What on earth is a ‘Creative Writing Laboratory’ and why should I try one?
Research has shown the incredible benefits of the arts on health; both mental and physical. In the last couple of months alone I have come across new research providing greater scientific evidence of the powerful effects of expressive arts. I heard, for instance, at the Culture, Health and Well Being Conference in Bristol this week, that changes occurring in the human genome, ‘turned on’ following severe trauma and resulting PTSD, are seen to be resolved ‘turned off’- through a holistic approach to healing that includes poetry and other forms of expressive writing. There has been measurement of cortisol changes in saliva to evidence stress reduction, heart rates and breathing have been monitored alongside ability to focus, levels of energy and more, much more, and all point to further evidence of how effective the creative arts can be as a tool for healing.
If only a GP could prescribe a course of poetry, a packet of short stories, a spray of salsa dances, a dose of fiction!
The idea for the Creative Writing Laboratory came from my experience of writing a novel about things that scared me and made me angry – and how the writing of it released me from feeling helpless and stuck. That novel was CULL (more about that in next blog.)
My idea was to create a safe space for people to explore a multitude of creative writing techniques and find ones that they could employ that would also increase their feelings of well-being, of hopefulness and curiosity. In my Creative Writing Laboratory, everyone is a researcher, a lab technician, exploring their own process.