Creative Writing Group Session – 2 of 5 September 2016 by Karen Robinson

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1 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two - I'm ready to start with my creative writing session with Mind Australia and facilitated by Judy Bird. Photographed by Karen Robinson

1 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two – I’m ready to start the creative writing session made available by Mind Australia, facilitated by Judy Bird. Photographed by Karen Robinson

 

INTRODUCTION

This was our second September Creative Writing Group Session – made available by Mind Australia, and facilitated by Judy Bird, for carers of loved ones experiencing mental health issues. It was evident from the group’s noisy, happy chatter that all participants were keen to be there!

 

CREATIVE WRITING PIECE NO. 1

During this week’s creative writing session we were asked if we would like to share our homework from the previous week. We had each been given a postcard which featured an oil pastel painting by Tyler Arnold of High Street, Northcote – March 2016, and an image of the postcard is featured below. The instruction from the facilitator was to write for 5 minutes about the postcard picture which is exactly what I did.  A number of participants read out their stories and it was amazing to hear the different takes on what they had gained from viewing the postcard itself.  Most of the participants had turned the postcard over prior to writing, which showed details of the painting’s location – I had not done this!  At the end of my story you will note I say that “maybe one day I will visit this destination” only to realise, in this session, I have already been there!

 

Title:  Postcard Story

When I look at my postcard, I cannot help but think of some exciting, historical travel destination to come – where the unknown is to be found and enjoyed. Where new sights and sounds can be gobbled up into one’s memory banks and accessed in times when life appears dreary and dull.  I also like the wonderful, chunky, oil painting technique shown, reminding me of Old Masters and their amazing abilities in time long gone, leaving me to wonder “what was it like, then”. I also like the period-style homes that are featured in the postcard, double storey, squished side by side and with doorways positioned right on the street pathway.  Cars are tightly parked along the gutter, barely allowing a breath of space between each of them.  There’s a pizza sign on one of these buildings giving the locals a place to get a quick and easy meal perhaps to be consumed after a busy day at work.  A sign indicates it’s a 40-kilometre speed zone within this street, slow enough for pedestrians to dash across the road and cars to slow down to avoid mishaps.  Each side of the image are lush trees showing off full green foliage, hinting that it must be full summer.  The windows of the buildings peer directly over the busy suburban street, allowing their residents to see all the action happening in the outside world as they tend to their homely activities.  As I stated before – perhaps one day I will visit a destination like the one on my postcard and stop to gobble up all the sights and sounds to recall on my dreary and dull days.

© Karen Robinson – September 2016

 

4 of 4 Post Card of 'High Street, Northcote in March 2016' Oil Pastels by Artist Tyler Arnold' used as a source of creative writing inspiration during Creative Writing Session One

4 of 4 Post Card of ‘High Street, Northcote in March 2016′ Oil Pastels by Artist Tyler Arnold’ used as a source of inspiration for our Creative Writing homework giving at session one – September 2016.

 

CREATIVE WRITING PIECE NO. 2

Another creative writing task we were given was to find something that we thought no one else had noticed.  One morning before this session I was sitting quietly, working at my computer, when I decided to write for the task, as I had found quiet and peace whilst no one was noticing, just before dawn.

 

Home

­
It is quiet and peaceful
at this very moment.
There are no ‘world worries’ in my space.


I hear birds awakening
 to the beginning
 of a new and promising day.


Inside here in my home
it is safe and warm,
and outside, surrounding my home,
is a garden paradise
grown and crafted
by the loving hands of a man
I cherish.


Here, I know, is a place
 for me
to run and hide -
to shelter from the outside world’s daily challenges;


a place where I can be myself –
unafraid, comforted.

The family dog sits beside me,
endearingly,
as always.


Together we wait for the morning-sun
to show its friendly face


and when my husband arises,
from his night’s sleep,
it is then we will take coffee
 and talk
in the security of each other’s company.


It is quiet and peaceful here –
this blessed place
I call home.


– Ο –

Prose Poem © Karen Robinson - September 2016

5 of 5 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two - Home Garden used as a source of creative writing inspiration. Photographed by Karen Robinson

5 of 5 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two – Home Garden used as a source of creative writing inspiration. Photographed by Karen Robinson

 

CREATIVE WRITING PIECE NO. 3

At the commencement of this creative writing session Judy placed a box in the centre of the table – please find below a photo of the box.  We were then instructed to write about “what would be in the box if it was for us”.  It was an interesting request; there was no peering inside it to see if there was anything to be revealed.   We just had to imagine what was inside, and this is what I wrote:

 

Box!




I’m thinking all good
 has to be inside this box 
meant for me!  

There are stars floating across its surface 
and colours of the rainbow are fully displayed 
against a deep black background.

In my box --

perhaps hope, 
happiness, 
and joy
 will disperse 
as the lid is lifted;  

perhaps wonderful memories
 of the past
 will float out into my presence
 to be shared and enjoyed;  

perhaps promises of good times ahead
 will ascend
 into my hands
 as promissory notes
 that can be taken up at times
 when I am feeling sad;  

perhaps the sweet scent of Spring
 will drift into my soul
 and I will find myself
 taking a deep breath of rejuvenation;  

perhaps loud trumpets
 will bugle a merry tune
 and put me in fine spirits;  

perhaps fairy floss
 will spring from its centre, 
pink, sweet, 
and sticky to the fingers;  

perhaps a flutter of chirping noisy miners
 will escape, 
heading towards the highest trees
 in the garden outside;  

or perhaps
 there is just a whole lot of nothing!


 So, for me,
 I will not be taking the lid off this box
 as I already know 
what it is full of, 
and that is
 my imagination.


– ο  Prose Poem © Karen Robinson - September 2016

 

2 of 4 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two - Mystery Box placed onto table and to be used as a source of creative writing inspiration. Photographed by Karen Robinson

2 of 4 Creative Writing September 2016 Session Two – Mystery Box placed onto table and to be used as a source of creative writing inspiration. Photographed by Karen Robinson

 

CONCLUSION

It is always a pleasure to be participating in these Creative Writing Group Sessions.  Catching up with participants that have become friends is wonderful, and meeting new like-minded people a real privilege!  A big thank you to our Creative Writing Facilitator, Judy Bird, for making these sessions such an enjoyable time. So good for one’s well-being…

 


© Karen Robinson – September 2016

POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH:  Using Art & Creative Writing as Therapy – My Journey by Karen Robinson.  Please click here for my latest blog news!

							

Creative Writing Group Session – 1 of 5 September 2016 by Karen Robinson

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1 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One - Photograph by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws

1 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One – I’m ready to start with my creative writing session with Mind Australia and facilitated by Judy Bird.  Photographed by Karen Robinson. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

INTRODUCTION

Once again Creative Writing Group Sessions for carers of loved ones experiencing mental health issues has been made available by Mind Australia and facilitated by Judy Bird.  Participants consisted of some familiar faces of people whom I had got to know during previous sessions, and others who were new to the group.  During this creative writing session, our facilitator gave us a number of creative writing tasks to carry out.  They were mainly designed to get us all re-acquainted, and to assist us in getting our creative writing brains into action!  Below I have included here, two of my writing pieces I under took during this first session.

