Where the hell did the time go?
It's been a while. For the last four (ish) years, Paul and I have been researching, developing, and implementing our tailored Creative Mental Health Programme™ to reduce the symptoms of mental illness whilst also improving the lives of anyone interested in learning to use our tools to assist their mental health and wellbeing.
It has been one hell of a journey and we have learned so much.
Paul and I left our roles to do something that we felt was needed in the world. Something that I was told was a "waste of time" by certain powers that be. That doesn't make me mad, it makes me grateful. If we'd have run with my idea at that point in time it would've tied us to a place that caused me and my colleagues a noticeable decline of our mental health and wellbeing.
We took a risk - we didn't know whether it would work - we busted our balls and found ourselves in a place of learning, connection, and empowerment. We started as a team of four, and now have expanded to a payrolled team of 24 and a volunteer base of many more.
Being the CEO and Co-founder of PoetsIN has been the most rewarding experience of my life (besides being a mother). Setting up a charity in the UK often costs a lot as an initial outlay; money that we didn't have. At this point I did what I always do - I learned. I swore a lot. I cried many frustrated tears. I laughed a lot. During that initial setup period I felt many emotions, but used the words of the former powers that be to fuel my determination and dedication to get it right and not make the mistakes I'd seen them make time and time again. I think it's likely that I was underestimated as a business woman, but again, I used that to drive me forward within my own career.
It's hard running a charity yet we have flourished year upon year due to the tenders and contracts we have won. We have met some incredible people with some fascinating and heartbreaking stories. We have built a team who are as dedicated to our cause as we are. We have spoken at various events about what we do and how we do it. We have won awards - with our most recent being Mental Health Charity of the Year 2020 in the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards. I could write multiple paragraphs of our achievements and of the thousands of lives we have changed and I still wouldn't have covered even half of the successes and lessons we have learned.
Back in June we were approached by filmmakers who wanted to partner with us during the production and release of their feature film. Last night, I sent a member of the team on set to watch the film being made. Tonight, another team member is visiting the film set. Our experience and education in the topic of mental health and wellbeing, along with the unique approach we take when it comes to supporting those with mental ill-health has opened doors to opportunities and experiences that we never thought possible.
Our lives are richer, our lives are so colourful, our lives are better because of PoetsIN. We have learned so much about ourselves and our own mental health during this journey and our goals have never been more ambitious - yet totally achievable.
In the past, I allowed my own mental health to be dictated by a few individuals who made me question my worth, value, and my skills. I realise now how wrong they were but also how wrong I was to listen to their voices and allow mine to be suffocated. The proof is in the pudding (as my nan would say), and my pudding is overflowing with the nectar of goodness, fulfilment, achievement, and longevity. This wouldn’t happen without the skills, value, and worth I possess in a world where most charities fail within their first three years.
Something we are hugely proud of is our workplace culture. Our employees and volunteers feel supported, valued, worthy, empowered, and happy to work for us. They love their job and because of this we have people approaching us constantly looking for work. People want to work for us, with us, as a part of the PoetsIN family.
I want to come back to the title of this piece, where the hell did the time go? It went into people. Into life - saving them, changing them, improving them. It went into having a voice, giving a voice to the silent, and changing the voices of those who impose those age-old stigma we so often hear. My silence here isn’t a sign of weakness, of crawling away into a hole and hiding - it’s a sign of strength, of repair and renewal, of growth and evolution.
I know my worth, my strengths, and the places where I need to grow my skill set. I’m Sammie 2.0 and I won’t ever be taken for a fool, or for granted, again. A big thank you to those who didn’t believe in me, in us, to those who used us as a tool to reposition themselves, to those who used me as a scapegoat rather than owning their own faults, to those who told me it was a waste of time, to those who didn’t believe in us - you made this possible. You gave us the life you wanted through trying to control and manipulate us. Finally, to the architect who thought I was an asshole at first but then fastly became someone I was hugely fond of and who inspired me with his intelligence, thank you for spending your time seeing me for who I am. I truly appreciate you.
If you are struggling with your mental health, we have a range of fully-funded services you can access (free of charge). Just reach out to email@example.com and our team will help direct you to the right service.
