14/09/2013

Can words heal?


Last weekend, Cape Town was treated to the Open Book Festival.  What a remarkable occasion.  The event has many sponsors but is largely organized by the Book Lounge.  I went to several sessions and, amongst others,  thoroughly enjoyed the engaging presentations of Ian Rankin, Marianne Tham, Damien Brown, Helen Zille, Mamphela Ramphele and her son.

The first event, chaired by Dawn Garrisch, had the title "Poetica: pen as a sword: can poetry be used to bring about social change".  On the panel was Malika Ndlovu, Adrian van Wyk and Clinton Osbourne.  Between them, they have been involved in many projects.

Malika's personal mantra is "healing through creativity".  She is a performanace poet and gave extraordinary renditions of some of her work. We are all Spirits having a bodily experience, not bodies having a spiritual one, she said. Adrian van Wyk is involved in the Stellenbosch University literary project.  I wished I had taken my boys to listen to his rap poetry.  Clinton Osbourne is involved with a project encouraging prisoners to express themselves through creative writing, and in the creative writing find some inner release.

Dawn Garrisch is a GP and based  in Cape Town.  She has published novels, books about the body and poetry.  She believes the power of writing can be used to restore/maintain mental health.

Many women are using creativity to come to terms with their diagnosis of breast cancer.  Some have painted (and given me lovely pictures), some have written blogs/diaries. Bev Rycroft, wrote a book of poems called "Missing" about her journey through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Having had breast cancer, did you write creatively about your experience?  Did it help you with the healing process?  Please share your stories and poems with us, your metaphor as medicine.

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