 

CREATIVE WRITING PIECE NO. 1

We were asked to find something in the garden that no one else had noticed, and then write a piece about it. I found a wonderfully coloured umbrella!  In the photo image below of the umbrella you will notice that the sun is shining on its surface, but at the time of originally finding it, the sky was overcast, hence no sun on its surface at the time of writing this piece below!

 

Title:  Rainbow Umbrella

It’s waiting in the garden bed, waiting for its friends, the wind, rain and sun, to arrive.  It’s patient and mindful of its importance but does not demand attention from all who pass by.  Today it’s open and full of all the colours of a rainbow!  It’s waiting, waiting for you to pick it up and use it for protection from its friends, the wind, the rain and the sun.  Its name is ‘umbrella’ but its friends call it rainbow and its users call it a necessity.  Today umbrella is feeling a little neglected as there is no wind, rain or sun, and so there is no need for it.  So umbrella will just stay in the garden, resting and looking gorgeous, hoping that its friends will arrive so that it will be taken up and enjoyed!

© Karen Robinson – September 2016

 

3 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One - Rainbow Umbrella Story Photograph by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws

3 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One – Rainbow Umbrella Story Photograph by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

CREATIVE WRITING PIECE NO. 2

We were asked to choose a card from a selection of cards on the creative writing-table, and then write about ‘what it brought to mind’.  The card I chose (as shown below) featured icing flowers and satin ribbons on top of a wedding cake.  It immediately reminded me of my days as a Bridal Designer – Haute Couturier and therefore became my source of inspiration for my creative writing piece ‘The Wedding Event’ found here below.

 

Title:  The Wedding Event

Over many years in my earlier life, I have been directly and indirectly involved in other people’s wedding day plans.  My part was in the making of their very special bridal gowns and sometimes the bridesmaids’ and mother of the brides’ outfits as well.  It was my job to design and make a bridal gown that a bride imagined would turn her from an ordinary everyday person into a princess for at least one day.  From my experience this is a flawed thought.  When I would first meet with a bride-to-be they were just like you and me, but over the course of time, in the planning of their wedding, something would change!  Invariably it was more like the bride-to-be became a she-devil, possessed by rage and self-interest that came dressed in white, and not the princess of fairy tales at all.  What happened to that lovely girl I met months ago, I would find myself asking?  Many times I have mopped tears away from the faces of distressed brides-to-be on their wedding day where professionally applied makeup was in danger of being ruined.  Many times I have tried to stop bridesmaids from planning the murder (not literally) of the bride-be-to!  Many times I have had to take out bridesmaids’ dresses and take in brides’ gowns, even after bridesmaids and brides-to-be have sworn they will not be losing or putting on weight.  There have also been the saddest of times, when tears have been shed due to unforeseen deaths in families but the wedding had to go on; and other times when just after the wedding day itself, the bride and groom have decided that their short-lived marriage is not working.   It is then that there is the realisation that all of the effort put towards bringing together families, the prince and princess, has dissolved into a bad experience, needing to be forgotten.  So unfortunately I have become very cynical about weddings and cannot help but feel that they should be the simplest celebration possible where the emphasis is on the union of two people who love each other and want to share this with family and friends.  Forget the rest – this is all that matters – and hopefully they will then share a lifetime of memories made of all that’s good that life has to offer.

© Karen Robinson – September 2016

 

2 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One - The Wedding Event -Photograph by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws

2 of 3 Creative Writing September 2016 Session One – Card used as source of inspiration for the creative writing piece titled:  ‘The Wedding Event’.  Written and photographed by Karen Robinson. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

CONCLUSION

It was a pleasure to be back within this Creative Writing Group.  Catching up with participants that had become friends was wonderful, and meeting new like-minded people a real privilege!  And a big thank you to our Creative Writing Facilitator, Judy Bird, for making the session such an enjoyable time. So good for one’s well-being…

 


© Karen Robinson – September 2016

POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH:  Using Art & Creative Writing as Therapy – My Journey by Karen Robinson.  Please click here for my latest blog news!

 

Creative Writing: “Our Dog Jessie” Poem by Karen Robinson

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1 of 2 Jessie is patient and deligent with such a longing to see his master's return at the end of a day - dear old dog by Karen Robinson .jpg

1 of 2 Jessie is patient and diligent with such a longing to see his master’s return at the end of a day – dear old dog – Golden Cocker Spaniel – written and Photographed by Karen Robinson  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws .jpg

 

INTRODUCTION

The process of trying to keep up with my creative writing is a challenge for me.  Life just demands at times, my attention elsewhere, but I feel so rewarded when I do take the time to reflect and write…

 

POEM INSPIRATION

So at a moment when my thoughts were still, I glanced across from where I was working, and looked towards our old dog Jessie.  He was sitting at the window looking longingly out and up towards the garden path. It was that time of the day when he would wait for his master to come home and today was no exception for Jessie! Oh to have the unconditional love of a dog…it’s such a beautiful love.  With those thoughts in mind, I wrote this poem for Jessie our old dog.

 



Title:  "Our Dog Jessie" Poem
 

His golden hair glimmers in the warm, afternoon winter-sun,

He is waiting, waiting, waiting for his very special one.


There seems to be no end to his vigilant gaze

as he watches for his master to grace the stony path maze.


For Jessie is truly a well-loved family member of ours,

He has given us so much love in both good and bad hours.


If only his master knew how adoringly his dog waits,

For the return of his master’s presence, - our dog’s best of mates.

 

Poem © Karen Robinson, July 2016

 

 

2 of 2 Jessie is patient and deligent with such a longing to see his master's return at the end of a day - dear old dog by Karen Robinson

2 of 2 Jessie is patient and diligent with such a longing to see his master’s return at the end of a day – dear old dog – Golden Cocker Spaniel – written and photographed by Karen Robinson jpg.  NB  All images are protected by copyright laws

 

CONCLUSION

Jessie is a good, loyal friend and family member.  He always greets us on our return home with a warm and friendly greeting and a wag of his tail – we are so lucky to have him…

 

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – July 2016 “World Horrors” Poem by Karen Robinson

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People gather in front of a memorial on the Promenade des Anglais, where the truck crashed into the crowd during the Bastille Day celebrations. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

People gather in front of a memorial on the Promenade des Anglais, where the truck crashed into the crowd during the Bastille Day celebrations. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

 

INTRODUCTION

I wrote the following poem as a personal response to the dreadful news of the truck attacker in France, whom had killed over 80 people and seriously injured many others, nearly 24 hours after a Bastille Day celebration.  This continual onslaught against innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives – is just devastating.  To all those whom have lost loved ones, my deepest condolences; and to all those experiencing serious injury, may you have a speedy recovery. And to those whom experienced this horror directly, may you find peace as time marches on.

 

MY POEM TITLED “WORLD HORRORS”




It's so dreadfully hard not to be torn down by the daily news.

Reading, listening, seeing the world horrors just gives me the blues.

 

What happened to my understanding of it being a safe 
and wonderful place?

Did it get jarred away by us -- us being the human race?

 

I fear for what my children's children will have to contend with,

as they hear of this once beautiful planet. Was it all just a myth?

 

But I bring myself back to the now and I say,

that I only have the power of me and then I pray

 

not to the gods of man who need belief to exist,

not to the night heavens that continue to persist,

 

but to future generations of us humans at play,

that somehow they will do much better -- better than we have today.


