Creative Occupations, Occhat, occupational science, OTalk

Writing creatively as a way to develop occupational artistry – preparation

#occhat – Writing creatively as a way to develop occupational artistry

Date: 14/08/2012  Host: @Kirstyes

Blog Post  –  Transcript

Next Tuesday 14th August 2012 during our #occhat talk we will be following up from the #occhat Allison Sullivan hosted ‘Occupational Artistry as an Antidote to Occupational Science’ – you can find the summary and grabchat by clicking on the underlined links.

One suggestion for developing occupational artistry was to write creatively. So, in preparation for the occhat I am asking as many people as possible to give this a go. It isn’t mandatory for the chat but hopefully the more pieces we have the better the chat.

I appreciate that people may be anxious about writing creatively or that they may not have done so for a while. I delivered a workshop on using creative writing for reflection at the College of Occupational Therapists Conference 2012 and on my blog I have posted the handouts for reference. They contain some examples of writing I have used to ‘make sense’ of topics/situations.

The techniques I talk about are:
Found poems – where you use an existing page or two of writing and ‘find’ the poem in it by circling odd words (giving credit to the original source of course).
Form poems – poems that use a defined form of line length, rhyme etc – some examples are given but there are many many forms.
Free verse poems – Poems where the form is defined by the content and anything goes, often uses rhyme, repetition etc.
Fiction/Short Stories – Using the short story form including narration, dialogue etc etc to make sense of academic text, reflect on a situation etc.

You could also use things like ‘diary’ formats, writing an unsent letter etc. Creative writing is subjective so just give it a go. If you have a blog please post it there and add the link in the comments for this post, or you can post your version in the comments or on facebook (or alternatively if you’d like us to post it on the blog e-mail it to with the Subject line – Writing Creatively).

What you write about is up to you too but again I offer some suggestions:

As in the handout write a short story about some sort of complex theory or article you have read – something that helps you to ‘see’ how that would look in or impact on practice.
Reflect on a difficult situation, or one that has gone really well, analyse what factors impacted on the outcome – you could do this using poetry or a story form using dialogue for example.

Please do remember to maintain confidentiality and privacy and change names, situations etc, try to ensure nobody is identifiable.

You might like to think about the pros and cons of using this technique and how you felt writing and afterwards as discussion points for the chat.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Looking forward to reading your examples and chatting with you on Tuesday.

10 thoughts on “Writing creatively as a way to develop occupational artistry – preparation”

  1. Here’s a short story about inter-rater reliability (with apologies to Doris Pierce for using her name)

    How not to complete an MMSE

    Jenny marches on to the ward, chewing gum, ‘So, who d’you want me to see today?’
    ‘Doris Pierce, she’d been admitted with a fall but seems a bit confused. Do you think you could complete an MMSE?’
    ‘I suppose.’

    ‘Alright, Doris. Gonna ask you some questions. Where are you?’
    ‘I don’t know, no-one’s told me. Who are you? It’s really loud in here.’
    ‘Well what type of building are we in. Give you a clue, it’s where sick people go.’
    ‘A hospital?’
    ‘Bingo.’ Jenny moves quickly on, ‘What’s the date? Look there’s a paper.’
    ’24th April.’
    ‘Remember these three words, Apple, Table, Penny.’
    At the end of the test Doris remembers them with no difficulties.

    ‘Yup, she got a few questions wrong but she’s not too bad really.’
    Jenny just sticks the form in her notes but writes nothing to accompany it.

    Jenny goes off sick. Her colleague Rebecca comes to the ward to pick up her caseload.
    ‘Jenny did an MMSE on Doris Pierce and said she was Okay, but she’s really not. Could you take another look?’

    ‘Hello, Mrs. Pierce I’m Rebecca, an Occupational Therapist. Could I get you to come with me to ask a few questions that I think my colleague Jenny asked the other day? Do you wear hearing aids at all?
    Doris nods and Rebecca helps her find them in her bag and put them in.
    As Rebecca is wheeling Doris to a side room she asks, ‘ This might be a really funny question. You aren’t the Doris Pierce are you? The OT?’
    Doris nods again. Rebecca notes to change the three words and documents the reason in the notes.

  2. And a poem that developed from recent discussions about professionalism (clearly not representing my own opinion as such)

    Be a good professional (A Villanelle)

    Be a good professional
    use your judgement wisely,
    but don’t do that.

    You aren’t born one
    you have to learn to
    be a good professional.

    Facebook can be helpful
    Twitter can teach you lots,
    but don’t do that.

    You can’t have a social life
    or be trusted to talk to friends and
    be a good professional.

    You have to reason carefully,
    make decisions daily. Decide on Social Networking?
    No don’t do that.

    Don’t judge what to write,
    how to present yourself in public,
    be a good professional
    but don’t do that.

