On Momentum, Saying ‘No’ and Self-Belief

In the last three years I have spent November marking final assignments and completing numerous end of semester tasks. This year my November is, or was, free and I am participating in NaNoWriMo. I have to admit, however, this month long word belch feels a little … is déclassé the word I’m looking for? After all, anyone […]


Phenomenology is a philosophy that examines and describes how we interact with our world, other people, with things that surround us, and with our thoughts and memories, imagination, emotions and desires. In ‘philosophy-speak’, phenomenology attempts to understand subjective meaning and the significance of our embodied experiences. The phenomenology of the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) […]

Arts Training for Health Care Workers?

Durham University’s Centre for Medical Humanities explores the connection between medicine, the humanities and the social sciences. It aims to investigate how collaboration between these three diverse fields may enhance our well-being. Their blog disseminates information about current and proposed research, reviews relevant books, articles and conferences, publishes calls for academic papers, provides information about […]


This week I want to reflect on the connection between therapeutic writing and believing in one’s ability to do well. It is difficult for a practised writer to trust her talent, skills and judgement: writing is a singular occupation involving solitary stretches of time in front of a computer or blank page. Drafting, writing, revising, editing […]


Writers are often asked what inspires them to write. I want to share two very different sources of inspiration; the first from Canadian writer Carol Shields’ short story, ‘Scenes’. I found it in Michael Ondaatje’s collection, The Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian Short Stories. These are just some of the scenes in Frances’s life. She thinks of them […]


My partner Caolan is an actor. He is currently appearing in a local production of Eurydice, by American playwright Sarah Ruhl. The play is a modern interpretation of the ancient myth of Orpheus who enters the underworld in an attempt to retrieve his beloved wife. Eurydice, not Orpheus, is the main protagonist of Ruhl’s play. […]