Poem © Karen Robinson, July 2016

 

 

THE “ART OF PEACE” PAINTING – ACRYLIC PAINT ON H.W. PAPER 2014

 

Image No. 1 - Art & Creative Writing 'The Art of Peace' by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 20-12-2014 Acrylic Paint on HW Paper NB All images are subject to copyright laws.JPG

Image No. 1 – Art & Creative Writing ‘The Art of Peace’ by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 20-12-2014 Acrylic Paint on H.W. Paper.  By clicking on the image above, it will lead you to a blog I wrote about my own country’s terrifying and violent siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place – Australia.  The above image I created in response to that event and is a representation of our world floating in a sea of darkness.  Written by Karen Robinson NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws.

.

CONCLUSION

It’s hard to write here a concluding sentence except just to say that we must have the hope that the human race will find its way…

 

Written by ©Karen Robinson – July 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-Traumatic Growth:  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Book Review by Karen Robinson – “Upside – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth” Author Jim Rendon

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Karen Robinson reading Jim Rendon's book titled 'Upside' The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth NB All images are protected by copyright laws

Karen Robinson reading Jim Rendon’s book titled ‘Upside’ The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth – reading via Kindle. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

INTRODUCTION

What drew me towards reading this book titled ‘Upside‘ written by Jim Rendon was the book’s tag line – ‘The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth‘.  Over recent years, I have come to formally understand, that my art and creative writing processes, have been – my own personal post-traumatic growth journey.  Reading Jim Rendon’s book, has further assisted me in gaining insightful knowledge about the subject matter. It also, had me appreciating, just how much post-traumatic growth I myself have encountered, after experiencing a series of life changing devastating traumatic events. That post-traumatic growth can be like, a rebirth of oneself, a rebuilding of everything previously known and understood; and that it can lead to positive outcomes, that one would have never anticipated; that life can once more – become meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling.  But it takes work, and the process of post-traumatic growth can be different from one individual to another.  What works for some, may not work for others and in Jim Rendon’s book – his interviews/stories about individuals from all walks of life and traumatic experiences, shows this to be true.

 

NB:  Recently I spoke at Mind Australia’s 2016 Conference in Melbourne, Australia about my Post-Traumatic Growth, about how art and creative writing had improved my life after experiencing a series of family crises and about what I had learned about the catalyst for my positive change.  Please find here a link for the webpage about ARTIST TALK NO. 2 – ‘OUR VOICE, OUR CHOICE’ 2016that refers to this presentation of mine.

 

 

UPSIDE – THE NEW SCIENCE OF POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH

Jim Rendon has written his book in sections, number one being titled ‘Why Terrible Experiences Can Also Be Good For You‘, number two being titled ‘The Essential Tools for Growth‘ and the third titled ‘Cultivating Growth‘.  The following Amazon overview of his book covers it well and I felt I couldn’t have covered it better:-

 

'Upside' - The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth written by Jim Rendon

‘Upside’ – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth written by Jim Rendon

 

In the tradition of Po Bronson and Paul Tough, journalist Jim Rendon delivers a deeply reported look at the life-changing implications of post-traumatic growth—an emerging field of psychological research that shows how the suffering caused by traumatic events can be harnessed as a force for self-improvement and success rather than destruction.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is at the center of national conversation and a widely recognized psychological condition. But an equally valid, though lesser known outcome of trauma is post-traumatic growth. While many survivors suffer long-term emotional damage, over the last several decades psychologists have discovered that with the right circumstances and proper support, survivors can actually emerge from their trauma stronger, more focused, and with a new and clear vision for the future. In fact, as many as two-thirds of trauma survivors report positive changes—far more than suffer from PTSD.

But how can terrible events lead to remarkable and dramatic breakthroughs? Upside seeks to answer this question by taking a deep-dive look at this burgeoning new field of study. Comprised of interviews with leading researchers and dozens of trauma survivors, Rendon paints a vivid and comprehensive portrait of this groundbreaking field. With accessible language, prescriptive takeaways, and specific tools to promote positive responses to trauma, this book is perfect for anyone interested in the ways that traumatic events shape people. It is particularly useful for trauma survivors or their loved ones seeking a more hopeful and positive future. (Amazon 2016).”

 

LEONARD LOPATE SHOW’S INTERVIEW WITH JIM RENDON ABOUT HIS BOOK

Below is a link to ‘Leonard Lopate Show‘ interview with Jim Rendon, spamming just 20 minutes.  It helps give a quick overview of what Jim Rendon’s book is all about and worth a listen.

“The Silver Lining of Trauma” Radio interview with Jim Rendon

 

 

MY BOOK REVIEW OF ‘UPSIDE’ & PERSONAL INSIGHTS

Jim Rendon’s Book ‘Upside’ was a good read. There was so much I could personally resonate with and improved my understanding about post-traumatic growth exponentially which in turn, has improved my understanding of my own experience with post-traumatic growth.  Jim’s extensive research into the science of post-traumatic growth and his in-depth interviews/stories about people whom have experienced post-traumatic growth – proved to validate his work even more.

 

CONCLUSION

Jim Rendon’s book is an important read for those whom are interested in ‘post-traumatic growth’ and how in can be an incredible means to helping people rebuild and reshape their lives which have been somehow traumatically impacted by a life changing event.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, July 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic growth – My Art & Creative Writing Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – June 2016 “I Am Listening…” Poem by Karen Robinson

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Volunteer Speaking at a Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Melbourne Australia with RTSSV - Karen Robinson June 2016

Karen Robinson (me) Volunteer Speaking at a Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Melbourne Australia with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria – Karen Robinson June 2016

 

INTRODUCTION

Last night – Tuesday 14th June, 2016 at RTSSV’sRoad Trauma Awareness Seminar (RTAS) in Werribee as a RTAS Volunteer Speaker, I told my family’s, being husband’s and my daughter’s road trauma story about my son Ben – killed in a single vehicle car crash on the 5th November, 2009. Like many other RTAS volunteer speakers each month across the state of Victoria – Australia for Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), we share with repeat road traffic offenders our road trauma stories, in the hope that repeat road traffic offenders gain a greater understanding about how risky driver behaviour is deadly. That it only takes one careless action as a driver to cause death and serious injury which in turn can leave behind, a devastating ripple effect.

Talking to and with these RTAS participants about their risky driver behaviour, once again reaffirmed the importance of the volunteer work that we do. Sure, it’s not easy and sure why do it all – might be your question. But when I hear, like many other volunteers hear, what participants say at the end of the Road Trauma Awareness Seminars: about what they have learned in regard to road safety and road trauma; about what they had never understood beforehand about the ripple effect impact of road trauma on family, friends, workmates and the wider community; and about how hearing our personal road trauma stories, has got them re-thinking about their own risky driver behaviour – it becomes apparent that it is a very worthwhile task and for me is the hardest thing I do.

 

POEM INSPIRATION

I found myself wanting to write, needing to write and I wrote this short poem about my feelings relating to this week’s Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Volunteer speaking experience.  This is what I wrote…

 

Title:  “I Am Listening…” Prose Poem

 



Here I am, again, listening to their reasons why

and as I hear, I cannot help but sigh!

