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 Therapy Group Session Two – July 2015 “Starry Night…” by Karen Robinson

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

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our second group art therapy session and consisted of four individual exercises.  Here within this weblog, I have included two – one I have named “Starry Night” and the other “Brave”.

 

EXERCISE 1 – “Starry Night” 

 

Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh's 'Starry Night' Painting 1889 - Oil on Canvas. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Remy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. It is regarded as amoung Van Gogh's finest works (Wikipedia 2015)

Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ Painting 1889 – Oil on Canvas. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Remy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. It is regarded as among Van Gogh’s finest works (Wikipedia 2015)

 

For our first art for therapy exercise for this session, we were given a small rectangle piece of paper, featuring a copy of a small portion of the Dutch artist – Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting titled ‘Starry Night’ 1889.  With our individual particular image portion of his painting, we were asked to do our interpretation of it, within a 20 minute period of time.  There were no restrictions, except for the time frame! At the end of our personal creative efforts of producing our own ‘Starry Night’, we were asked to place them on the wall in the sequence that would represent, the original painting (original painting image shown above).  I had the section of painting that consisted of the chapel in the background surrounded with small homes in the foreground.  It was interesting to see how each of us had interrupted the instructions and how each participant had created their own personal work of art.  Most participants indicated that the exercise was a very relaxing experience and for me a good way to start the art therapy session for the day.  Below please find my efforts…

 

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 'Starry Night' Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 ‘Starry Night’ Oil Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

 

On my return home, I couldn’t help but do some research on the life and works of Vincent van Gogh and enjoyed watching the following tv documentary published 26th January 2015.

 

 

I also found this interesting YouTube where modern-day technology meets 1889 Vincent van Gogh and shows another approach to artistic application.

 

 

This video below was forwarded onto me by a of my followers and offers  –

The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – Natalya St. Clair Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work.  Lesson by Natalya St. Clair, animation by Avi Ofer

 

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Brave”

Our second art therapy exercise for the session involved creating an art work that reflected what others say is a good quality within ourselves.  I have to confess that I found it difficult to come up with what others say, perhaps it’s because I don’t listen for these comments, don’t seek them out but I was able to record what is said to me when I do my volunteer speaking to repeat road traffic offenders at Road Trauma Awareness Seminars (RTAS) when I tell my family road trauma story.  Often these RTAS participants come to me after the end of the seminars and tell me how brave I am to do what I do which is what many other volunteers do as well with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.

Karen Robinson - RTAS Volunteer Speaker Presenting her family's road trauma story at Werribee RTAS July 2015 Photo No. 2.JPG

Karen Robinson – RTAS Volunteer Speaker Presenting her family’s road trauma story at Werribee RTAS July 2015 Photo No. 2.JPG

I stated to the art therapist facilitator that I don’t feel brave and I noted for myself this to be an interesting statement.  It was something that others had discovered as well, that we don’t often see what others see in ourselves.  That the person we show on the outside can be in conflict with what is going on within ourselves – this was an interesting reflection and shows how art for therapy can raise questions that are worthy of examination.  Some of us reflected on our thoughts during the group art therapy session and others, for sure will be reflecting further at a time which allows for some soul-searching.

 

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 'Starry Night' Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 ‘Starry Night’ Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

We completed a couple more exercises and then packed up at the completion of the art therapy session.   We headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 2015“, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session.  I hope you will understand.

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

Creative Writing Group Session 6 of 6 – “Pools of Strength…”

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No. 1 Creative Writing Session 6 & Abstract Painting 'Pools of Strength' Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 6 & Abstract Painting ‘Pools of Strength’ Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

INTRODUCTION

We have arrived at our last session of creative writing and it is a cheerful gathering of participants.  It was time to take a moment out to reflect on our creative writing efforts; and to appreciate friendships formed around the interesting, honest and deeply personal accounts of our shared creative writing efforts.  To also be thankful that we had the generous support of the organisation that had supplied us with our creative writing facilitator and support facilitator – such good people.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

Our homework that we presented here at this last session, was to be based around 3 separate moments within the week prior, that we thought we required strength of mind.  I didn’t think that I was going to have anything within a week to write about but upon reflection, I found small pockets of time, where I found myself looking for a personal strength and I wrote the following short essays on the said:

Title:  Pools of Strength I – The Family Pet Jessie

“I found myself believing, I was going to require some strength, when my husband told me he was going to be taking our beloved family dog Jessie to the vet; as we had found another lump, this time on his leg. Jessie is an old dog now, but is in good shape considering his age. Sometimes I think – I wish I was in, as good a shape as he! Our dog has lumps on his body and we have been told, in the past, by our vet, that there is nothing to worry about, just fatty tissue deposits. But now there is this new lump on Jessie’s leg which the vet had indicated he is concerned about and needed to take a sample for testing. So I was preparing myself for bad news from my husband on his return home from the vet with Jessie on this day. Thankfully – all is OK and it is just another fatty deposit which means our beloved family pet – Jessie will be with us more…”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

Title:  Pools of Strength II – Sisterly Concern

“Just yesterday, and just another day in a week, a dear friend called me and once again I could detect anxiety in her voice. Each time I hear this, I find myself having to draw on my reserves of strength, in order that I can be a good friend and be able to support her in such a way that she will feel less anxiety, more hopefulness after each of our conversations. I will see her again this coming week, which has become a ritual over the past few months; as I have found it seems to be giving her a counter balance to the rest of her week. Just when I think she has reached her tipping point of despair, a good conversation seems to pull her back to a more balanced mindset. I worry that one day, I will not be there to help her… but for now, I reach for my strength… to help her be strong… when she needs to be better for herself.”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

Title:  Pools of Strength II – A Worthy Task

“On Monday night of this week, I told my family’s road trauma story to repeat road traffic offenders, whom have been sent by the Magistrates courts as part of their sentencing requirements. This task I do once a month mostly and requires of me some strength. When I hear about these participants’ risky driver behaviour, about how they have been putting themselves and others at risk on our roads, it becomes clear to me that by hearing my story will hopefully give them the strength they need to make better choices about their risky driver behaviour. I leave behind on these nights, a sense that a worthy task has been achieved and I return home to regain my strength for the next time it will be called upon.”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work and is featured below titled ‘Pools of Strength’. They are not ‘master pieces’ but are an important part of a therapeutic process that I enjoy and helps complete my art for therapy journey after each creative writing group session.

