Did anyone – who’s been monitoring the posting of writingpresence’s free sessions – spot that I was late last week?

Did you miss your weekly dose of writing-for-wellbeing? Or did you do it anyway? Like I was doing in the Comments section of this post written by a friend.

In Scotland it was mid-term holiday (two weeks, traditionally reserved for children to help with the potato harvest: “tattie-picking”, which might have been a good title for the session, since that’s what I was doing on my patch overlooking the crofts, watched (nay, monitored) by some sturdy beasts).

In fact as I type, standing up to ease my poorly October back (of its “old wound”), and looking down at the laptop monitor, it’s still mid-tem holiday in Brora. just about. And with an extra hour in bed on Saturday night, courtesy of UK daylight-saving measures, unless you are a particular Frog:

Meanwhile several of my English friends, each in a different scenario, have been attached by need or duty to blood-pressure or heart monitors, and I wish them well on their lifeline. Or have been tapping away in front of computer monitors. While monitoring the time that’s left before lunchtime/ deadlines.

Brain Dump

Here’s an opportunity to allow free-flow writing to reveal what is going on for you right now. As much as you can, try to put your Inner Critical Monitor to the back of the class while you continue each of these leads, up to three times each:

Today in my heart I feel that …

Today in my heart I sense that …

Today in my heart I know that …

The truth, from my heart of hearts, is that I …

Now stretch out your fingers, get up and make yourself a drink, walk about a bit if your near-to-Hallowe’en skeleton – like mine – is prone to feeling “stiff-in -the-bones” …

Then read through what you wrote before the break, both observing what emerged, and recalling what other intrusive critical thoughts have been butting in as you wrote in, or read, your ThoughtBook.

Can you give them names (e.g. “BossyBoots”, “Detractor”, “KillJoy”,) stand up to them amicably, and put them to sit in a distant part of the classroom? Or send them out to play?

When you were at school as a child, what kind of classroom monitor were you? Did you get voted for as Form Captain, or (with a hint of naughtiness) as Vice Captain? Were you, like me, a Lost Property Monitor? Ensconced at breaktime with the smelly piles of discarded jumpers and gym knickers (both elegant in ‘French Navy’); blazers (with red and yellow piping); Aertex T-shirts and poplin blouses (in “gold”); hockey boots and plimsolls; tennis racquets and berets.

All of which should have been labelled, and weren’t.

My own pleasanter “best memory” of being a Monitor is at the end of the post, under Further Resources, where there are also some dictionary definitions.

First, there’s memory prompting time:

Golden ThreadWork

As ever, select one of the following phrases & write it in your ThoughtBook.

Without labouring thought, continue the phrase onwards, in a free flow of words or images, onto the waiting page.

Your golden threadwork can be short or long, or a series of any-length essays springing from several prompts.

Feel free to become your own Prompt-providing Monitor too!

On the monitor they could see that little foetal heart was already beating, like  ...

Monitor Lizards of the genus Varanus are native to ...

Milk Monitors were usually boys, as they were deemed strong enough to carry the crates of ...

The Register Monitor was required to take the stiff-backed book all the way from the Year 2 classroom to the Headmaster's Office in...

The UN had monitors on the spot to assess ...

Listening stations were used to monitor conversations between ...

They ran a media monitoring service, then known as a press clipping service, for clients who... 

Recently I joined The Mystery School at The Way of the Buzzard.

I noted with fondness that the highly skilled leaders of this safe training in Core Shamanism, Nicola and Jason Smalley, describe themselves not as facilitators, nor teachers (although they have both these roles, and more) but as Classroom Monitors for the participants of the online courses.

I like that!

Appreciation ~ for you to
write your own, before mine

Today I am grateful for:




~ the window of good weather from one o’clock to six o’clock here at 58 degrees north, so I could go for a short walk among the golden and russet trees, and sit by the River Brora;

~ the amiable French Griffon dog I “met” on my walk, and the chat I had with his owners;

~ my multi-talented friend Jess in Yorkshire, who’s helping me to pilot some intensive one-to-one writing sessions over Zoom, in readiness for Life after Lockdown

Further resources

Pedant’s Pillow: meanings of “monitor

From https://dictionary.cambridge.org

Noun: a person who has the job of watching or noticing particular things; a child in school who has special jobs to do; a device with a screen on which words or pictures can be shown; a monitor lizard

Verb: to watch a situation carefully for a period of time in order to discover something about it:

Flower monitors

After February half-term my-best-friend-Pauline and I were granted the blessing of being Joint Flower Monitors, whose brief was to bring living delights to decorate the teacher’s table. Neither of us was much good at advanced planning. We agreed strategy – or should that be tactics?- during a hasty telephone call, as we lived fives five miles apart. (Hasty because there weren’t “free minutes” on phone packages in those days, and two sets of parents monitored our phone usage.)

Pauline arrived at school with about five daffodil stems, in tight bud (that’s the best stage, the most delicious melding of yellow and green), spared from the shade of the massive oak in her parents’ garden, where the two cats Prudence and Fluffy liked to sunbathe in the heather.

I had brought a long twig of silver birch, which must have been overhanging the pavement from a neighbour’s garden, as I don’t remember a birch at my parents’ modest home in Harpenden. Just an apple tree and two lawson cypresses, and a line of ugly poplars at the bottom of next door’s, which had spread a healthy looking sucker into ours.

Once at school, we assembled our plunderings (again hastily, just before School Assembly) and for once received high regard from both staff and pupils for our eclectic, avant-garde minimalist arrangement. This in the 1960s when floral design was polarised between traditional bold brash hothouse styles, and the emergence of the more naturalistic Japanese ikebana, which however had its own rigid rules and constraints.

Over fifty years later, Pauline writes to me of the bulbs in the garden of her lovely terraced house in central Winchester. And she has visited the enormous elderly silver birch trees at our family home in Cambridgeshire.

Though not yet has she come to my tiny front garden meadow and backyard bumblebee-ery at Dhruvaloka, where today I caught a glimpse of pink cyclamen peeking out from a pot of foxgloves. With the cyclamen the descendents of plants gifted to us by friends in Hereford, twenty-five years ago.

Gardens old and new – and all the holders of memories and dreams. And I could tell you about the creatures who inhabit the compost heaps – and that’s another story.

Copyright Kathy McVittie 23 October 2020