When fellow book lover and blogger Sharon asked if there were any bloggers willing to take part in a blog tour for I Am… I wasn’t actually taking on more blog tours because I was about to go away, I’m inundated with books and my mother has been so ill I didn’t have a minute to spare. However, when I discovered what had led to the creation of the I Am… anthology I couldn’t resist. I’m so glad I agreed to participate.
I Am… isn’t for sale conventionally, but copies can be obtained via donation to Ceartas by contacting them through their website.
I Am… an anthology of the work created by some of the individuals who use Ceartas’ services.
Ceartas provide independent advocacy to people over the age of 16 living in East Dunbartonshire. Thanks to generous funding from Big Lottery Scotland, Investing in Ideas, they were able to employ a Writer in Residence to facilitate an 8 week programme for people who have used the services of Ceartas.
Many individuals who seek advocacy only do so when all other routes have been exhausted. Many feel disempowered, voiceless and personally deconstructed. Using your voice and telling your story is the antithesis to being recognised only by a label.
Independent advocacy is about ensuring individuals have a voice and what better way to assist that process than using creative writing as a means of providing an outlet for that voice. There are so many labels attached and assumptions made about people living with long term conditions; many face stigma and discrimination as part of their daily lives; they are often denied a voice or lack the confidence to use their voice and speak up for themselves.
Writer in Residence, Donna Moore from Glasgow Women’s Library, worked with the group over a period of eight weeks to create a portfolio of participant’s work to include in the anthology.
My Review of I Am…
I Am… is a collection of writings from staff and clients of the Creatas Advocacy Service.
I Am… is a little gem of a book. Firstly, it is the result of a very worthwhile project that aimed to provide an outlet and voice to often disempowered individuals and that is hugely worthy and would be worth reading just to make the reader feel they are supporting others. I loved the way the sections are divided and entitled so that they almost become a poem in their own right at the start of the book as participants adapt and respond to the course.
Secondly, however, it’s a little cracker of a book regardless of its origin. I Am… is a real smorgasboard of delights so that there is something for every reader. I thoroughly enjoyed all the entries, feeling that the introductory I Am poems gave me an insight into the people behind the writing. I really hope they will all go on to develop stories around the characters they created in the CharacterBuilding exercise too. The group short stories carried out in a similar format to playing consequences were enormously entertaining and I especially liked Story 10. But right the way through this uplifting and engaging anthology are delights of all kinds. I think the piece I liked the most was Helen’s response to Imagine, based on an image. I found her piece enigmatic, intriguing and so revealing of character in just 25 words over 5 lines.
Finally too, I Am… isn’t just a book for readers as there is so much inspiration for writers to enjoy. Many of the pieces would lend themselves to continuation or adaptation by anyone looking to enhance their own creative writing – such as George’s response to In The Picture (I’d certainly love to know what happened next). In addition, Donna Moore’s introduction to each section over the eight weeks gives brilliant stimuli so that anyone can have a go at the exercises she has used with the group.
I Am… is a highly entertaining, stimulating and interesting anthology and I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word.
Ceartas provides an advocacy service for people in East Dunbartonshire irrespective of their cultural background, gender, beliefs or sexuality.
Ceartas employees are committed to providing a service based on the principles of equality, fairness and justice, striving to ensure that the views and opinions of individuals are heard and respected, affecting in a positive way the lives of people using the service.
There’s more with these other bloggers too: