Writing together


Below you can find summaries of previous meetings and events. 



A New Year. A New Soul. 

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes." G.K. Chesterton (from A Chesterton Calendar)

For our first meeting of the New Year, we gathered once more at Calthorpe Community Gardens and wrote in response to Chesterton's words along with other texts and poems on the themes of change, transformation and renewal.


For our last meeting of the year, we were treated to a rich and thought-provoking session on metaphors as we welcomed back Ted Bowman! 

We met at Calthorpe Community Garden, near Kings Cross, and were pleased for the chance to support this local charity which is a vibrant part of the community. 

Lead With Curiosity: Follow the Metaphors

Disruptive changes alter stories. At such times, if one is only reading the old story, they may have a tough time embracing a new, emerging account. Often metaphors are used: my life was turned upside down; I will never be the same again; my days are like riding a roller-coaster.

Compassionate responses, even to one's self, at such times requires creative curiosity. Following metaphors can be an essential tool. In this interactive session, following metaphors...even introducing metaphors...were demonstrated, discussed and practiced.


We met virtually this September for a session inspired by nature. Kate McBarron guided us through a selection of activities inspired by trees and water. We reflected on the poem 'Forest Bathing' by Frank LaRue Owen and wrote in response to images and a video.

APRIL 2023

For our April Lapidus London get-together where we're delighted to welcome back special guest Ted Bowman.

Living Well with Ambiguity

Finding Words for Ambiguous Times

Clarity is more desirable than ambiguity for most persons, organisations, and communities. Facing ambiguous situations, decisions, and relationships can be challenging. A starting place is to seek metaphors / words for ambiguity.

In this session, we explored greater comfort with ambiguity by listening, writing, and sharing ways of addressing discomfort and uncertainty.

Ted Bowman is a grief and family educator based in St. Paul, Minnesota USA. He is a member, former board member, of NAPT, the National Association for Poetry Therapy. Ted has also worked with many Lapidus local and regional groups, especially Lapidus Scotland and London Lapidus.


For our last meeting of the year we gathered at Southbank Centre, London to visit the Koestler Arts exhibition. Year after year, this proves to be a moving and inspiring experience - and this year was no different. After taking time to drink in as many of the exhibits as possible (there was so much to see!) we settled down for some writing and sharing. Our thanks to Mary Burns for facilitating this session.


In this collaborative session, we took A look at the landscape for practitioners. We explored the world of writing for wellbeing today, including resources, courses, professional standards and opportunities. There was plenty of discussion and a variety of writing activities too, led by Kate McBarron.

JUNE 2022

A big thank you to Judi Sissons who ran a Creative Rituals session for us.

  • How do you balance your own creative work with earning a living?
  • Do you have a daily practice, creative routine or rhythm to your week?
  • Does your own writing often come at the end of a long list of To Dos?
  • How can we make time for our own writing and wellbeing?

In this session, we looked at the daily practices of some famous writers and artists - from the mundane to the bizarre, and examined the strategies they have used to make the most of limited resources: time, motivation, self-discipline and confidence.

We shared ideas and spent some time devising our own creative rituals.

More about Judi

Judi Sissons practices on the border between art and therapy. She holds an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing and Personal Development (Sussex University). After teaching Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire, she established The Writing Space in 2012 to offer writing workshops and creative coaching for groups and individuals. She has published poems and stories in anthologies. www.thewritingspace.co.uk

APRIL 2022 

Gathering Stories - Connecting Voices: Curating and Producing Anthologies

We very much enjoyed this session run by Marie-Therese Keegan and Judi Sissons, which included insights into their experiences of developing anthologies.

Judi Sissons described the process of co-editing Words from a Distance, with a women's online Writing for Wellbeing group formed at the start of the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

Marie-Therese discussed how Everyone Has a Story - A collection of memories from inspired older people at Age UK Richmond came into being during the pandemic.

More about the speakers

Judi Sissons practices on the border between art and therapy. She holds an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing and Personal Development (Sussex University). After teaching Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire, she established The Writing Space in 2012 to offer writing workshops and creative coaching for groups and individuals. She has published poems and stories in anthologies. www.thewritingspace.co.uk

Marie-Therese Keegan is a writing for well-being facilitator. She works with Age UK Richmond helping older people 'Love Later Life'. She does this through encouraging them to be creative. Services she runs include a diary club, a letter writing salon, writing competitions and an allotment (where there is a lot of drama). She has been writing her first novel for some time!


