Saturday, 26 March 2022

Noren Haq Water Story 26th Febrary 2022

Noren’s session was a gift for our hardworking writers with some sound advice to some of the shining stars who are heading into the rough waters of the publishing world. She focused on her experience of three common problems that writers face:
  • the pressure to write perfectly
  • lack of confidence
  • isolation that often makes writing more daunting.

"Finding a writing community is vital to keep you going when things get difficult. There are many ways of doing this via writing groups and events." Here are some links offering advice and support that Noren has found helpful during her writing journey:

Screenwriter Sarah Dollard on writing:

"Write. Write every day, in one way or another. If you don’t love writing, then choose another dream. Sometimes writing is hard. Sometimes it’s the worst and you hate it and you hate yourself, and you think you should probably stop for the good of all humanity and maybe make cabinets instead because at least cabinets are useful. Those feelings are normal, don’t worry. But if you go through all that guff and still wake up the next day and love writing all over again, then you’re a writer. Congratulations/commiserations."

Glasgow Women’s Library is an amazing place that provides generous support to writers. Here’s a link to their events and learning opportunities page:

Writing a play? Find support at:

NaNoWriMo is a wonderful thing to help and encourage you to get your novel written:

Twitter is a brilliant place to connect with other writers and find new opportunities, competitions and mentorship programmes. It is also a great place for joining in writing prompts. 
The following writing prompts used in the session were taken from @MirandaKeeling

1) Man on the bus: I’ve just missed my stop. What an idiot.
Woman: That’s nothing. I once got off the plane in the wrong country.

2) Woman in a bar: The restaurant sacked me today.
Man: Why?
Woman: I dropped a pizza. Face down. From a spiral staircase. Onto a bald man’s head.

3) A green-coat-wearing woman at a bus stop shoots an imaginary, two-fingered gun, twirls it and puts it back into an imaginary holster.

‘where’s ma pizza’
by Kay Ritchie

my stomach cramps
my head thumps
rap   reggae   hip hop
as I hop over handbags
negotiate chairs
answer cheek
then this idiot
bald as a coot
hoots up the stairs
‘where the fuck’s ma pizza’
and his table cheer & 
I think ‘spill a beer down his front’
instead, before I even get there
I’ve tripped   ripped my shoe &
tipped a pizza   
down the spiral stair
down onto his head
where there once grew hair &
I can’t repeat what he said
or what I said
but all I know is 
I’m now unemployed
my stomach still cramps &
my head still thumps

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Lorna Hill Water Story 12th February 2022

Lorna's session today was a memorable lesson in self care that cast us into the weekend on a warm sea of calm. Her RAW method calls us to

Read     Assess and be Aware     Write

Here prompt for the writing session was: 
Write about something you want to do 
and describe what it is and how it makes you feel

She drew on the wisdom of Mexican healer and poet Maria Sabina who would, I believe, have thoroughly approved:  

You are the medicine

Cure yourself with the light of the sun and the rays of the moon.
With the sound of the river and the waterfall.
With the swaying of the sea and the fluttering of birds.

Heal yourself with mint, with neem and eucalyptus.

Sweeten yourself with lavender, rosemary, and chamomile.

Hug yourself with the cocoa bean and a touch of cinnamon.

Put love in tea instead of sugar, and take it looking at the stars.

Heal yourself with the kisses that the wind gives you and the hugs of the rain.

Get strong with bare feet on the ground and with everything that is born from it.

Get smarter every day by listening to your intuition, looking at the world with the eye of your forehead.

Jump, dance, sing, so that you live happier.

Heal yourself, with beautiful love, and always remember: you are the medicine.

You can find more of this "Hot Soul Soup" and the Caribbean Housewife



Among the sharing and feedback today there were some several recommendations:

Lynnda: Am listening to a wonderful book by Irish author Sinead Gleeson - 'Constellations'  Essays about the body - her experience of chronic pain, giving birth, cutting hair, having cancer and this poem 

Doreen and Lynnda recommended free courses at WEA Scotland

And as Lorna's prompt took many of us out for a cycle Lynnda suggested that the more wobbly among us might benefit from Free Wheel North

All of our guests in this series are in the process of contributing to the Lapidus Scotland Toolkit; do feel free to use this free resource either for your own practice or in group work.