For anyone who wants to improve their mental wellbeing, we are running one-hour free mental wellbeing workshops via Zoom. If you are interested in these, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you booked in to our next available slot.
I won’t leave it so long next time. I may even share my own creativity with you all at some point. My pen has never been so ink-filled.
#PoetsIN #MentalHealth #MentalHealthMatters #Evolved #Evolution #ImBack
Prose Don’t Care (It’s Their Production Line, As The Whistle Blows A Forlorn Tone, And The Rich And Poor Separate Once More)
"Let's weigh 'poetry product',
And see if that shit sells!..."
...It's about the shiny whistles,
And freshly polished bells...
...Force people to read
Crap Ads that shouldn't
Ever be there...
...It's a thoughtless thought,
And it's well misplaced...
...Perhaps a vote should
Have been shared...
..."O, don't worry,"
Sneeze up our sleeves...
"Your susceptible minds
Ripped off by thieves,
As we've done so much
To leave you at ease..."
What you've done, Prose
One more wedge
In the gap!...
Draw a line in the sand,
Never looked back...
...One more slap in
To the ones who
...Thought they found
Them a place
Where their faith
...You should be ashamed
For making words cheap!...
...I doubt this will
All the dust on my
Is blowing on through,
And I still feel betrayed...
"Let's weigh 'poetry product',
We'll see if that shit pays!..."
...In the most sacred
Without one shred
As your taking a shit,
Or when driving
...GOD IT MAKES
THE EYES BLEED!!!...
...But what one must remember
In these volatile times
We cannot turn our backs on
The sleaze merchants dime
Because ads are so constant
That there is no denying...
Whether we look or not,
We are cleaning our plates.
No, it really don't sit well...
BUY and SELL what you can...
...From a smile on a subway
To a cheap
Spray on tan...
...It is always excessive,
But we all must
Past the wreckage of progress
Dead on the lawn...
Yes! . They're everywhere . Ads.
It is . Something . to .
see . In someone's day- . dre .
am . Prison . we .
con . tinue to br . eed .
There's some things that fly
And just never see light!...
...True, we must spawn uh
On our own psychic flight...
Exciting News & PoetsIN
Long time no post. I’ve been absolutely slammed but while I have a minute or two, I thought I’d check in and let you know what I’ve been up to and let you all know about some exciting opportunities.
Some of you will remember the Letters from Prison Portal here, where Paul and I would visit prison, teach writing workshops, and post their pieces here. This is where PoetsIN was born. Paul and I realised that writing was a form of therapy and the prisoners were reporting astounding results.
After parting ways with Prose, we tailored our groups further with an emphasis on rehabilitation, mental illness, and suicide prevention. We began to measure the outcomes of each session, and over a set period of time had evidence that what we do worked with 99% of the service users. To put this into perspective, CBT in the UK via the NHS works in 48% of the cases they work with. If CBT doesn’t work, the service user is given no other therapy. Talking therapy such as counselling is no longer provided on the NHS because that was only successful 29% of the time, which is way below the threshold of success the NHS will work with.
With our 99% success rate we went to the UK Charity Commission. Wrote our governing document, recruited 5 trustees, filled in a ridiculously long application form to register as a charity, and submitted it. Then we waited.
Whilst we sat thinking of all the things we could’ve included in our application but didn’t, and worrying about all the things we may have done wrong, we carried on with our groups. Expanding them and trialling new techniques and measures of capturing data to ensure maximum impact. We got such good feedback from the prison directors that we were offered a grant from a trust for $50k - before we were even a charity - which is unheard of. Visit www.poetsin.com/testimonials to see what people have been saying about what we do.
Four months passed and we finally received our answer. We’d done it! We were a charity.
Since then we have won three awards. We were named Mental Health Heroes 2017 alongside Talia Bennington, Mental health workshop provider of the year 2018, and Nonprofit of the Year 2018. We have also employed some faces you may recognise. The lovely Karen, who used to design Prose images, the badass Lish, and we’ve just hired a wonderful fundraiser, Pippa. MilesNowhere and Amanda Cary have also joined the family and have been vital to PoetsIN, and my own personal sanity.
