Lessons from Liz Lochhead

07 Oct

Today I met Scotland’s National Poet, Liz Lochhead. We were performing at a Lapidus event at Kelvingrove Art Gallery as part of the Scottish Mental and Arts Film Festival.

Liz did a sweep of the stalls just after she arrived. When she reached my stall she complimented me on my depressed bananas. Her exact words were “I love your bananas”. Here’s my stall:

I thanked her and gave her some postcards of the depressed bananas. Not long after that she took to the stage to close the event.

I enjoyed her poetry – she has such engaging bright eyes when she performs. I found it really interesting to hear her talk about her own journey with regards to mental health. There were two things she said that really stood out to me as good advice and I thought I’d share them with you:

Do something creative and allow yourself to be bad at it….

Liz showed us her sketch book and explained she wasn’t good at drawing but she loves doing it.

When Liz draws it helps her to find the words and solutions she needs for her poems. You need more than one creative outlet. If you’re not a professional writer then you have an advantage – you can write things without people expecting them to be good. If Liz writes people demand it’s good. When she draws there’s no pressure.

The second thing she said that stood out is this:

If you’re feeling depressed don’t write about your feelings, write about something else and the feelings will come through anyway..

Liz observed that we’re told so often to write about our feelings but actually, if we’re feeling down then we should write about other things. It’s much better to take the focus off ourselves and our feelings will always come through what we write anyway.

I totally agree with that. It’s good to get feelings out on paper just to understand them better but if you’re looking to shift your mood then writing about something else is the way forward.

Recently I wrote a poem about maths. It ended up saying so much of what I’ve been wanting to say but in a simple form and with a structure that wrote itself. My feelings came out without me trying to write about them – I was writing about maths.

So Liz was right. What do you think?


Posted by on October 7, 2012 in Banana me beautiful, Events, poetry, Writing


Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to “Lessons from Liz Lochhead

  1. belledelettres

    October 8, 2012 at 12:05 am

    love the wisdom of my fellow writers!


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