  3. One mental math champion/Cashed in his golden ticket/Future OTD

    One Stats geek/One transformation/OT equals love of his life

  4. A poetic reflection on walking with my husband…

    Shall we go for a walk? (let’s go for a walk because I want to)

    Sometimes it’s a battle to persuade you
    Shoes on, door slams
    We head down the road, feet slapping the pavement
    To end up back where we began
    Only more enlightened
    Occasionally, slightly puzzled

  5. Sorry I missed #occhat tonight – I wanted to join this one! I did some writing last week in preparation but it turned out a bit long. I was trying to get to grips with suggested elements of a response to oppression and it was really helpful for me. I never know whether the outcomes of these kind of things are as good as the processes. Best wishes, Wendy

    1. Hi Wendy. We won’t do the grab chat for 24 hours so if you want to add any comments please do and I’ll include in summary. Also if you wanted to add your writing here, or link to where you’ve posted please do (you don’t have to of course). Topic sounds interesting though. I think it’s a balance between outcome and process. But outcomes tend to need more tweaking if to be shared. Personally I find editing tricky.

      1. Thanks Kirsty. Here is my writing which I’m sorry I didn’t post in time for last night – I was reading about how people cope with being oppressed.

        Resilience resistance and agency – elements of a response to oppression

        There were three bottles on the side and it was difficult to choose. It took me a while to think a cocktail might be an option but I’m not sure I took it seriously at that stage. Just looking at the bottles was baffling enough. How can you choose? What might happen?

        Resistance was the one I understood best. I recognised the label – a silhouette of figures with a banner overhead. My own fear of doing anything on my own made resistance an easy option. It struck me how resistance could be read in many ways I could resist the bottle, I could drink the contents and resist something else. I could find a friend to overcome my resistance (or was it indecision?) or by coming together we could resist something. I thought about the conversation I’d had with some people earlier in the week. They were grateful for a new initiative locally to help them with their problems. It was ok they said, a bit superficial, but better than nothing. Together we have been critical of such services but maybe on your own you need a draught of resistance somehow, and even a cat lick of a service will help. I can’t help thinking that resistance must be strong stuff. 100% active brew, don’t drink and drive, but drink and march.

        Resilience was intriguing. I couldn’t help wondering if it was a chemical brew, a sort of waterproofing fluid in a spray bottle. If it dripped on your fingers as you squirted you’d be a bit worried as it would leave a nasty stickiness that is hard to wash off. Good for fabric and wood and metal but not for human flesh. Maybe we need our vulnerabilities. But how stupid to go out in the rain without waterproof gear, however flimsy. Ok I could see now how the resilience thing worked. I wasn’t supposed to drink it but to use it as some sort of armour which needed topping up, like sun cream. Spray myself and take a gulp of resistance and hey ho, off we go!

        Agency was an official looking bottle with a just drink up and don’t mess with me look about it. I could put money on the likelihood that it had water inside, although the glass was tinted so I couldn’t see. I wondered if a draught of Agency might get you in the mood, refresh the palate ready for action. Draining a glass of Agency might clear your head and make you able to spray resilience without getting sticky. I untwisted the screw lid and it made a satisfying cracking sound. There was a brief spiral of vapour. This was going to be good, I just knew it. The bottle was cool to the touch and I could drink it down without it dribbling down my chin or making me want to burp. I was ready. For action. I gave myself a squirt of Resilience and rubbed it into my face and arms.  The Resistance bottle was harder to open. It had a stopper like a sherry bottle, slightly hard to get a grip on. I couldn’t do it. The Resistance bottle was resisting me.

        I started crying and the Resilience got all streaky. I blew my nose and the tissue had nasty sticky streaky stuff on it. Must be the Resilience. I’d drunk all the Agency and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have any more anywhere in sight. I felt hopeless and defeated. The Resilience stuff was just annoying. If I got it on my hands then my fingers wouldn’t grip the Resistance bottle. I slumped back against the wall and sighed. As the air hit my lungs I took another look at the Resistance bottle. I did like the label very much. It reminded me of so many things and I really wanted to taste the stuff inside. The Resilience was drying off and it really smelt quite nice. I picked up the Agency bottle so it wasn’t rolling on its side and noticed just a bit of liquid swishing around the bottom. Drained it down, licking my lips, and smelt my resilience. The Resistance bottle was in my hands and I gripped the cap, twisting slowly round and up. Slowly slowly it came away from the bottle, with a pop followed by a sweet spicy sour aroma, different from the Resilience. It was like getting up close to an oak tree and sniffing the bark. The grass smells are still there, or even the rain smells, but the bark smells fill you to the brim. I put my finger own the bottle opening,tipped it up and looked at the wet green coating on my finger tip. I sniffed it. Delicious smell. Licked my finger and felt Resistance fizz on my tongue.

        I looked up to see who else was around. I’d been given these bottle to taste and see if I could understand how they might bring me, or anyone else, into the centre of things from being marginalised. I could see they were a potent combination and decided i would have to try them again.

  6. This is a reflective poem from one of my placements:


    Punishment, I’m here to learn
    Toxic place, but no different to home
    Innocent faces with knowing looks
    No choice, in my cell alone

    Focus on what I’ve done
    But given a chance
    What could I become?
    Starting over, my life awaits

    Freedom of choice
    Respect and trust
    See me as a person
    There is a different way

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