We are now a week away from launching online writing therapy groups that people can access from wherever they’re located, along with in-community groups external to prisons across certain parts of the UK to begin with.
We also have a growing Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/poetsin) that is full of old faces from here and new faces from beyond, along with a website that has mental health and writing blogs galore.
We’ve opened our own publishing company, PoetsIN Publishing, that offers the best royalties EVER and any royalties taken by PoetsIN Publishing are all ploughed back into the charity to reach more people who need our help. The best thing about the publishing company is that we want to publish poetry. Many traditional publishers don’t. We do. We are publishing print and eBooks, and have already accepted submissions that will be released this year.
We have a current challenge running for an anthology. Our first anthology open submission call was a huge success and will be published within the next month - we’re just putting the final touches to it. The current submission call is on the topic of addiction, and you are all more than welcome to submit! The more the merrier. Visit this link to submit https://buff.ly/2EdHxwe
Those of you in the UK should come down to our huge all day fundraising event in Camden, London 28th July. It is being held at the iconic Nambucca venue that has housed Oasis, Blur, and many more. We have a full day of amazing lineups from spoken word poets, comedians, and acoustic and indie music. All acts are donating their talents and time to us for free along with many companies who have donated prizes that we will raffle and auction off at the event. We also have a Skydive coming up in September, more details about that can be found on our social networks.
There have been people that doubted Paul and I - along with our mission - but our determination, skills, and experience have served us well, built our confidence, and given a much-needed lifeline to those that truly needed keeping safe.
Setting up a charity is far harder than setting up a business, and if we can do that, you guys can do anything. One word, one poem, one story at a time.
Paul and I both hope you’ll join us elsewhere on the interwebs but in the meantime, write on!
#PoetsIN #PoetsINPrison #Charity #NPO #Publishing #WritingContests #GetPublished #Poetry #InsideOut
strangers doors unlocked
hallaway light left on
creeping across the wall
yellowed eyed yarn tossled blonds
young youths hungover
crayola colored drugs
romeo to be or not to be
crowbar cracked logic
crazy crackheads sniffting the same powder
wailing water works drowning the floorboards
wasted wages on dusty forevers
cotton filled stomachs
trying to stop the blood from the gunshot
that grazed the heart on the 2nd floor
loose lips sink ships
liqiour late nights at the bar
mouth agape kissing the lips of strangers
to taste anything
touching the tangibleness of this pain
that could shatter the weakness of the amor that I let through my armor
untied the shoe strings
and set them on the welcome mat
the heart got too comfortable in the chest of another
tatterd seat cushions
cum stained toilet seats
used condoms thrown in the trash can
teared up tears
dagger through the ribcage
long drawn out cries
craddled in the crib
like a baby
holding your own arms
around that tiny soul
pull your own skin apart
to keep yourself warm
in the discomforting
wrapped with an obiturary of love that was buried by the last person who stayed in this bed
tilted to the mouth to taste the human left upon the edges of it
thongs layed across the tub
bent bra wires
tilted to the side
red lipstick lingerd on the lips of a liar
he stained with the words I love you
planted it on another bitch
maybe he was the salt she needed
and maybe it is ink that stained him
that made him stay
real tears melt plastic
if isn’t filled with lies
veins filled with novacine
skin sweating morphine
wrist grazed with slits
cursive letters curved
of a lost forever
blue eyed boys
cause the blues
brown eyed boys
drag you to the grave
make you curse
brown haired boys
break your heart
using the alphabet
you don’t have to cross over the ocean
to experince shipwreck
of the soul
dolly parton pink sheets
and babydoll nightgowns
mascara stained bedding
black and white reruns
replaying the same scenes
the lines used from
your last lover
he was the cancer
that was spreading through your body
he was the pisces , that swam through your ocean
he was the leo , that devored your heart and left you hanging from your veins
the zodiac warned you about being a smart alec
with the devil
kissing the lips dusted in star dusts
red lips bleed blood when applied with pressure , see I asked for the truth but its funny all that came out of her mouth was lies,
she was weak in the heart
she rather sip on cough syrup to ease her guilty consicence
friends don’t slip sugar packets in a bowl of vinegar and try to pass it off as sugar water
see they forget
good liars don’t trip up on their own lies
see you thought I wouldn’t find out how dear sweet f , never mind lets not name drop.
