The time has sadly come when we must say ‘goodbye’ to our Creative Writer in Residence, Jayne Woodhouse, with this week marking her final visit (for now!) to Horatio’s Garden South West.
Whilst her residency might be coming to an end, one thing is certain; her creative legacy will most definitely endure in the garden and beyond.
For two patients in particular, Jayne’s workshops have been totally transformational. Both have joined her regularly throughout her afternoons in the sanctuary and it was this that not only helped them to discover their talent for writing, but their passion for it too.
Their enthusiasm was always tangible, even more so now Jayne’s become an established part of the garden. With her sessions coming to a close, Head Gardener Stephen spoke of how much Jayne’s stint in the sanctuary had helped many people, commenting too that the two especially keen patients are now writing independently during the week. Both he and Jayne noted the significance of this, particularly considering one of them had been rather reserved about engaging in the activity initially.
As well as hearing from Head Gardener Stephen, Jayne received some immensely insightful comments from both patients too, which perfectly illustrate the positive effect of writing and indeed a discrete residency.
Together, they told Jayne how important it was to them to have discovered creative writing, with each feeling that it was a satisfying, uplifting distraction from life in hospital.
Elaborating, the more initially reluctant of the two patients shared that writing had given him a “new activity and interest in life,” which prompted a really interesting discussion about the garden and the role writing had played in revealing its true meaning to him.
He said, “Horatio’s Garden has given me so much” and that writing has been “a good way of healing.”
This led to the other patient joining the conversation, telling Jayne that although they both knew being in the garden did them good, they didn’t fully understand what that meant until they came to write about it.
He shared, “you don’t understand your feelings or responses to a place until you write them down,” adding, “many patients enjoy being in the garden, but I feel both I and my fellow writer have come to understand its impact much more deeply through these sessions.”
Jayne was truly touched by how grateful they and others have been for her presence in the garden, appreciating everyone’s kind words regarding all the workshops and brilliant resources she has offered over the past month or so.
As a final flourish, she is now kindly putting together a little portfolio of each writer’s work, which makes for wonderful reading. She is printing copies to pass onto both patients, who will undoubtedly appreciate the thoughtful memento.
Memories of the residency will similarly remain with Jayne forever. As she left the garden, she encapsulated her experience with a simple sentence:
“I really feel this is an incredible insight into the power of creative writing and the role a special place has in developing that understanding.”
We couldn’t agree more and will always be thankful to Jayne for bringing such a gift to Horatio’s Garden.