Thanks to you all ...

... for your heartening feedback as always!

Catrice: Good morning, everyone! 🌿🌷🌿🌳
Karen: Hello lovely people
Lorna Hill: Good morning Catrice!
Kay: good morning catrice    lovely to see you  kx
Catrice: Hi Jo!!!
Catrice: Sheila πŸ’š
Lynnda: Sounds like amazing therapy Sheila : )
Doreen: What do the A and W stand for in R.A.W. if R = Read? Please.
Lorna Hill: Read, Assess and aware and write
Lorna Hill: Write about something you want to do and describe what it is and how it makes you feel
Lorna Hill: Patricia let me know if this makes sense
Bev: nest in my chest!
Karen: That’s not depressing, it’s uplifting!
Lynnda: So good to have that experience and to have that feeling to hold onto Giovanna!
Doreen: I agree with Aileen
Bev: https: //
Catrice: Such peace Sheila.
Giovanna: “let the ashes of me loose” and how you continued the fire images in this
Lynnda: I want lose the parts of me that have done their job - such a powerful line
Bev Schofield: my head says no! diet, my tum says yum yum yum, between them my heart groans "oh good grief, not this again"
Lynnda: Am listening to a wonderful book by Irish author Sinead Gleeson - 'Constellations'  Essays about the body - her experience of chronic pain, giving birth, cutting hair, having cancer and this poem reminded me of these - such beautiful embodied writing
Catrice: Thank you, Lynnda.  I must check that out too.  Thanks for sharing this suggestion.
Doreen: I have just remember breakfast. Sorry
Lynnda: I love Aldis. Go in to buy carrots and come home with a cat play apparatus and I don't even have a cat!!
Catrice: Lol!
Giovanna: πŸ˜‚
Aileen Paterson: yeah I can't go to Aldi's for that reason
Giovanna: that’s the best bit!
Giovanna: “I want to switch off the past” ❤️
Giovanna: “I want to live like today is the only moment I have in this world”
Lynnda: I want to find Patricia, who I am and where I'm going - so powerful xx
Aileen Paterson: beautiful
Catrice: So beautiful.  Heartfelt.
Lynnda: I heard a manifesto too!
Lynnda: A declaration!
Bev Schofield: https: //
Lynnda: https: //
Doreen: I might want to share but I felt that I was too brave last time and my piece didn't fulfil Kenneth's task. Also I wrote for longer than 7 minutes this time, it just kept flowing.
Lynnda: So great! I have just recently re-discovered cycling!!
Lorna Hill: Great thanks Lynnda
Lynnda: https: //
Giovanna: So much generosity and loving observation of others in there Doreen, just beautiful. I hope you are able to give as much kindness to yourself in some way. ❤️
Karen: So heartfelt and moving. Thankyou for sharing x
Louise: Lovely gentle morning of self care in words and care for others in support - thank you Lorna
Lynnda: I loved the way they are shocked to be outside!!
Catrice: “Salt splashing my lips”. — Loved that line - Lesley!
Giovanna: “I want to just be me again, now” ❤️
Kay: what a wonderful session today   thankyou lorna and thankyou to everyone for sharing so generously   kx
Doreen: πŸ₯°
Giovanna: Huge thanks to Bev, Lorna, and everyone for the generosity, support and inspiration I’ve found here today. πŸ₯°
Sheila Buchanan: Thanks for everyone exposing truth and honesty and commonality of lives.
Doreen: Lovely Aileen. I feel so calm now
Giovanna: “earth scents and green things growing” another for the collection Aileen
Catrice: What an inspiring piece, Aileen.
Lorna Hill: https: //
Doreen: πŸ₯°
Lesley O'Brien: loved that Aileen..'trees beneath my fingertips' and the image of your cat curled up beside you. x
Patricia: Thank you for having me today. I really appreciate everyone and I want you all to know that I feel happy to be part of the amazing ladies. I am moved by everyone's story and you gave me a feeling I thought I lost for a long time. Thank you!
Lynnda: Such a healing poem … Thank you everyone - such an encouraging, uplifting session! I found hope and joy in this time with you all. Came into the room feeling a bit sad today but have cheered up considerably!! Thanks Lorna for holding the space so wonderfully well
Giovanna: It was wonderful to hear you Patricia, I hope to find you hear again
Jo Beth Gray: Thank you lorna and thank you everyone.
Yvonne: Thank you all for sharing - you’ve all given me the courage to share today and that has given me strength  love to all xxx
Jo: Thanks all, especially Bev and Lorna,
Doreen: Thank you
Karen: Wonderful morning. Thank you all so much πŸ’–
Sheila Buchanan: Thanks Lorna and everyone