“lets not push each others for our own cause”
but really whats your cause
to strip him down and feed him
ambrosia laced with LSD
see you put theories in is head
about me that wasn’t there
see you have the voice of KAA ( jungle book reference the snake )
but you had the face of medusa
its funny the tricks beauty plays on you
karma lived here
she had the hips of sin
eyes of an demon
and her lover was revenge
Welcome to heartbreak Hotel
leave your heart at home
#they lies we tell in the midnight , all come to light in the morning #new year #exposed
Why Did I Join Prose?
Why did I join Prose?
I needed an outlet again. I was once part of a great website for writers and it gave me a chance to explore my potentials. Unfortunately that site is gone, which led be to a depressing state where I could no longer write for myself anymore.
So here I am. I am writing because I wish to show the world my hidden potential. I'm here to voice my opinion through reviews and tap into my unlimited imagination. I'm here to escape from my stress from college and life in general. I'm here because I love doing what I do, which is to write and entertain.
Education: Some college, Majoring in Geology
3 years from now: Who fucking knows?
The Prose Universe Part 10
Inside of the Emperor’s Palace, OnyxCity, Salinger Twain, Tyla, Mr. Dusty Grien, Ms. Firdaus, and Ms. Vyxyn were all sitting down and trying to come up with a plan. They had come to realize that the guards were spying on them. Emperor Jim Lamb had made it seem like they were his honored guest. He pulled out all the stops. He had the chef throw them a feast, right there on the spot when in reality, they were actually his prisoners. Tyla and Ms. Firdaus had made this discovery earlier that day.
Tyla and Ms. Firdaus had stumbled upon the emperor’s garden. The garden was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen. It had everything. Apples, bananas, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, lettuce, and so much more. They were amazed by the delicious smell of the fruits and vegetables. As they slowly walked through the garden they had heard footsteps. The footsteps kept getting louder and louder. Tyla was frozen with fear. She didn’t know if they were supposed to be in the emperor’s garden. Ms. Firdaus, thinking quickly had grabbed Tyla and pulled her behind a bush. As the footsteps got closer, they started hearing voices. It sounded like the palace guards. “Word has it, that the Emperor has finally developed a plan to end this war once and for all.” said a guard. “I hope so I’m sick of this war. Hey, do you think that’s why he has us spying on those freaks who trespassed onto the palace instead of offing their heads?”, said another guard. Ms. Firdaus and Tyla glanced at each other, both looking horrors struck at the idea of the Emperor offing their head and of the fact that they were being spied on. A third guard chimed in. “Maybe, but I think it’s because he’s got a crush on one of those freaks.” “Aw, that sexy lady”, the other two guards cried. (The palace guards often referred to Ms. Vyxyn as “that sexy lady”) “He can have her. I like my women young. Give me the two youngest ones.They can have all of this” the fourth and final guard said. Behind the bushes, Tyla blushed as she realized that the guard had been talking about her and OnyxCity. “Look at this fool. He thinks all women want his stupid ass.”, the first guard said. The second and third guards laughed. “You see these abs. (pointing to his chest) All women want to feel these abs. Don’t hate because your fat ass ain't got no abs to speak of.”, said the fourth guard. The second and third guard laughed again. The voices slowly grew quieter. Ms. Firdaus and Tyla stayed quiet until they were sure they were out of earshot. “We got to tell the others”, they whispered to each other.