For our get together this month, we wrote and shared in small groups on the theme of the 'Outsider', 'The Other'. We used sentence stems, a photo and a poem as prompts during an enjoyable and inspiring afternoon.

Our branch coordinator Mary Burns facilitated the session, giving us an opportunity to write and share together in a safe space. As Mary says, 'We don't always give ourselves the time for this and as we know the benefits are many.'


We had planned to host our November meeting at a London gallery - our first face-to-face meeting since before the pandemic began. However, due to the rising Covid case numbers we decided to meet via Zoom... and go on a virtual tour of London's galleries instead!

To kick-start this session, hosted by Kate McBarron, we got ourselves 'in the zone' with a warm up activity, where we imagined journeying into London while focusing on our senses.

1. Tate Modern

Our tour started at the Tate Modern, where we explored the concept of collage and wrote from a selection of objects.


2. Barbican Centre

Next, we visited the Barbican, where we wrote on the theme of 'buildings' and the work of the Matrix Feminist Design Co-Operative.


3. Southbank Centre

Moving on, we headed to the Southbank Centre to explore 'togetherness' through the works of art created by prisoners as part of the Koestler Awards.


4. National Gallery

Our final stop was the National Gallery, where we immersed ourselves in a meditation on Turner's painting 'Rain, Steam and Speed'.



We're very grateful to Lapidus London regular Marie Therese Keegan, who led a wonderful session on journalling for our September meeting.


A diary keeper since childhood, MT shared her own efforts, resources and insights on "time-catching" and inspired us to record aspects of our own lives. She discussed the work she has been doing with Age UK Richmond during the Pandemic where she's been encouraging older people to revisit happy memories. The session included a variety of activities, including the chance to create our own "sensory timeline" and to nourish ourselves with some gratitude writing.

JULY 2021

For this meeting, we were very pleased to welcome one of our regular attendees, Roshni Beeharry, who ran a fascinating workshop for us.

Connecting as a Community

In this 90 minute workshop, Roshni used a mix of textual, visual and media as inspiration to get us thinking, writing and reflecting within facilitated discussions about what 'community' means to us before, during and after the pandemic. Also woven in was the educational concept of 'communities of practice'.

Roshni Beeharry is a former NHS Consultant, and currently a Portfolio Medical Educator and Writing for Wellbeing & Personal Development Facilitator, published poet and short form writer. Roshni trained in MA Creative Writing & Personal Development, Sussex University in 2003-5, and in the lockdown period of October 2020, she set up her own small business, Storied Selves. More details on https://storiedselves.com/

JUNE 2021

Our third meeting of the year took place in June. We were delighted to have Charmaine Pollard running a workshop for us. She guided us through a variety of activities using a selection of carefully chosen writing prompts, including an image of a mountain and the poem 'The Explorer' by David Ignatow.

Charmaine is a Certified Poetry Therapist, a Counsellor, Life Coach and Author. She has recently published her new book Writing for Resilience: Finding the Courage to Bounce Back.

MARCH 2021

Writing By Hand

Many writers have praised the act of writing by hand. But just how beneficial is it? How does typing compare? What does the research say? Kate McBarron has been exploring this fascinating topic and at our March meeting she shared her findings so far. There was also a chance for us to do our own writing using topical prompts.

The slides from this session can be downloaded below.


To kick start the new year, we indulged in plenty of writing during our January meeting. Focusing on a variety of prompts, we explored the themes of 'the natural world' and 'doorways & journeys'. You can find our January writing prompts here.


This November, Lapidus London co-coordinator Kate McBarron led a topical session for us on 'change'. It's all around us at the moment, with huge changes taking place both locally and globally. After a chance to relax and focus our minds, we delved into our main topic through a series of writing activities. We watched a short film about the changing seasons called 'Breath of Change'. And we responded to a comment made by Jane Austen, about change, in a letter to her sister.


For our September meeting we went on a virtual outdoor adventure, visiting idyllic autumn woods and reflecting on the process of writing in nature. Nicky Torode led a stimulating session, sharing with us some of the exercises and materials she uses in her outdoor sessions. She also guided us through a selection of nature-inspired writing activities.

JULY 2020 

On Saturday July 25th, we got together via Zoom to enjoy a selection of writing activities. 

Alison Clayburn ran two sessions for us, getting our creative juices flowing as we reflected on the image below and considered the concept of 'dawn'. 

Alison then invited us to dwell on an everyday object, which we wrote about and shared afterwards with the group.

For our final writing session, Lapidus London coordinator Mary Burns invited us to think about what has brought us joy so far in summer 2020. We shared selected ideas & images, which you can find in the group poem below!

Summer 2020

Comfortable shoes in bright colours.

A cheese sandwich and a cup of tea.

Warm scones with

clotted cream and blueberry jam

on mismatched china.

The waft of frying onions,

bubbling lentil soup.

Real cooking, real joy.

Gin infusions from my 

next door neighbour.

Playing bingo on Zoom

with my family in Ireland.

Go for tapas

smelling of neroli orange.

In the empty street

a song thrush serenades my solitude.

A joke on the phone

after a long walk home.

Chasing my grandchildren,

Jesse and Ximena.

Meeting my daughter, Maya, in Amsterdam

after months of being apart.

Sea swimming,

new friendships, swimming buddies.

Laughing, letting the waves lift me,

being in the flow.

Breathing in nature's scents

- the sweet, fresh air.

So much to be thankful for...

We sing together and dance,

lip synched harmonies,

easy like a Sunday morning.

A sudden burst of dancing to

an old pop favourite.

When all else had been swept away

the simple pleasures remained.

Alison Clayburn has been a creative writing tutor for 30 years in diverse settings. Along the way she gained an MA in Writing for Personal Development, poetry and short fiction from Sussex University. Her main interest is in the crossover between self therapeutic writing and the production of powerful poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

She facilitates workshops in Writing for Pleasure, Poetry and Writing for Self Discovery. They were all based in Rotherhithe SE16, but now they're virtual!

MAY 2020

Lapidus members and non-members alike gathered together on Zoom for a catch up at the end of May. Having checked in and said our 'hellos', we enjoyed some guided writing exercises with time to share afterwards. Our thanks to Mary Burns and Christine Hollywood for the thought-provoking and nourishing writing activities.


To get the new year off to a flying start, we hosted a full day of writing at The Poetry Cafe.

Writing Past, Present and Future

In the morning, Lapidus member Judi Sissons led a simple writing exercise combining memory and imagination to reflect on a period from the recent or distant past. We then turned our attention to the present and future at the start of this new decade. 

Judi uses these exercises with groups as a tool for self exploration and understanding, supporting people to access memories, transform their relationship with the past, improve self esteem, creativity and wellbeing. For more info about Judi's work see her website: www.thewritingspace.co.uk

The Healing Power of Poetry, with Rachel Kelly

After lunch, we welcomed best-selling author and mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly. Rachel shared how she turned to poetry in her darkest hour and why it helped her. She also revealed some of the poems which spoke to her most powerfully. www.rachel-kelly.net

The afternoon continued with more writing and sharing, led by Judi.


A Dose of Writing: One-Day Event

There was a buzz in the air as we gathered at The Poetry School for a fantastic day dedicated to words and wellbeing. We were treated to three wonderful workshops by Ted Bowman, Christine Hollywood and Narayani L. Guibarra. Find out more here.

JUNE 2019

Writing for wellbeing at The Victoria and Albert Museum with Kim Sheldon.

We were delighted to take a trip to The Victoria and Albert Museum in June, all thanks to Kim Sheldon. Kim is a regular at our London meetings and she works in the museum. The session included a short tour and the chance to write in response to a couple of selected items. There was also time to share our writing. Feedback about the experience was glowing. Thanks Kim for a wonderful writing session!

MARCH 2019

Graphic Short Story Workshop by Ottilie Hainsworth.

London Lapidus were fortunate to have the gifted (and very modest) Ottilie Hainsworth share her love and talent for graphic novels with us. She told us how "Talking to Gina – a love letter to a dog who came into a family's life and turned it upside down" came into being and and she spoke about the popular course "Graphic Novels Real Life Stories" she runs in Brighton. She brought along her own diaries for us to view – notebooks filled with graphic accounts of daily life for her and her family. These were truly inspirational.

Ottilie then guided us in an exercise to produce our own graphic short story in a hand made booklet featuring our own cat or dog character. This was a lot of fun and insightful too!

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