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).


Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Kenneth Steven Water Story 29th Jan 2022

The gentle voice of Kenneth Steven led us through a winter morning. As storms battered the west coast of Scotland, winds of up to 80mph howling about our rooves, we sank ever more contemplatively into the minute detail of life, the simplicity of being.

From his poem "Winter Light" he prompted some timed writing with

writing through the dark

and what astonishing insights came out of the shared writing.

Huge thanks to Ken and our other facilitators will be contributing to the 
Please feel free to use the wealth of experience shared free on this website if you are ever gathering a group of writers.

You can keep abreast of Ken's publications at his website
The BBC regularly repeats episodes that he has made or contributed to and you can immerse yourself in Scotland (or the arctic!) with that voice any time by searching the BBC Sounds. Unfortunately the 
Something Understood: The Poetry of Healing episode is no longer available but try the link - I'm sure it will probably be available again as they are all regularly repeated.
NB: searching on Google, for "Kenneth Steven BBC" for example, will often yield more comprehensive results than searching on the BBC Sounds app or website - curious!


And now for some of 


inspired by Kenneth Steven’s Winter Light
by Kay Ritchie

still white headed
these black headed gulls cause chaos
their Busby Berkeley routines terrorise the swans

through the yellow-framed window 
by Kay Ritchie

through the yellow-framed window
I swipe-wipe memories
as if steam on my bathroom mirror
outside   thrawn
a temperamental storm thrashes branches
all leaves gone
a golden sodden bed    re-made
beneath stark trunks
and yet
grey clouds reveal blue sky &
I am given hope
as snow white snowdrops clump   sway &
promise brighter days

by Helen Elsley

I notice a shadow on the cauliflower
sat a day too long in my fridge
but longing for soup
I take the knife to trim
away a little grey
a crumble from the floret
then another 
and suddenly I am shaving it smooth
whittling it to a snowball
carving out cream

by Helen Elsley

A straggle of twigs
their spindly tips flick
with the wind
lighter than the brown
background wash 
curving towards me
in reproach
that the autumn work
was not done
years of neglected pruning
made this wispy
bunch of broomstraws
grown tall enough 
to lean over 
and drily tap my window
don’t forget
I am the Easter tree
I will surprise you soon.


Thanks to Kenneth Steven and to you all ...

... for your heartening feedback as always!

Catrice: Thank you, Lorna!  πŸ’š
Doreen Kelly: πŸ˜’
Catrice Greer: Thank you, all.
Lorna: Thank you for a lovely session!
Giovanna: Wonderful morning, huge thanks Bev and Kenneth
Bonbon: Thank you Kenneth, Bev and all…..a wonderful morning x
Jo: Hear hear, Giovanna
Angie: Thank you.  I have found the workshop inspiring, enjoyable and beneficial.
Kay: thankyou so much for a terrific and inspirational workshop  kx
Jo Beth: Thank you!
Giovanna: Where can we find that programme?
Lou: see you later Kenneth on our celebration journey of the simple small focus - so lovely thank you

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Friday, 21 January 2022

Cap'n Bev Water Story 15th Jan 2022


Cap'n Bev's session today took inspiration from the wonderful and ever so droll Eckhart Tolle. We spent two magical hours together exploring the concepts of self identity and our journey in this world. We abandoned ourselves to maritime considerations of tide and knot and wind and trip... 
and look what marvelous writing ensued! 