 


They talk about the daily risks they take

and my calm facial expression is all a fake

 


for I know if they continue on in this vein,

their lives will not be blessed by the ordained.

 


Their loved ones will end up mourning their loss

for their risk-taking comes at a massive cost.

 


The tears, heartache and emptiness of soul

will leave their loved ones with this only role.

 


And as for me, I am already there -

left without my son and left with great despair.



Prose Poem ©Karen Robinson, June 2016

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Writing this poem helped me process my feelings and thoughts about what I heard, saw and experienced during my RTAS volunteer speaking this week.  At this particular RTA Seminar there was another whom had experienced the loss of a loved one through road trauma and he hadn’t spoken about his loss for over 20 years…  It was very sad and demonstrated just how important it is to reach out and share our feelings, thoughts and emotions in order to maintain a healthy sense of well-being.  My creative writing and art practice gives me a way to maintain my well-being and has become an important way for me to continue on moving forward with my post-traumatic growth journey.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson – June 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Art and Creative Writing Group Therapy – Early 2016 “Altered Book Project” by Karen Robinson

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No.75 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 - Facilitated by Art Therapist Vicky Nickolls NB: All images are protected by copyright laws

No.75 Karen Robinson (me) holding my ‘Altered Book’ created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 with Mind Australia – Facilitated by Art Therapist Vicky Nicholls NB: All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Earlier this year, I participated once again in art therapy and creative writing therapy sessions with Mind Australia as a participant.  Our art therapist facilitator – Vicky Nicholls had us work on a project which required us to create our own special ‘altered book’.  During the process of creating my ‘altered book’, I decided to add pockets that would hold a small selection of my creative writing pieces, that I particularly liked and also that held special meaning for me.  These creative writing pieces I had written throughout 2015 and early 2016 during my creative writing sessions, and sometimes as part of homework we were given by our Creative Writing Facilitator – Judy Bird.  These particular pieces I have included within this blog and can be found towards the end of this page.

 

No.77 ' Step 8 - Group photo taken at our Art Therapy Session - last day! - Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.77 ‘ Step 8 – Group photo taken at our Art Therapy Session – last day!  We stand holding our precious ‘Altered Books’ created during our Art Therapy Sessions 2016.   NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

MY ALTERED BOOK!

This is my ‘altered book’ as seen here below, which I had created during my art therapy sessions with Mind Australia 2016.  I discovered during my research on ‘altered books’ that they are a form of mixed media artwork, where a book is changed from its original state – to an altered state.  This can entail cuts, tears, burns, folds, paints, adds to, collages, rebinds, gold-leafs, created pop-ups, rubber-stamps, drills, bolts, and/or be ribbons.  It can have pockets and niches added to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects.  I decided to create a ‘altered book’ that was made up of materials that I had used on a painting titled Heart of Treasured Memories that I had painted during Art Therapy 2015 sessions.  I wanted to achieve a marriage between these two items – as they signified to me the end of one journey and a commencement of another!

 

No. 15 Completed 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

No. 15 Completed ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

 

PROCESS USED TO CREATE MY ‘ALTERED BOOK’

I stripped back the book’s first layer of paper on each page and cover.  Then I painted it with a creamy iridescent paint and then painted the book’s spine and page edges – in gold paint.  Then I added decorated ribbons at one end of the book’s spine which I had added little wooden flowers and butterflies too, also I glued onto these items, sequins that I had left over from my Heart of Treasured Memories painting. During one of the art therapy session, I found a set of patterned decorative paper sheets which I further decorated with the wooden flowers, butterflies and sequins.  I then folded these paper sheets in half and inserted then into the back of the book’s spine.  When the book was closed and the book’s spine was fanned outwards, these folded paper sheets offered another visual dimension to the ‘altered book’.  I then created ink drawings onto sheets of luminous creamy coloured paper that I had especially purchased for its paper weight, colour and look; and made little insert folders out of them that once glued into the ‘altered book’ itself, held my especially chosen creative writing pieces.  I then purchased a cardboard box that was big enough to hold my ‘altered book’ creation in, as I wanted something that would safely store the art work itself.  Like my ‘altered book’ I also altered the cardboard box and used a similar process and materials for its re-creation.

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION

It occurred to me after completing my ‘altered book’ during a time of reflection, that the whole procedure of creating a personal ‘altered book’ through re-invention, or it could also be said, transforming it into something that represented a piece of ourselves to share with others and/or keep as a private thought book to mull over when needed – was a very therapeutic process. It proved to be a deeply personal endeavour; a quite and studious creative journey that helped us work towards a better sense of well-being. It wasn’t until I had finished my ‘altered book’ and read through my selection of creative writing pieces, that it became apparent to me that this whole process of creating a ‘altered book’ was a way of re-assessing ones self; and helped me understand just how much I had gained from having been part of these wonderful art therapy and creative writing therapy sessions since 2014 to now being early 2016.  It showed me just how far I had travelled within my own personal post-traumatic growth journey.

 

 

 

MY ALTERED BOOK CREATIVE PROCESS SLIDESHOW

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ALTERED BOOK PROJECT PROCESS – STEP BY STEP!

  • Step No. 1 – “Stripping back the original book”
No. 4 - Stage No. 1 - The stripping back of the original book to make way to make the 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 4 – Stage One – The stripping back of the original book to make way to make the ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 2 – “Painting the whole stripped back book cover and pages”
No. 7 Stage two - Painting whole of the stripped back book with Matisse Pearlized Structure Paint - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 7 Stage two – Painting whole of the stripped back book with Matisse Pearl like Structure Paint – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 3 – “Decorating the outside cover of the altered book”
No. 18 Step Three - Decorating the outside cover with personally chosen materials - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 18 Step Three – Decorating the outside cover with personally chosen materials – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 4 – “Decorative paper panel spinal book inserts”
No. 25 Step Four - Decorated paper panel spinal inserts - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 25 Step Four – Decorated paper panel spinal inserts – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 5 – “Ink painted pocket inserts to hold the short creative writing stories”
No. 36 Step 5 - Hand ink painted pocket inserts to hold my short creative writing stories 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 36 Step 5 – Hand ink painted pocket inserts to hold my short creative writing stories ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 6 – “Altered book keepsake box”
No. 43 Step Six - The painting and decorating of a keepsake box for the book - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 43 Step Six – The painting and decorating of a keepsake box for the book – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 7 – “Completed altered book and keepsake altered book box”
No.51 Step 7 - Completed Altered Book and Keepsake Box for book - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.51 Step 7 – Completed Altered Book and Keepsake Box for book – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

MY ALERTED BOOK CREATIVE WRITING STORIES

No.65 Creative Writing Stories inserted into ink painted insert pockets of the 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

No.65 Creative Writing Stories inserted into ink painted insert pockets of the ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

  • Title:  “Destination – Old Age…”

My life has not been boring that is for certain!  At times it has been a sweet and delicate pathway where my soul has strive to ascend to a place of beauty and peace.  And at other times, my life has been painfully difficult.  But now, I am at a mature age, where my youthful adventurers are in the past and I feel like the moon that is quietly shining within the lives of those nearest and dearest to me, hoping that my presence brings beauty – a presence that causes no harm.  I do seek to gain knowledge of the outer world – the good, the bad, the ugly, to delve into the mysteries of others, to seek out the natural beauty of the human soul and treasure the best of us.  Old age has made me become a very practical person and it has also allowed me to arrive at a place where I find myself enjoying this part of my life.  It’s a time where I can also be strong and direct, where I can now share a lifetime of memories, in the hope that some good can be achieved. I am a sentimental deep thinker and determine to leave behind me, memories worthy of retelling to future generations.

Written by © Karen Robinson – April 2016

 

  • Title:  “Taking a Look Back…”

It takes me back – so far into the past as I look at the nicely framed photo of my two children when they were very little.  Ben would have been about five years old, I would say, and Kelly would have been 14 months younger, making her four years old.  They were both dressed in clothes that I had skilfully made for them.  Ben in a grey corduroy, long sleeve jacket with three bright gold buttons at its front, and matching knee-length shorts and a white shirt with a bright aqua blue tie.  Kelly dressed in a lollie pink corduroy long sleeve jacket, with three gold buttons at its front, and a matching three-quarter length skirt and a white shirt with a frilled edged collar and satin ribbon tie around the shirt collar.  Both children wore long white knee-high socks and brand new shoes.  Ben’s were polished leather and Kelly’s were patent leather.  Both had freshly scrubbed faces and sweet-smelling clean hair.  Ben’s hair was cut and groomed according to young boys of the day and Kelly’s hair had a mind of its own, as always – blond and curly!  They are holding hands which would have been under my instructions for sure, knowing I would have wanted a wonderful brother/sister photo of the two of them for memory’s sake.  I can see by looking at this photo that the sun was in Ben’s eyes so his face is slightly titled to the side, with his eyes squinting and a look I grew to see over many years and Kelly’s expression reflects a warm shyness.  They were dressed to attend a wedding with both Mark their father and myself – their mother. 

It was a country wedding of the daughter of a man I used to work for – Alf John was his name.  Alf John owned a substantial company in South Melbourne and an important mentor for me.  This now reminds me that Alf John was the man who had lent Mark and I the deposit for our very first home in Essendon, Melbourne.  He demanded that we paid back the money with no interest and we dutifully do so with much gratitude for having given us both the opportunity to buy a home.  The house was a very old Californian bungalow styled home, needed everything done to it which we did get to do over time.  We spent our first 13 years of family life in this home.

I so much love this photo of the both of my children.  It brings back memories of a very good time in our family’s life.  Whilst bringing up a young family wasn’t always easy, it was one of the most important roles I have had in my life.  I didn’t always do the best job of being a mother, but I always loved both my children with every bit of my heart and soul and still do today.  Kelly has grown into just an amazing young woman, a fine human being and my son sadly…well Ben is not with us in this world but is always in my heart…my beautiful boy Ben.

Written by ©Karen Robinson – March 2016

 

  • Title:  “When I was 10…”

When I was 10 – life was difficult, but let me think more about my childhood adventures instead.  I was the oldest of three children. I had a younger sister by 3 years and a young brother by 4 years. It was my job, most days, to look after us all, whilst mum worked and dad … well he would work sometimes, and mostly drink other times, and sometimes – both at the same time, but enough about dad.

The three of us children, would take ourselves off into the tropical rain forests and along the Bay’s esplanade for walkabouts.  These times became the sum of our childhood adventures!  We would swim in the crystal clear creeks that were refreshed daily by out bursts of torrential rain. When the creeks were still and quite, we would study the clear water and search for small fishes, tadpoles and look for tiny specks of sparkling gold dust at the bottom of creek beds. We would stalk blue mountain butterflies, as they fed on showy tropical flowers, within the neighbourhoods’ green lush gardens.

Sometimes, we would look for mango trees to climb and retrieve Mangos to help satisfy our hunger and other times, we would search for the freshest coconuts that lay at random beneath the numerous coconut palm trees within the region.  It would take us hours and hours to remove the outer hard dark-brown hairy husk casing of a coconut, but all seemed to be worth the effort, once we had reached its inner sanctum of creamy white coconut flesh and opaque coconut water.

We would walk along the Bay’s esplanade and collect the sour-sweet fruit pods that had fallen from the shore line Tamarind trees, onto the ground – then sit on the wall, looking out over the bay, whilst we suck on the sour-sweet fruit seeds.  At low tide, we would venture out onto the Bay’s shore edge, which did not consist of sands, but of a mud flat. Each step we would take – would have our feet and legs sinking into squishy, soft and sometimes smelly mud. Many small soldier crabs lived on these mudflats, and would run for cover, upon the sight of us three small children.

There were other times, where we would take retreat from the burning hot sun, under the shade of Frangipani trees where we cooled down and rested our tired little legs.  We would collect the fallen perfumed scented Frangipani flowers that lay beneath these trees and string them together and hang them around our necks or my sister and I would place them in our long hair. 

Stray dogs always seemed to become our friends and we would often have to tell them, to go back home and stop following us – perhaps they too were looking for adventures. We were always on the hunt for fresh water to drink and over time we grew to know where every fresh water tap was within our walkabout region, where every fruit tree was with available fruits to pick as needed, whether on public land or in private gardens, to us there was no difference, all land was our playground, awaiting for our arrival to explore.

These days would end in the inevitable journey back home, where our tired bodies found baths to wash away a day’s play; and with sleep ahead to prepare us for the next day’s walkabout adventures. This is how it should have been, but many times, the thought of returning home was full of trepidation, as we would never know, in what condition, we would find our father. Would he be there, better if he was not! If he was there, would he be drunk and angry; fearsome and scary? Would we be able to avoid – his tirade of imposing drunken rampage?…

As I said at the beginning of this little story, our lives as children was difficult but I do remember my childhood walkabout adventures with my younger sister and brother with much fondness. I know that these times for sure, were the birthplace of my love and respect for nature …”

Written by ©Karen Robinson – June 2015

 

  • Title:  “Laughing At Mother – A Teenager’s View Of Humour!

I remember a particular time as a teenager when my mother was having a very serious argument with me. We were screaming at each other – it was full on verbal abuse towards one another at its worst. I cannot remember the details of this tirade of back and forth abusive communication we were engaging in, but I can remember what brought it to an end. My mother was screaming furiously when all of a sudden her top false teeth came flying out of her mouth! At first we were both astonished and wondered what had just happened. Then when I realised that my mother’s false teeth had flown out of her mouth whilst she had been berating me – I just burst out laughing as it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. As a teenager this was a wonderful end to what had been a very serious encounter with my mother. My mother did not see the funny side of this event and collected her false teeth from where they had landed, but for me, as a teenager, this too just seemed to be even funnier. It was one of the very rare times when my mother seemed defeated and in some way sorrowful but my teenage sense of humour just enjoyed the event too much. One for daughter and nil for mother – a teenager’s view!

