An evening of story sharing magic

20th March 2018

It is something different to hear an someone read their story aloud…

The writing produced by Write to Recovery group participants is often so moving and insightful, of such high quality, that I have found myself yearning for it to be heard by more people. Not just because I think they would appreciate the beauty and the skill, but because I think they would be soothed, reassured, and inspired by the humanity found in these pieces of reflective, expressive art.

The people I meet through running Write to Recovery groups produce work that has the power to help others. Through fostering connection; through modelling hopeful responses to distress and pain; through sharing what they have found on their journey of recovery. Each piece of writing is an answer to the question: how do we help ourselves, and how do we help each other?

And there already exists a platform that Write to Recovery participants can and do use to make their powerful writing available to those who might benefit from hearing it. Write to Recovery’s story sharing website can be accessed by anyone who wants to read about others’ experiences, or share their own stories. But it is something different to hear an author read their story aloud, to see the emotion in their eyes as they speak. This is the magic we wanted to give a new platform to.

An Evening of Readings, the project’s first live reading event took place on a chilly February night at Glasgow’s Tramway. The readers, some Write to Recovery group members, some website users, arrived early to have a quick rehearsal before the night kicked off. Even empty of people, the space buzzed with an atmosphere. The room was cosy, intimate; the lights dimmed, and music played softly in the background.

It was a theatrical space, so you could forgive readers for feeling the need to give a performance. But no acting took place. Each reader stood courageously and spoke with authenticity, showing the truth of their experiences, and the truth of what they felt. The rise and fall of the room was invigorating, from the peak of laughter at the witty turn of a phrase, to the dropping of hearts at the description of crushing injustice. The room was held together by each word.

The evening drew to a close and as I thanked and congratulated those who I could catch, I noticed an undeniable buzz of pride and confidence, for both themselves and their fellow-writers. As the room emptied, the energy followed them. We managed to capture some of that energy and enthusiasm in feedback from both readers and audience members…

“Very inspiring evening – the power of the word, and the power of a community that shares and values the word- and individual experiences and voice of everyone really came across. Thank you for organising it.”

“Great night and great mix of experiences shared. Laughter, some tears and lots of things to reflect on.”

“I was overjoyed to hear and be with this important project.”

 

A repeated piece of feedback from those involved was the request for more readings events like this. It was evident to us that creating community spaces provides Write to Recovery participants with more creative, social, and confidence-building opportunities. Both readers and audience members alike benefitted greatly from meeting peers with similar experiences and creative aspirations.

An Evening of Readings podcast series

We are delighted to say that those who missed out on this inspiring event can still experience the magic of the readers’ words! See below for the first three in a series of podcasts created from a live audio-recording of the night.

By Lorna

  • Stuck between a rock and a hard place

By Stephen

  • Whirlpool

By Tracy

  • After image
  • The Beta Chart
  • Sailing
  • Saint Patrick 

 

Those who wish to attend a future event as a reader or an audience member can stay informed about what is happening in the world of Write to Recovery by signing up to the SRN e-update and following the Write to Recovery team on twitter.