Our first writing prompt was

moving through the water
and the writers were cast off with a Kay Ryan poem "We're building the ship as we sail it"

The second prompt was

who's listening? listening to whom?
This one was launched by Lucille Clifton's rousing poem "Won't you celebrate with me?"


Hiraeth  :  River Bridge Time 
That old stone bridge
over River Cairn  
stands firm; it’s arc
spans the centuries.

Undercurrents carried 
 small dream-thoughts of girl
become adult. Drifting, with
 twigs, branches                                                                   dis-connected

from root source of life;
 in their oak or ash
family tree.

At dusk, the bats will
 flit, like fleeting shards
of phantom memory.

In exile now, she
 has had no standing
 for years, on bridge-span -  

an unspeakable axe:
hurt, hacked, living sap 
again and again. Until snap! /                                             dis //                       connected.  
River and bridge                                                                                     
are not forgotten;            
with splash-past sounds             
by moonlight, sunshine through smirr…      

 They are still loved. 
They once were mine.  
                                                                                                           //Hiraeth: hear owl hoot
                                                                                                            haunt darkening Cairnglen//
                                                                                                             © Margaret Watson 2021

Moving through the water

A story of two Uncles
moving through the water
who thought and fought to save life
throughout the filthy slaughter
of a war.

Uncle Gerry, quiet Navy man
escorted Atlantic convoys
through the deadly cold grey waters,
past the bleak Norwegian shores; aiming to? -
bring aid, to a starving Russian people.
 Fascist ships, the vicious Tirpitz,
 submarines, and air bourne bombs
all aim to sink and kill him and his crew. 

Uncle Ted, quiet scientist,
 expert bomb disposal worker.
Until that Nazi bomb exploded
in his face. Permanently blinded…
Yet, moving through Lake waters
 by boat – with wise hands on oars
he would discern the direction, depths,
 winds, cross- currents – aiming so accurately.  
And navigated this six -year-old niece
up a reed-green beck tributary. 
Tell me now please, what is your aim, if any – 
moving through the water?                                                                ©Margaret Watson 2022  

Moving through the water
by Doreen Kelly

Have you any idea the effort it takes to appear competent in the water?
Most of the time I am frantically doggy paddling to keep up with the party boat, the "normal" people are on.
Oh the relief when the boat stops in a harbour. It is lifesaving because I can turn onto my back, float and conserve energy. The effort it would take to climb on board is not worth it. I will only fall overboard again when the boat leaves harbour. 
At least in the water I am supported and if I stay away from the boat I am less likely to be buffeted around too much.

Links that cropped up today
Doreen Kelly's book "Gems from a Creative Mind" (just search for that) is now available on ebay
Eckhart Tolle - many talks available on youtube
Angie's whisky competition expired on the 17th, sorry! But here's her
Forugh Farrokhzad - I discovered this Iranian poet on BBC this week and can honestly say I feel changed by it! Listen here


Session chat... in case you missed some comments.

Doreen: link to book (see note above) 
Mary: Hi everyone. can't get sound. Happy New Year
Aileen: Hi Mary if you try leaving the meeting and rejoining that might work
Catrice: Bev, when you have a chance would you mind sharing his name in an email or the link to his Ted Talk, please? I’d love to look him up and check out the Ted Talk! Sounds Amazing!  Thank you. 
Catrice: Great intro, Bev.  Thank you. πŸ’œ
Bev: Moving through the water
Jo: thanks all, bye all xx
Catrice: Take care Jo.  See you again soon.
Angie: Is it ok if I post the link of a poem that I was commissioned to write for The Loud Poets?  Its in the Standard Habbie form.
Aileen: I want to see it Angie
Bev: please Angie!
Bev: who's listening, listening to whom
Doreen Kelly: I would like to hear from the marginalised. Those thrown out of society. Perhaps those cold and hungry on the street. However I am a scaredy cat and would need to feel safe in order to hear. In e to hear the voice of My God and speak with their authority in order to be heard.
Angie: That was a fabulous session.  It has given me a lot to think about.  What a wonderfully, warm and encouraging crowd have attended today.  The poetry has been amazing.  xx
Doreen: Thank you everyone
Catrice: Thank you, Bev.  Truly incredible session.
Karen: Thankyou. I so needed that. Bless you allπŸ’•
Kath: Lovely to see all the cheerful familiar faces, and lovely introduction, Bev, but I am falling asleep here with temp at 34
so I'm sure I'm not going to manage to write. Wanted to get a taste of the sessions though, so hopefully will be back for more if temps begin to drop again. Thanks for the invite.