Written by © Karen Robinson – August 2015

 

  • Title:  “My Very First Memory Of Art…”

Art was a part of my childhood life and it was my father whom painted in oils.  There were numerous paintings throughout our home of a nude woman whom I came to learn many years on – was my mother.  These art works were never on walls, as we as a family moved many, many times up and down the eastern coast of Australia.  My father used to also have a subscription to an art magazine which I enjoyed going through and examining all the difference paintings and creative works; I remember being fascinated by these art journals. There were times my mother would round us three children up and with my father, we would visit art galleries, usually not the large imposing national and state galleries but the smaller and intimate ones featuring ambitious and creative artists, hoping to make a name for themselves, hoping to pay the rent for the next month – I would think.  Art represented in our lives, in my life as a child, the struggles of my father, his alcoholism, his frightening inner tumultuous self that in turn was used as a weapon upon his family.  I remember a night, in a fierce rage, my father smashed all of his paintings – I don’t remember him returning back to painting after that episode.  As a child, I enjoyed art and was always doodling great patterns in class and drawing whenever I had a chance.  I didn’t take up art in my early adulthood but I have now found myself returning back to a joy I had experienced as a small child, art for therapy I feel…

Written by ©Karen Robinson _ August 2015

 

  • Title:  “Not A Game But A Real Necessity…”

Solitaire – it’s a card game you play alone!  It’s when you have decided to be alone, the sometimes most enjoyable times when being alone can be just blissful.  When there is no need to satisfy someone else’s needs or wants.  When there is a silence that brings a sense of peacefulness within… and the chatter in the brain winds down to a quiet hum.  It can be a time to recharge the inner child so that the adult can function properly instead of being an out of control beast.  Yes, Solitaire…not a game but a real necessity!  And when this Solitaire, this game of being alone comes to an end, it presents a time to reunite with daily life – refreshed, renewed and enabling oneself to throw one’s arms around life once again… with gusto!

Written by © Karen Robinson – October 2015

 

  • Title:  “Beautiful Other…”

You are long and sleek and there’s a fine wick running through your centre, holding together a delicate array of very fine feathers.  You stare back at me, in a sophisticated way, dressed in blacks, dark midnight navies and soft sky blue colours.  At your very tip, there is a white colour which looks like you have stopped short of being finished.  I image you, in your wing, in flight, soaring up into fluffy white clouds and then gliding down, down, down towards the open field looking for pray.

I now image you heading back towards your shelter, as the dark thunderous clouds trample across the sky, in readiness to open up and let free winter rains from its pregnant clouds.  It’s now midnight, and I know the darkness has caused you to rest in one of your caves of choice.  Where you are safe and secure, where you rest your tired and weary wings and dream of the next day’s flying adventures.

Night has past and the sun is now raising and there is a column of sunlight reaching into your cave and alerting your awareness that it’s time to awake.  You open and stretch out your wings with a vigor that signals that you are strong and ready for what is ahead in your day.  A gentle breeze enters the cave, and you give flight and drift towards the cave opening and out into a chilly but beautiful dawn.

In your sight there comes another, just like you and you head towards this beautiful other with a sense of anticipation, a sense that this is the one. With little acknowledgment you fly off together out into the breathtakingly blue skies and up, up, up towards the heavens…

Written by © Karen Robinson – October 2015

 

  • Title:  “Listening To His Voice…”

As I listened to my husband’s voice over the telephone, I could sense how he was feeling.  The ability to do this comes from being married to this man for over 35 years, which has given me a knowing that can only be achieved by sharing one’s life with another, in an intimate and personal way.

There is a sign of tiredness, a slow tempo in his voice that tells me, things are not good with his brother.  I listen with care, waiting for the right moment to ask “and how is he” and my husband’s response is “not good”.  “He got back his blood results today and it is not hopeful” he adds.  My husband’s voice then trails off into a silence.  It means that the chemotherapy tablets his brother was taking as a last resort, in an attempt to live – are now not working.  This means that his brother, partner and doctors will need to look, to see if there is anything else his brother can take instead, that may extend his time – here in our world.  Without hearing my husband say anything else, I know it means there will be little else that can be done.  The cancer is at a point, where it will slowly grasp the last bit of life from his brother’s body and soul.

We tried to finish up our telephone call on a cheery note.  My husband’s voice still sounding sorrowful and sad as he proceeded to tell me that – they’re off now to see his brother’s neighbours, so that they could share the lady-finger bananas that he and his brother had just the day before, cut down from the banana tree that stand tall within his brother’s beautiful tropical garden paradise.  I let him go back to being with his brother, back to sharing precious moments, back to creating memories that will survive past his brother’s living presence and that would be stored away in my husband’s memory of his brother, to be hopefully shared with future generations of family to come.

I hang up the phone and are now left with the thoughts about my own journey that I had during my husband’s cancer fight.  My mind meanders through memories of how hard it was during my husband’s time of chemotherapy, during his recovery – painful and distressing.  I am so thankful that he survived, that he is still here with me now – my dear sweet husband.

Written by © Karen Robinson – April 2016

 

  • Title:  “Crying Roses…”

It’s raining and the roses look like they are crying,

Perhaps they know we are here amongst the ones, who were once dying,

Both my husband and I stop and sit in silence,

Thinking about our loss and leaning on one another with great reliance,

It’s been 6 years now since the passing of our son,

We often think why, why did he have to be the one,

It’s now time to stand and walk a little amongst the rain drenched roses,

And I seek my dear husband’s guide to do some poses,

For each year we make this pilgrimage to remember,

And always on the 5th of November,

A coffee and cake we share,

Where conversation is mostly spare,

Then it’s back home and a chat with our daughter,

The one we now look towards, in our family, to be the mortar…

How precious she is to us,

And our endless love will always be a must…

Written by © Karen Robinson – November 2015

 

  • Title:  “Something I Am Proud About…”

Proud – meaning ‘feeling pleased and satisfied about having done something or about owning something’!

I think one of the things in my life, that I have personally done, which makes me feel that I should be very proud of, is my volunteering with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.  Being a RTSSV volunteer speaker has helped give meaning and purpose in my life after the death of my 25-year-old son Ben, who was killed in a single vehicle car crash in 2009.  Telling my family’s road trauma story to Road Trauma Awareness Seminar participants, helps to give these young and not so young people an opportunity to rethink their risky driver behaviour.  It is remarkable, the impact this has on participants.  And as a volunteer speaker, you know that what you have told them is going to save lives, help reduce serious injury and lessen the ripple effect of road trauma on family, friends and the wider community.  It’s something I don’t do for me, but I have definitely benefited from, in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated when I first started volunteer speaking back in March 2011.  It’s important, it has helped me reconnect with the wider world, it has added value to my daily life and it has made me a better person.  It is also an act of courage, it is humbling, it is sometimes very sad and sometimes difficult, but most of all, it’s the most, worthy task that I do right now in my life.

