Journalling Through a Time of Corona 10

This the tenth of a series I started as a way of offering some support for those either starting or wanting to carry on journalling through this unique and unanticipated episode in our lives. But with the sense of things moving on around us, this will be the last piece for now. This week I want to pick up on some questions that a newcomer to journalling asked me in a recent telephone conversation. The person had f
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Poems for Challenging Times 8

Another David Whyte poem this week, and a long, stretchy one at that! Current circumstances can tempt us to stay inside ourselves; the challenge is to go beyond ourselves (it only needs to be a little way at a time). Refuse that call for too long and we end up beside ourselves. The road-image of the poem emerges from the poet’s own experience of a physical journey. When have you been faced with the prospec
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Journalling Through a Time of Corona 9

Last week we looked at reviewing our journal-writing. This week, I want to be a bit more forward-facing and think about opening up possibilities in our lives by using questions in our journals – the ones we pose and the ones that prompt us. Questions can help us explore what we think, how we feel, our hopes and dreams, what matters most to us and what’s really going on in us. Questions are not necessarily
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Poems for Challenging Times 7

Days of lockdown have only heightened our awareness of others on the limited occasions when we have been beyond our front door. We have become fine-tuned to others’ proximity and behaviour as we practise social distancing – from the avoidance of eye-contact to the edgy camaraderie and choreography of passing an approaching stranger.  Small Kindnesses pays attention to actions that cost very little but can
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Journalling Through a Time of Corona 8

Throughout lockdown, the Government has conducted 3-weekly reviews of our national situation regarding coronavirus, to note any changing trends and make adjustments where appropriate. This periodic stopping to take stock is a practice that can also help make our words work for us. It’s tempting as we finish a piece of journalling to put our pen down and think that that’s the end of it.  Of course, it’s not
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Poems for Challenging Times 6

It has been wisely said that writing is as simple as going slowly enough to notice things and stopping long enough to put them down in words. It’s just that most people don’t take take time to do either. Billy Collins’ ‘Morning’ pays careful attention to everyday detail, somehow transforming the ordinary into a sacrament of the present moment. Very specific passing moments like the feel of feet on a cold
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Journalling Through a Time of Corona 7

This is the seventh week of journalling prompts I’ve offered since lockdown started in what feels like way back when…After around 6 weeks, any novelty of the experience has worn off, and we may feel we’re facing the weariness of same old, same old. One of writing’s great qualities – alongside its capacity to help us find words to nail down the extraordinary – is that it can also help us to
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Poems for Challenging Times 5

Despite its somewhat apocalyptic title, today’s poem by Joy Harjo is as uplifting as it is haunting.   Harjo was born in 1951 in Oklahoma. As well as publishing nine poetry collections, she is a musician (playing saxophone in her band Poetic Justice) and author of two children’s books. In 2019, she became the first Native American to occupy the position of US Poet Laureate. Perhaps the World Ends Here celebra
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Journalling Through a Time of Corona 6

Last week I asked my journalling group what they wanted to write about in our upcoming online session. The response was unanimous: ‘Not Coronavirus!’ I found something similar when I ran creative writing sessions for cancer patients. ‘We don’t want to write about our cancer directly,’ said one. ‘It comes into the writing anyway, and it’s a safe place for that to happen. We want to find ways to expand
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Poems for Challenging Times 4

This week’s poem is one newly-written and  just received from a friend, Jerry Gilpin. As well as reading it below, you can hear Jerry read it with an accompanying film created by his son Matthew, here ‘Gratitude’  focusses on one moment unique to our times, stays with it to observe it closely and dig a little deeper into what is going on alongside what is happening. Finally, the poet opens thing
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  • About Julia

    Julia

    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

    Read more about Julia
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