CONCLUSION

Once again, after our creative writing session, we headed off to the local restaurant to share a meal together and engage in good conversation – such a wonderful privilege…

Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1,2,3,4 & 5 Creative Writing Group Sessions:

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Creative Writing Group”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session.  I hope you will understand.

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

Creative Writing Group Session 4 of 6 – “A Time to Remember…”

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

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 4 'A Time to Remember' Acrylic Paint A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images protected by copyright law.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 4 ‘A Time to Remember’ Acrylic Paint A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images protected by copyright law.JPG

INTRODUCTION

Acreative writing participants, we are now just past mid way through our journey within this group.  It has been an interesting process so far – learning about what sort of writers each of us are and how much we differ in our writing approaches.  What has been most interesting, is hearing each other’s writing voices through the sharing of our stories each week.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

For our last week’s homework creative writing piece, we were asked to write about ‘words that have helped ourselves get through something‘. After some reflection, I wrote about the words I found to help me through my greatest loss – the death of my son Ben.  I called it  ‘A Time to Remember’.

Title:  A Time to Remember...

“There was a time in my life, where there were no words that could help me after the loss of my son Ben, who was killed in a single vehicle car crash on the 5th November 2009, at the age of 25. I found myself searching for some way to be able to want to move forward, to find meaning and purpose in my life, to find some small measure of joy in every day.

No. 19 Creative Writing Session 3 - 'A Time to Remember' Ben James Robinson 16.11.1983 - 5.11.2009 Photo taken by Karen Robinson NB all images are protected.jpg

No. 19 Creative Writing Session 3 – ‘A Time to Remember’ Ben James Robinson 16.11.1983 – 5.11.2009 Photo taken by Karen Robinson NB all images are protected by copyright laws.jpg

In early 2010, I had decided to do volunteer speaking with an organisation that uses volunteer speakers, to tell their family’s road trauma story to repeat road traffic offenders, in the hope that by hearing the volunteer speaker’s personal story, their words, would help these drivers to rethink about their risky driver behaviour.

It was at this time, I wrote my family’s road trauma story. I remember getting started and setting out to put my thoughts into words, in preparation of my ‘Road Trauma Awareness’ presentation to come. It was a very painful process, deeply personal, confronting, distressing, physically draining and mentally both challenging and depressing. I found myself swallowed up in tears and full of sorrow. Over time – I wrote, rewrote and rewrote again, as it became a sort of dialogue with me and the memory of my son; a way to look over how and why he had been killed. It also became a defining reality that Ben, my son was not ever going to return, that his death was the end of my real life relationship with him as his mother. My heart was broken and I didn’t know how I was going to fix it…

Most months, since then, I tell my family’s road trauma story. I read these precious words about his life, the cause of his death, his memory – to other mothers’ sons, hoping that by sharing my words, sharing my family’s story will save lives and reduce serious injury caused by road trauma; caused by risky driver behaviour…

It has been five years now, since Ben’s death, and it was on the 5th November this month, another anniversary of his death, that my husband, my daughter and I visited Fawkner Memorial Park, where Ben’s ashes have been placed. Each year, I look at his plague where our carefully chosen words read –

“In loving memory of Ben James Robinson
16th November 1983 – 5th November 2009
Loved Son of Mark and Karen Robinson
Loved brother of Kelly Robinson
Loved Grandson, Nephew, Cousin and Friend
Taken too soon…our beautiful boy Ben…forever in our hearts…forever remembered…forever missed…”

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 3 - 'A time to Remember' Photographed by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 3 – ‘A time to Remember’ Photographed by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

Fawkner Memorial Park is beautiful at this time of the year with all its carefully manicured roses standing at attention; almost as if it was a respectful recognition of our presence.. Their scented, showy blooms and wonderful array of colour is a source of comfort to us. Whilst the day is a sad and difficult day, it has become a day we make this pilgrimage to visit Ben’s memorial within this strangely beautiful scene.  A brilliant blue sky hangs over us, like a protective blanket; the sun gently warms our bodies as we take some time out to think about our Ben.  It was his birth day on Sunday, the 16th of this month. He would have been… 31…”

Written 25/11/2014 by Karen Robinson in loving memory of Ben…my son 16th November 1983 – 5th November 2009 – ‘Copyright’ Protected

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING PHOTO-TAKING

I am an avid photo-taker and have realised over many years now, that photo-taking has given me an opportunity to record important family events and moments that other wise would be lost in my memory archives, as I age.  Taking photos ensures I have a picture story to forward onto my family’s future generations.  There have been many, many happy moments captured in this manner.  So it is not a surprise that I would also capture moments my family share, when we do our yearly pilgrimage to Fawkner Memorial Park; to take moments out to think about our Ben.

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work and is featured below titled ‘A Time to Remember’. They are not ‘master pieces’ but are an important part of a therapeutic process that I enjoy and helps complete my art for therapy journey after each creative writing group session.

CONCLUSION

Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1,2 & 3 Creative Writing Group Sessions:

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Creative Writing Group”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session.  I hope you will understand.

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