what Rosalind said, it was lovely to see you all, those I'd met before, Hi Chrissie, Sylvia and David, and all the new faces. I hope I'll get to know you all better in the future. To our speakers, thank you I learned a lot and to Larry I really enjoyed your workshop.

    I really enjoyed the day, I've not stopped writing since I came home and I feel ready to take up artwork again after a really long lapse. I am starting my first group this afternoon I'm really looking forward to it. I hope that really good things come from it.

    I'm putting a link here to something I blogged before which mentions Lapidus, I have been involved with this webzine for about 6 years, (submissions welcome ladies,) I will post something new about the Lapidus day on the blog and keep you all informed. http://www.allthingsgirl.net/health/bibliotherapy-and-writing-in-healthcare/