More than a Book Group
Sometimes we call it our Book Group but Ecas’ Reading and Creative Writing Group is so much more than that. We meet on Thursday afternoons at Ecas HQ and spend a couple of hours together. The group has been running since 2015 and new members are always welcome.
News, books and biscuits
Each week, once the all-important tea, coffee and biscuits are sorted, John, our group leader, shares the latest news from the world of words. It could be a literary event, an inspiring quote or a bad joke. Just as likely, a film, TV or radio recommendation, or a useful link to a creative writing project or poetry website. Or, all of the above!
We then chat about what we’re each reading or listening to. Unlike your average Book Group, we don’t all read the same book then meet up to discuss it. We’re a diverse bunch, and we all read and enjoy different genres. Here are some recent examples…
Long-term member David is on his second attempt with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers, he also music enjoys biographies. Barbara is also a fan of non-fiction, and shared some funny quotes from Till the Cows Come Home by Sara Cox. Angela, on the other hand, enjoys psychological thrillers. She’s read a good few books by Patricia Cornwell, but was ready to try someone new and has discovered Paper Girls and other books by Alex Smith. Group leader John, meanwhile, is reading I’m Sorry You Feel That Way by Rebecca Wait, a novel about a dysfunctional family.
Our weekly get-together at the Reading and Creative Writing group is a great way to explore new possibilities with others. Variety really is the spice of life! Our group members often feel encouraged to read a book that someone in the group has recommended.
Sharing our own writing
There is never any pressure to write, but over the years several members have enjoyed exploring their own creativity. We’ve discovered we’re a pretty talented group of people!
Each week there is the opportunity to share our own work. Group leader John suggests themes, so members can either respond to these or write whatever they want to.
David, for example, enjoys writing and sharing his poetry. His words are powerful and inspire the group, often opening up conversations about our lived experiences.
The group is relaxed and gentle;- we talk and laugh about all sorts. The group is also a safe space, an opportunity to harness the power of words to explore some of life’s challenges. We can be laughing one minute, then having serious chats the next.
Poetry is always a popular choice for our sessions. Recently, John introduced us to the brilliant Poetry Unbound resource – a wonderful collection of poems and podcasts, accessible to all. Here are just a couple of examples we’ve looked at together:
We plan a holiday, a mini-break, a long weekend, a stolen week.
We trawl the options, seek out the perfect combination of hotel
and flight, the distant beach, the extra night, consider packing
suitcases, examine the travel clothes and lotions, get as far as
tying on our baggage tags. Then I look at you standing here
in this pale grey light and think that I have miles and miles
to go before I know you, and as in any unknown country
I may wish to travel to your sites, and make repeated
visits to become familiar with you. We look out of
the bedroom window at the usual view and think
we may prefer to linger on here, where we have
each other’s endless landscapes to explore,
where I seek out your shore, you stalk my
tigers and the world will say it lost us.
This will be our stolen week, your
kiss my break, my eyes your lake
your mouth will be my Paris.
And as for Machu Picchu,
there are other routes
than dizzy altitude
to render us light-
leave us breathless, and we are here,
not away not far but where
we want to be, still where
we were, this red arrow
pointing straight at
who we are, and
Standing at the swell of the muddy Mississippi
after the urgent care doctor had just said, Well,
sometimes shit happens, I fell fast and hard
for New Orleans all over again. Pain pills swirled
in the purse along with a spell for later. It’s taken
a while for me to admit, I am in a raging battle
with my body, a spinal column thirty-five degrees
bent, vertigo that comes and goes like a DC Comics
villain nobody can kill. Invisible pain is both
a blessing and a curse. You always look so happy,
said a stranger once as I shifted to my good side
grinning. But that day, alone on the riverbank,
brass blaring from the Steamboat Natchez,
out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl, maybe half my age,
dressed, for no apparent reason, as Wonder Woman.
She strutted by in all her strength and glory, invincible,
eternal, and when I stood to clap (because who wouldn’t have),
she bowed and posed like she knew I needed a myth—
a woman, by a river, indestructible.
A sensory experience
As you can see, Group Leader John does not judge a book by its cover – the smell of a book is far more important. He encourages us to have a go, as he tells the group about ‘the most tremendous book he’s ever sniffed’, but that’s a story for another time…
Find out more about Ecas’ Reading and Creative Writing Group at Ecas
Love words, reading and maybe creative writing too? This friendly and relaxed group for people with a physical disability is for you. Every Thursday, Ecas’ Reading and Creative Writing Group meet in-person and online.
All of our activities cost £2.30 per 2 hour session, new members are able to try an activity for two weeks for free. For those eligible, our grants can help pay activity fees and transport costs.
Contact us for more information or to register.