Selecting poems and images to represent my lifeline 1994-2014 ( in ‘the route to grace’, Dalefield Press, 2014)  it came as no surprise that sunflowers featured large.

Not just yellow, bright-smiling: shyly budding; shedding seeds; decaying.

Made of terracotta embossed with the pattern of attachment of seeds

clay sunflower

to a transient, moon-shaped receptacle, and fired in my friend Sarah‘s kiln.

Four years later, I sit in a crowded cafe and share writing practice with the young friend for whom I have become writing mentor. I bring us each a copy of today’s worksheet, and over the space of two hours we flow images and words into our ThoughtBooks, and onto craft paper.

Working in short bursts, and sharing our ideas in animated Readings-Out-Loud. Because I am increasingly deaf, and prefer working one-to-one and up close, the better to savour the full flavour of the dialogue.

At the end, she must rush off to a meeting and I must arrest the Muse, which catches me up and flighty, breathless with delight. So we hug and exchange more gifts: for her,  saved seeds  to plant and roasted seeds to eat, and for me an auspicious four-leaved clover pressed in a rail ticket during a trip to Wimpole Estate.

Below is our worksheet, for you to try at home, and perhaps – oh yes pleasefor you to share afterwards with me by email or by leaving a comment  on this site.

And maybe also you could help me to achieve by 12 May 2018 my target of £80 to help a family in Liberia to have a toilet of their very own, via Toilet Twinning.

Every £5 donated would be a bonus for me, and for them! Thank you.

Writing our Way Whole 23 April 2018

sunflower petals, our selves

This exercise originated when a therapist suggested that I might regard my varying moods as many petals of the one sunflower. He said: “My job is to give you the skills to move from the less comfortable petals to ones that provide a happier place to be.”

brain-dump – to complete in your ThoughtBook (just a few words on each):

  • Today, as a sunflower, I am delighted about……………

  • Today, as a sunflower, I am concerned about————————

  • Today, as myself in all her mystery, I am grateful for these three things:

    ~   ……..   ~   …….. ~   ……..

What do you notice from this exercise: in your mind; your feelings; your body?

Now taking a sheet of A3 (big) paper folded across in two (with the fold downwards), draw a sunflower (a middle, and radiating petals) to fill the front.

On each of the petals, write a resource/person/idea (internal or external) that is precious to you right now. Add extra petals as necessary.

After that – what would you like to write in, or about, the soft middle of the flower? You might add this now, in situ or in your ThoughtBook…

If you were to unfold the A3 sheet, and extend a stem from the flower, what would it represent? You can try this… likewise you can add, leaves, roots….

Now select a golden sunflower thread to work with (for ten minutes or longer).  Choose one or more of these:

  • the year that dark oxblood sunflowers grew in the almshouse gardens…

  • I will plant sunflowers all over the community

  • the petals covered her (his) face with shyness

  • beyond winter, only the stem-fibres remained, except…

  • will this sunflower always be my avatar?

And then take home some sunflower seeds: to sow; to eat; or to grow a poem.

© Kathy McVittie 23/04/2018   

I invite feedback on how this writing process is for you. Please share that with me by email:  poet@mcvittie.me.uk   or by leaving a comment on this page. I shall not publish any of your contributions here without your express permission.

IMG_20140824_183400

Finally, for devotees of my sunflower poems, here is a hitherto unpublished one, still in a draft dating from January 2005, and dedicated to the courage of two of my writing buddies:

Sunflower III 

(to S McK and S C)

January, working the soil,

I came across a sunflower at the garden fallow,

its old-moon face still

pitted where the seeds had been.

The bracts had fallen from around the clock;

leaves fed the earth.

I saw the fibres where the strength had been,

and held that death does not dispose.

© Kathy McVittie   24 January 2005

Please  I’d love for you to share afterwards with me by email or  by leaving a comment on this website.

And maybe also you could help me to achieve by 12 May 2018 my target of £80 to help a family in Liberia to have a toilet of their very own, via Toilet Twinning.

Every £5 donated would be a bonus for me, and for them! Thank you.