Written by ©Karen Robinson – November 2015

 

CONCLUSION

Looking back from where I began in 2014 to now, I am so grateful for all that I have been able to learn about myself and learn about how to take care of me, so in turn I can take care of those whom are nearest and dearest to me…

My Art Therapy and Creative Writing Therapy Sessions have now come to an end with Mind Australia.  I have been so fortunate to have had this opportunity to be part of these two therapy groups and have been able to meet an amazing group of people whom I have grown to admire and respect. But is time for me now to leave the security of this group to take on new adventures. Thank you Gillian Scaduto for extending to me the invitation to do art therapy and creative writing with Mind Australia and thank you to our two facilitators Vicky Nicholls and Judy Bird whom have been just so supportive within their facilitation roles. I will not forget my time with you all…

 

Karen Robinson (me) & Judy Bird - Mind Australia Creative Writing Facilitator during Creative Writing Session Northcote Townhall 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

Karen Robinson (me) & Judy Bird – Mind Australia Creative Writing Facilitator during Creative Writing Session Northcote Townhall 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.76 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.76 Karen Robinson (me) as a participant and Gillian Scaduto as Mind Australia Art Therapy & Creative Writing co-facilitator featuring our ‘Altered Books’ which we had created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

© Karen Robinson – May 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – “Thinking of Mother” written by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

2 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled 'Thinking of Mother' NB All images are protected by copyright laws

2 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled ‘Thinking of Mother’.  This is a photo of my mother when she was a very young woman and the baby is me – Karen Robinson.  NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Whilst my creative writing group has been disbanded for now, I am still keeping up with my creative writing efforts – my creative writing facilitator would be pleased!  Upon thinking about what mother’s day is all about, about how I am as a mother myself and about how my mother was as a mother for me, I wrote this creative writing piece title “Thinking Of Mother”.

 

MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 

Title:  “Thinking Of Mother”

It’s hard to think about my mother in a totally positive way, when on Mothers’ Day this is exactly what a child is meant to do!  My sister, brother and I grew up in a sadly dysfunctional family.  But for the purposes of thinking about the fact that it is mothers’ day, I really want to just consider some of the best of my mother, and it will be hard to do this without looking at some of the worst of my childhood life.

Mother was born in a rural country town NSW Australia, one of three girls.  My understanding of my mother’s life is regretfully poorly formulated.  We were estranged for many years during my adult life; during a time when I had started my own family and became a mother myself.  We only got to reunite for a 6-month period before she died of cancer on March 2, 1998. It was a dreadfully sad and painful time, with much left unsaid; and a parting of ways through her death that left many of my childhood questions unanswered.

During my mother’s childhood, I believe my mother was raised by nuns, as her own mother died when she was a very small child and her father was a soldier in World War II.  This meant there was no one willing and/or able to care for my mother and her two older sisters, hence being raised by nuns.  This upbringing left wounds that never seemed to heal and I remember my mother saying to me on different occasions during my childhood, that at times the nuns were cruel, that she had never learned how to be a mother, that she had to teach herself.  On reflection, this seemed to be some sort of excuse my mother would utter, when she felt she had got the act of mothering all wrong.  In her defense, I always remember her as being a very hard worker and she ended up being the main ‘bread winner’ for our family for most of our childhood.  Our father, the man she married and stayed married to for all of our childhood lives, and literally for ‘better or worse’ was a man who was deeply troubled.  He developed into an alcoholic, very early in their marriage and became a brutal man to both my mother and to each of us as children, with my brother experiencing the worst of what he had to offer.  I remember many times being terrified during my father’s drunken outbursts and furious rage.

But back to the memory of my mother, she was a beautiful, attractive woman and I remember her mostly – as a kind person.  During my very early childhood, mum would make our clothes and I remember wearing very pretty dresses on special occasions with pride, she was very creative and most resourceful.  On one occasion, I remember she had made my sister and I a new dress each out of the old curtains that had once hang from the lounge room window.  I also remember her being a very good cook, although I don’t believe she started off being able to cook, this skill was developed out of necessity and it ended up being one of her professions during her later working years.  Life was not easy for my mother for sure, as it was a time in history, during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s when family domestic violence was considered a family matter, and a wife in those days, was required to ‘put up and shut up’ about any such matters.  A time, when if a woman went to the police seeking protection from their brutal husband, they would be turned away being told that it was a family matter and go and sort it out with your husband – the very person serving out the domestic violence.  It was also a time where there was little to no support for a woman with small children and particularly if they decided to leave their husband.  My mother did leave my father on one occasion.  She packed up the little Volkswagen car one afternoon with as much worldly possessions as she could, along with us three small children and off we went.  On that particular night, I remember as a small child and the eldest of the three of us – we stopped and stayed in a rental caravan which leaked as it rained on that night. For dinner we had bread and jam and I remember thinking at the time that things must be really bad if that’s all we got for tea.  Mum was sad and desperate and brave. As I said before, it was a time in history when it was a very socially unacceptable thing to do – leave your husband, it was considered almost shameful, no matter what was happening in the home.

As time went on during this part of our lives, it became too difficult for my mother on her own rearing us three small children, trying to put a roof over our heads, cloths on our backs, food in our bellies, send us to school, keep us healthy and paid all the bills.   And then the breaking point came, I remember, my mother read out a letter from my father to me, perhaps not the whole letter, I cannot remember, but a letter that begged us to all return with many promises to change his ways and so it was – we set back to my father after he had tracked her down and persuaded my mother to return.  Sadly – this was a dreadful mistake, but I try to remind myself, that she was a woman on her own, with three small children, no family support, no government support, low wages – it must have been very hard for her; it was for us three small children as I remember it.  Perhaps, if it was in today’s time, where women can gain some sort of support, things may have hopefully been different, she could have made better choices for herself, for her children.  This I have told myself throughout my adulthood life, so as to help me understand why my mother went back knowing that he, my father was an alcoholic brutal man.

So when thinking of mother on Mothers’ day, I can’t help thinking about what it means to be a mother.  It’s a hard job, and there is plenty of room for mistakes – poor judgements but there is also an opportunity to take these things learned and try to make good with the next generation of children; to hopefully be a better mother than one’s own.  To raise children that will love and remember us as mothers in a kindly way, to remember the best of us….

 

© Karen Robinson, May 2016

1 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled 'Thinking of Mother' NB All images are protected by copyright laws

1 of 2 Creative Writing by Karen Robinson Titled ‘Thinking of Mother’.  This was my mother in her forties I believe.  A photo taken when she was on a holiday overseas and after separating from her husband, my father.  She looks happy in this photo. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

CONCLUSION

This Mothers’ Day for me, was spent with my dear sweet daughter, my husband, my daughter’s husband and his parents and his brother.  We had a lovely lunch and time together.  My daughter gave me a Mothers’ Day card with words she had particularly written herself and was keen to make sure I knew that as she knows that words are important to me.  This is what she wrote:

Thanks for everything you are…

Thanks for everything you do…

Thanks for always being there…

Love always and forever…

Thank you beautiful daughter for your loving words!  It was also a little difficult on this day and any given Mothers’ Day since 2009 – because my son, my daughter’s brother – is not with us anymore, so Mothers’ Day can be happy and sad, both at the same time.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, May 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Creative Writing – “When A Good Laugh Is Important!” written by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia - Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia – Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!. JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Our creative writing sessions have now come to an end.  This week we said our farewells to each other with the hope that in the future sometime, we may catch-up informally to talk about what’s been happening in our lives.  It’s somewhat sad but a necessary important part of our creative writing therapy.  Now is the time we take what we have learned about ourselves through our creative writing efforts, and put this new knowledge to good use.  Whether it be the practice of continued creative writing efforts and/or embarking on another kind of creative therapy, we know we are now in a better place than when we first started, and now better skilled to deal with what’s ahead.

 

WHEN A GOOD LAUGH IS IMPORTANT!