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

JanFeb 2022 Special Water Story sessions

Lapidus Scotland, in association with Scottish Book Trust, is delighted to offer 4 special Water Story sessions to tide us over to the spring. Sessions are free but filling fast; if you'd like to join us for any or all please contact Bev at

Saturday Zoom sessions 1000-1200 am

15th January ~ Cap’n Bev

29th January ~ Kenneth Steven

12th February ~ Lorna Hill

26th February ~ Noren Haq 

Cap'n Bev     15Jan
you know me... or you think you do... as my own guest I'll be sharing more than my epaulets in this session! Taking care of writers in Water Story sessions or passengers on Loch Lomond, even the Forth & Clyde Canal... it's all to do with story.

Kenneth Steven     29Jan
Kenneth Steven is first and foremost a poet, though also very much a Scottish novelist and children’s writer too. He’s worked as reader and writer in residence in Aberdeen where he was very much involved in supporting and encouraging budding authors. He held regular surgeries to offer feedback on creative work.

Lorna Hill     12Feb
Lorna Hill is a writer, researcher and project facilitator. She is particularly interested in creativity for health and well-being and runs shared reading and creative writing sessions to reduce social isolation and build confidence. She has a PhD in Creative Writing, a COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, Diplomas in Life Coaching and Journal Therapy and CPD training with Luminate and Artful Minds (training in dementia-focused practice), Glasgow Women’s Library, Lapidus International and Scottish Women’s Aid. Lorna is also an Instructor in First Aid for Mental Health.

Noren Haq     26Feb
Noren Haq has an MA in English Literature and a PGDE in secondary education. She writes plays, short stories, flash fiction and poetry. 

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Scottish Book Trust,
Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Loch Lomond: 8th October 2021


Huge thanks to Cruise Loch Lomond for hosting our Water Story today. On a cruise between Tarbet and Inversnaid we invoked the area's inhabitants over a span of 5000 years and explored the fascinating geological implications of weather changes here at the Highland Boundary Fault Line over the past 15,000 years.

Oor Angie looking stunning!
Perfect writing cabin on the Lomond Princess
Cap'n Bev and Able Seadog Richie

The Arklet Falls at Inversnaid in full spate

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Glasgow to Kirkie on the Forth & Clyde Canal!

Take a trip on the Forth & Clyde... 

... click these thumbnails to watch videos

All thanks to Navvies' Barge - what a treat to be back on the canal (11th September) on the rumbling old barge but this time with Sean and Ania and the helm so I was, quite simply, a passenger! 

COVID challenges struck as 4 the carefully selected crew of just 10 Water Story veterans were tripped at the post with coughs, track-n-trace and one completely impossible journey from Inverness - so sorry your taxi didn't turn up May! But as seems to be the way of Water Story, the sun shone... here's Pat's account:

"To those who didn't make it, commiserations; we missed you all.  Unlike the forecast, the weather was fine and after a cloudy start the sun shone most of the time.  It was lovely to be back on Peccadillo (she will always be that to us) after a long absence, lovely to see the heron which joined us on various stages of the journey, the baby moor hens and all the cheery Glasgow folk waving from the tow path.  We noted that the canal needs something to sieve off the green weed that chokes the surface in places, and a visit from a big bottle-scooper; it seems the makers of Irn Bru and the monks of Buckfast Abbey have been having a bumper year. Maybe it will all be tidied up in time for the big climate gathering.

Bev, usually at the wheel, was able to join in, as Ania and Sean drove the barge, which was a bonus for us all. We did a fair amount of writing, but for the final hour just sat in the prow chatting and taking in the rays and relaxing.  Thanks to Bev for organising the trip, and here's hoping we can all meet again soon.

Thanks to funders
Lapidus Scotland gratefully acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership's "Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund" (managed by Impact Funding Partners).