Friday Feelings by Harry Jivenmukta (featuring artwork by Janet Devine) is the very first individual collection of poetry to emerge from the Artists in Mind writing collective, The Write Stuff. Here’s the foreword I was asked to write for the book below.
For two hours on occasional Fridays a group of people gather in a converted mill-building on the edge of Huddersfield town centre and create magic. The ritual begins with the setting out of tables in the centre of the room, chairs are assembled round the outside, the kettle is boiled, greetings are exchanged. As the last mug of steaming tea is delivered to the table, the sacred sacrament is passed around – crisp, white, blank sheets – take one, pass them along. Next, the magician’s wands: an assortment of biros – tools to connect thoughts direct from brain through body to fingers and out on to paper.
We create under the motto of AiM’s founder, John Holt: “Creativity is the immune system of the mind and the source of the mythic”. We create: haikus, acrostics, mesostics, acronyms, villanelles, limericks, shopping lists, diary entries, letters to Santa, lonely hearts ads, rants against politicians. We re-member, we become whole after being dismembered, we write back at the madness of society. We address food, the seasons, and the stigma of mental health.
We never worry about spelling, grammar, crossings out: there are no wrong answers, we try not to apologise or denigrate our own work – we try not to judge ourselves against other voices – we recognise we are all unique, all individual. We learn from the wisdom of the group, we allow and marvel at our multiple voices, we swap words, share words, speak our truths.
Sometimes there is an artwork from another HOOT workshop adorning the wall which we journey into sometimes not, and so we use the blank walls as inspiration. We go beyond, we journey outside, through the walls, up through the windows, circle over Castle Hill, joining polka-dot flying pigs and Terry’s purple octopus in a merry dance of the imagination.
These are the Write Stuff creative writing sessions from which this book was born. The magic in these sessions is testament to the attendees themselves who over the years have created a generous, welcoming and open space that allows such creativity to blossom. Harry and Janet, the author and artist behind Friday Feelings, are two of the most committed and prolific writers from the Write Stuff who have also taken a lead in organising artist-led sessions themselves. Their dedication in compiling this collection has already inspired other writers and artists to collaborate to create collections of their own.
Thank you to Harry and to Janet for being a key part of this intoxicating brew and for working so hard and agreeably in collaboration in the Write Stuff spirit on this very first book in the Write Stuff Writers Series. Friday Feelings is a wonder full collection and it is a real pleasure to see this first individual collection realised. I hope the reader enjoys this book as much as I have enjoyed helping to facilitate its creation.
Write Stuff facilitator