Later that day, everyone had gathered around in an area where Ms. Firdaus and Tyla were sure the guards couldn’t listen in and told everyone what they had overheard. “Why would the emperor need us to end the war once and for all.”, said Salinger Twain. “If I had to guess, it’s because we’re from the future.”, said Tyla. Everyone looked at Tyla confused. “He’s hoping that he can travel back in time and stop the war from happening in the first place. He’s spying on us because he wants to know how we got here and for some reason, he figured he couldn’t just ask us.”, said Tyla. Everyone thought about it but quickly agreed that Tyla might be right. “Well it’s official, we can’t stay here.”, said OnyxCity “We can’t exactly walk out the front door either. We’re going to need an escape plan.”, said Mr. Dusty Grien. “Where do we go once we escape. We don’t know where the others are or how to find them?”, said Salinger Twain. “We will cross that bridge when we get to it sugar. For now, we just need to escape”, said Ms. Vyxyn. “We have to be careful. If our plan doesn’t pan out, then the Emperor will off our heads.”, said Ms. Firdaus. There was a long moment of silence as everyone thought of an escape plan that wouldn’t get them killed. “ I have a plan”, said Salinger Twain. “ Alright, here is what we are going to do….”
At the Clock Bell Tower in Another Dimension.
Chained-In Shadow, the girl who mankind mistakenly referred to as “Father” Time, had finally figured out where time had been disturbed and in what dimension. She was surprised to have found it so soon, as there was an infinite number of dimensions. However, before she could do anything about it she had to visit “Mother” Nature. Chained-In Shadow was regretting this visit already.
Prose Universe Update
I have not forgotten about Prose Universe. However, I have had writer's block. I could keep trying to push through, but everything I came up with was trash and that would ruin the story. I will update the story as soon as I can. I promise.
Prose Laboratories (V.1, Pt. 3)
"Salinger Twain? A? 17? YoungWriter?" Snowshoerabbit cries in joy, nearly running up to the quartet. "First dragons come to life and now I'm meeting the four superheroes of our city? It's too much to handle!" The doorway is vacant, so to stop people from coming in, I rush to close them. The rest of us, including myself, move to the side of the room.
The quartet walks deliberately towards the green eyed beast.
"Though you may look brilliant, you are troublesome," YoungWriter starts calmly.
"You are like the beasts of our school, the bully within," 17 continues, while moving closer to the dragon. It is shrinking is size and fear.
"The flames to your mouth shall cease, never to set aflame a single hair," said A.
Now it was Salinger Twains's turn. "Stop and rest from this war. Head to the heavens where you will soar," he says, stepping in with the rest.
In unison they speak, "Leave this body, you must by sore. This is the end, for evermore." The dragon went limp and it's body dissolved into burnt paper.
Smoke wafted up from the destroyed Machine. A limmer of the shiny iron of the machine is visible through the ash and charred, bubbled metal.
"That is all. A, YoungWriter, go home. 17, stay," Salinger Twain commanded his fellows, moving towards me.
"Thank you so much for saving us. It was my fault, wasn't it? Of course it was I always mess up. Oh no! I'm rambling now, god I'm such a mess. Sorry I'm rambling-" I rant, but Salinger Twain cuts me off.
"No it's not your fault, your paper described small dragons, so that what it should have made. The Machine did malfunction," he adjusts his tie, running a hand through his hair. "but for reasons unknown to you, you will remember all of this, and none of them will. The Machine will be gone. This building will be an online newspaper and magazine company. 17 will stay her under a pseudonym in case someone remembers something. Now, Ms. Person, go home. Leave and go. Be here tomorrow." Salinger Twain turns to 17 and uses grand gestures and tells her what to do. She nods and looks at me, then back at him. I walk out of the yellow double doors down the stairs and to the tube to go to my flat.
The ride home is uninteresting. Nobody talks about what happened at Prose Laboratories. Listening to an album from a recent musical, I get off at my stop and climb the stairs to street level. I walk a small distance to the 4 level building that I call home. Once inside, I climb the four sets of stairs to the top floor. My flat at the end of the hall is silent. I unlock the door and kick my shoes off by the door. I shut the door. Grabbing a bottle of water, I plop down on the couch and turn on the news.
"-test reports are saying that the creature is flying around Kensingten Gardens, famous for their Esther Flowers. It has not attacked yet, and the military is coming up with a plan to destroy it as we speak." The newswoman speaks with an video of a large blood red dragon over the garden in the background.
All I say is, "Aw shit."
“Hold me closer,” I beg. My angelic-eyed demon secures me in her arms.
My wish is her command.
Gemnah Maley Bray