It was important during our very last creative writing session that we attempt to engage in a sense of cheeriness.  Our creative writing facilitator had us write a piece that was to be about something that was our favourite thing about ourselves.  We had 10 minutes to write the piece and at the end of that 10 minutes we were then invited to share what we had written – if we wished.  What I love about these kind of creative writing exercises is this, you never know what is going to pop into your head and be translated into the written word.  I am also amazed and intrigued by what others write and share as well, how their stories vary and how imaginative they can be.  Sometimes, the group’s stories can be sad, sometimes our stories can be revealing and insightful, and at other times they can have us laughing unexpectedly – which is always welcomed!

I wrote a creative writing piece on this last day that did just that, had everyone laughing with delight and I must admit it gave me a great sense of pleasure knowing that I was able to achieve this, on this our very last day of creative writing with this extraordinary group of people.  Below is my creative writing piece that was based around the creative writing facilitator’s request “about something that was a favourite thing about ourselves” and I hope you find it humorous as well – remembering that a good laugh about one’s self can be important!  It is titled ‘Favourite Thing About Self’.

 

No. 1 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Self Portrait' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Self Portrait’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.  It was created by outlining the silhouette on my face and then using pastel and charcoal to create this image on paper.  It was done during the art therapy session itself. JPG



Title:  "Favourite Thing About Self"
  

My grey hair colour is perhaps my most favourite ‘self’ thing!

It’s the only thing that’s gotten better

as I have gotten older.




The nice perky boobs have diminished

and given way

to the over-ripe melons

that sag and sag.




My once-lovely flat belly

is now a memory overwritten

by a lumpy, bumpy hill

that does not flatten out when I lay down.

It just sits there reminding me

of my middle-aged spread.




My once-muscular legs

that used to attract all sorts of admiration

from both males and females,

a noticeable gift from my mother’s DNA,

are now always hidden away, under long pants, in shame.




My skin that used to be aglow

with good health

and good looks

has slipped away

secretly, quietly

– never to be found again.




And so it goes,

as it must --

all that was favourite

has been taken by that thief,

old age,

and I am now left with one thing in exchange for my youth --

my grey hair,

a favourite ‘self’ thing!




Oops, I forgot.

I do like my brain.

It’s been working, not better

but differently,

and I can see that it is going to help me

in my ripe, old age.




Good bye, good looks

and thank you, brain.




Prose Poem © Karen Robinson, April 2016

 

 

WHAT ADVICE I WOULD GIVE SOMEONE IN A SITUATION LIKE MYSELF

Before we were to finished up this particular session, our creative writing facilitator asked us to write one more creative writing piece.  This piece was to be about “what advice we would give someone in a situation like ourselves”.  In contrast to my writing piece above, this was a serious and thoughtful piece.

 

No. 2 – MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

 


Advice I would give someone in a situation like mine…

Keep looking forward 
when looking back is too hard to bear 
and look back 
when you are stronger.
 
Whilst the pain will still be there, 
it will have hopefully morphed 
into a bearable medium to work with
as time marches on and on.

Take a moment in each day
to look for something
that will bring you
 some kind of joy,
 
whether it be joy 
for just a moment
or joy
for a greater period of time.
 
In time, you will begin 
to reward yourself 
by looking for more and more 
joy in the everyday.

And after some considerable time
some of your days will be full of joy, 
and the sadness
will only come
when you invite it in.

Prose Poem © Karen Robinson - April 2016

 

 

CONCLUSION

Thank you to Judy Bird our creative writing facilitator, Gillian Scaduto our Mind Australia co-facilitator and our wonderful group members – I will never forget our time shared…

 

Art Therapy Session No. 2-'Silhouette Portrait' by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

Art Therapy Session No. 2-‘Silhouette Portrait’ by Karen Robinson Materials-acrylic paint on butcher paper August 7, 2014 photograph taken by Karen Robinson Images Copyright .JPG

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Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  Post-traumatic Growth – My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Book Review by Karen Robinson – “Wired to Create” Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregorie

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson - 'Wired to Create' Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire NB All images are protected by copyright laws

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson – ‘Wired to Create’ Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire.  Karen Robinson – being me spending time reading.  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

I have to confess, I am not and have not ever been a big reader.  During my turbulent childhood, reading was just not at the top of the list of important things to worry about.  Throughout my adulthood, it has proven to be a great failing of mine, and I wish I had learned the love of reading books in my earlier life.  So what I am hoping to do here within my blog is to take up reading books in relation to art therapy and creative writing therapy and sharing my thoughts about such books.

 

WIRED TO CREATE

After searching the internet, I came across this book titled Wired to Create.  The title captured my imagination firstly, and then it was its – book review and the qualitative authors, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire that final sold me on purchasing the book to read.

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD “is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  Carolyn Gregoire “is a senior writer at the Huffington Post, where she reports on psychology, mental health, and TEDx and the Harvard Public Health Forum, and has appeared on MSNBC, the Today show, the History Channel, and Huffpost Live” (S.B. Kaufman/C.Gregoire 2015). 

 

BOOK TRAILER VIDEO OF SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN

 

 

MY BOOK REVIEW OF ‘WIRED TO CREATE’ & PERSONAL INSIGHTS

The Wired to Create book explores the many faces of creativity through the habits and motivations of highly creative people; and what they do differently within areas of:  imaginative play, passion, daydreaming, solitude, intuition, openness to experience, mindfulness, sensitivity, turning adversity into advantage, and thinking differently (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).

At first I found Wired to Create a little hard to get into but within a number of pages turned, I was hooked.  It was an easy read and I felt myself being able to really grasp what was written.  There was much I personally could relate to, along with being able to experience science based new information about a subject matter that’s important to me.

 

 

Some of the notable things that I learned whilst reading this book, has been that creative people whom enjoy the process of their creativity, and feel a sense of control over it, show greater creativity, than those whom concentrate just on what the end result will accomplish (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This statement rings true for myself, as the process of painting, creative writing, photo-taking is very much part of my therapeutic journey overall, and the outcome just seems to be a place where I just stop and pause, in readiness to embark on the next project.  Reaching the end of a project is satisfying, but the process in getting there is far more significant and self-fulfilling. Part of this process demonstrates a state of mind describe as ‘flow’ which allows the creative person to be completely absorbed; to be deeply concentrating on the task at hand and in turn, there’s a sensation of time being lost (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This flow state of mind has played a very important part during my own art as therapy journey along side of my story telling for each painting I have painted.

NB:  Click here to view an Interesting Ted Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

The subject matter about post-traumatic growth was of great interest to me whilst reading this book. Wired to Create authors stated that “post-traumatic growth often leads people to see new possibilities in their lives, and one of those new possibility ties – may be an artistic hobby or an entirely new career that allows them to express their creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015). I found this to be true myself as I had taken up art and creative writing at times in my life where I most needed a way of coping with a series of major life crisis’ and traumatic events. Creativity formed an essential part of my post-traumatic growth. It lead me to experiencing a better sense of well-being and improved my life in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

NB: Click here to read about a blog I wrote about attending a Regional Arts Workshop where the subject was around ‘post-traumatic growth’

 

CONCLUSION

Highly recommend Wired to Create as a read for those interested in what creativity is and how the creative mind works/evolves and how important that we be supportive of those that choose to be creative.  That unlocking our creative self, is not just a benefit to ourselves as creators, it also benefits those whom are viewers/users of such creativity.  It also benefits humanity at large and the Wired to Create authors help to substantiate that proposition within their book.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art & Creative Writing Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson