A New Collection

     I have decided to make use of the fact that the UK is on ‘lockdown’.  Since I am unable to leave the house, I will make use of the time to be creatively productive.  I believe that the best way for people to cope with being confined to home, is for people to think about what fulfills them, what interests them and what do they enjoy?  During our stint of confinement at home, we should try to protect time to do things that we will enjoy, be intellectually stimulated by and that we have a passion for.   See the opportunity in this situation.  As doors close, others can be opened.

     We now have the perfect opportunity to experience quality free time.  How often do you catch yourself thinking ‘I would love to….but I just don’t have time?’  Well, now you do have the time, will you make good use of it?  Why not have a dabble at some art or crafts?  Why not sing or learn to play a musical instrument?  What about physical exercise or dance?  How about writing a story, some poetry or something journalistic?  Perhaps you read my blog?  If so, why not take some time to revisit articles I have written and then write some comments after any article that has been of interest?  Do you enjoy gardening?  Maybe redesign your garden layout and learn about plants, flowers and vegetables?  Perhaps even make a vegetable bed and plan to grow some food ingredients; given how things are with panic buying in the shops, it may help to grow some extra food?  What about brewing beer at home of even making a unique home wine?  Do you bake or enjoy trying to cook new recipes?  Could this be a good time to get a room painted and decorated?  Is there something you would like to make?

     The possibilities are endless.  This really could be the ideal time to try new things individually and as a family or household.  I have decided that I will create one saleable artwork per week for the duration of the lockdown, if not for even longer.  In fact, I might aim to complete 12-20 pieces.  This could be the basis for a small exhibition in the future or may simply be a new range of artwork to put out for sale.  Either way, it’s a productive and enjoyable thing to do and so makes sense to use this lockdown time to enjoy indulging. I’m going to also aim to publish a new book at the end of a twelve week period, so let us see how far I get in putting a book together.   I’m also aiming to enhance my health, over this time, by committing to a daily routine of exercise; a minimum of thirty minutes of exercise every day.  I also have a considerable amount to do in the garden.

     There, so you see that I am putting a ‘What I can do.” attitude into place and setting myself some goals for things that are of interest and enjoyment to me.  My goals include targets that offer health benefit and which are in some way useful, too.  A win win situation.  Whether I achieve my goals or not, is okay.  The fact that I would get some things started or progressed that are all enjoyable or beneficial can only be a good thing.

     Are you a ‘What I can do.’ type of person or have you found yourself prone to a more ‘What I cannot do.’ outlook, in these very testing times?  As ever, I would be interested in your views and experiences, so please do feel free to comment on this, or any other of my articles.  I will post photos of my projects, as I begin and progress them.  For now, here’s an artwork that I completed yesterday:

Sandown, Isle of Wight. 2020.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.


Wherefore ART Thou?

It has been several months since I have reported on The Art Shack.  As a group, we have been unable to meet since December.  This has been due to the death of my beautiful mum and then the onset of the Coronavirus in the UK and all of the disruption that it has brought to our lives across the country.

This does not mean, however, that individual group members have not been dabbling with all things art and crafts.  I will soon offer a more detailed update on what some of the group have been working on.

I have only just done a little sketching and then creating a draft artwork which has served to trigger the idea of building a themed collection.  I aim to make at least 12 artworks in a theme; a project to indulge in, while we are all on lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

Here’s a look at my latest sketching/drafting:

Thank you for bearing with me.  Articles about The Art shack will resume shortly.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.

Why Wouldn’t You Do This?

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

     I have been watching the news, this evening, on television.  I cannot be sure, but there is a possibility that I will be one of the 1.5 million people who will receive a letter telling me that I have an underlying health condition that makes me more vulnerable to risk, should I catch the Covid-19 virus.  This is because I have chronic asthma, in addition to Parkinson’s.  The virus tends to cause pneumonia and so those with respiratory illnesses are more vulnerable to this virus.

     I was thinking about how so many people are making changes to their usual way of living and are, alongside those of us who may have to, voluntarily choosing to self-isolate in order to support efforts to close down this virus.  There is a truly admirable effort taking place around the country and, certainly, in other countries.

     It struck me that there has been no better time for a population of people to consider empathising with those who, through disability, cannot get out of their homes easily, regularly or even at all, under usual circumstances.  Think about it.  Think about how we have all been reacting to the increasing lack of access to things we may otherwise take for granted.

     What has it felt like to not be able to go to the pub?  What has it felt like to not be able to get into a building that you usually want or need to get into?  What has it been like to be told that you can no longer go to work?  What has it been like to live on reduced funds or to have only a limited amount of food?  What has it been like to have needs, challenges or difficulties that matter to you but which are overlooked because the needs of the wider population are being considered?  What has it felt like to not be able to get your children to school?  What has it been like to not have the freedom to take your dogs out for a walk?  What has it felt like to have an authority tell you how you will be able to live, rather than having the freedom to live how you truly want or need to?

     I could go on.  I think you will understand my point, here.  As frustrating as this situation is, and may yet become, please do think every now and then that this type of life experience is very like normal life to a person with a disability.  What would it be like for these type of feelings and experiences to be your ‘normal’?

     Whether alone or in discussion with others, please do consider how the experience that the whole country is having, resembles many aspects of typical daily life for a person with a disability.  Maybe even just spend five minutes writing down how you may now be able to empathise with a disabled person.  Perhaps consider how you will view and interact with people with disabilities, once this whole Corona virus nightmare comes to an end.  If you are, yourself, in a position of authority, power or influence, I wonder what you will be able to do, now that you can empathise with a disabled person’s experience to some extent, to help make life easier and more accessible for people with disabilities, in the future?

     I would also add that this exercise can be repeated to not only empathise with those who are disabled, but it can be repeated to consider the experience of a person of low means or minimal income.  Many of the barriers that a disabled person may experience, can also be the same for those who society would consider as ‘working class’ or ‘lower class’.  Financial disadvantage can place considerable restrictions on freedoms that a wealthier person may take for granted; freedom to choose.  Freedom to travel.  Freedom of self-expression and communication.  Freedom of available time.

     Covid-19 has arrived on our islands but, as a community of people who share these beautiful lands, we could do a lot more to try to bridge the gaps between us and, it is my belief, that taking the time to empathise with another person’s experience would do more to break through such barriers than anything.  This is something that requires minimal effort; just several minutes of time and a willingness to learn about others.

    (C) Dean G. Parsons.  2020.


A Moment Without Loss

For just a moment
Is it wrong to want to die?
To avoid the pain
That I’ve faced within my life?

For just a moment
Is it wrong to want to die?
To avoid the hurt
And the loss that makes me cry?

For just a moment
Is it wrong to want your dream?
To avoid the grief
And live happily again?

For just a moment
Is it wrong to want to die?
To avoid the love
For love always says goodbye.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.

Like This

Like standing in the rain on New Year’s Eve.
Like picturing the perfect year ahead.
Like the rain brought something hard to believe.
Like a reality that I would dread.

Like the rain falling so hard that it stings.
Like the rain has also blurred my vision.
Like I question my perception of things.
Like each day demands a new decision.

Like the rainfall forms my very own tears.
Like the colours no longer want to be.
Like the darkening clouds support my fears.
Like all that mattered was washed out to sea.

Like a break in the clouds allows in light.
Like a familiar voice I can hear.
Like a missing piece bravely puts things right.
Like reconnecting with someone held dear.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.

Your Words Make a Difference

     It’s almost 5am and here I am, sat at my computer but in a very, very different new year than the one that I had expected.  Perhaps it is a dream?  If it is, then it is the worst nightmare ever.  Perhaps there’s some confusion in my head, caused by Parkinson’s Disease?  Yet, I am surrounded by people who show the same pain on their faces and I am receiving messages from people whose words echo those of my own deep sorrow.  No, this is all too real.

     I felt that I should write something about the fact that my beautiful mum died just a few days ago.  You see, I know there are others out there who are going through the heartache of loss, too, right now.  I want to reach out to everyone experiencing loss, at this time, and let them know that it is going to be okay; that they will come through their pain and that life will find a way to feel some sort of ‘normality’, once more.  In time.  I pause, though, as I think of normality.  How can life be in any way normal when a person so central to your life is suddenly so very absent?  Yet, I know from experience, a new normality will evolve and we will all find a way forward.

     I have been humbled by the most beautiful outpouring of kindness, these past days.  From people I know only minimally, through to those who are the inner-most circle of mine and my family’s; people reaching out to say that they care.  People taking the time to put words together using so many methods.  Whether it be a text, an email, a tiny comment on social media or, indeed, a message via social media, a card in the post, a letter in the post, a voicemail or a video chat, a phone call or those who see me in-person and express what is in their hearts and minds…so many ways in which people have communicated something meaningful and kind.  The power of words to gift each other with what we hold within, is beautiful.

     Use your words now; today.  Find a way to tell someone you care for, what is in your heart.  Let them know they are loved.  Life is far shorter than we ever stop to appreciate and perhaps I can tell you, based upon my experience at this very sad time, that the words we communicate to each other can make the difference.  Even at the saddest of times, when we are at our lowest and most vulnerable, the beauty of words can lift us to a place of strength, resilience and recovery from whatever we face.

     To everyone who has contacted me, in all of the different ways you have done so, I thank you.  You see, there has been a shipwreck.  I have survived.  I am in the water, holding onto some floating wreckage.  Every so often, a wave hits me hard and I wonder how to do this? Yet, the wave subsides and, until the next one hits, I recover another little part of my strength and drift closer to the shore.  Somehow, words of comfort and love reach me, as I cling to the wreckage and ride out the waves.  This enables me to focus on the shore, where I will again stand and where I will again enjoy just being.

     To anyone who is experiencing the grief of loss at this time, please know that you are not alone.  There are people everywhere who share your pain.  In my role as a psychotherapist, I used to offer my clients that pain is a symptom of love.  If there was no love, there would be no pain.  How beautiful is that love? How wonderful that something can hurt so very much; for it reveals the strength of love in a relationship.  It is what makes life meaningful.  Knowing this, would you be without your pain?  It would mean removing the love and I reckon none of us would choose to let go of the love we shared with our loved ones.  So just allow yourself to feel the pain.  Much of it will subside, in time; though not all.  It will, however, return to being more a feeling of love, not just the pain we feel right now.

Please help Dean raise funds for Brantham Ward at Ipswich Hospital.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.

Reclaim Power Over Anxiety

“Hi.  If you experience distress caused by thoughts, feelings, emotions and/or behaviours that are related to stress or anxiety, then you may want to purchase my ‘Mindfulness with Dean G. Parsons’ course.

I am building a series of podcasts, each of which can be stand-alone or used in the form of a course, which will teach you how to embed Mindfulness into your life in order to reclaim your sense of calmness, peacefulness and sense of safety.

At just £0.99, these podcasts will take you through the ethos of Mindfulness and you will learn about how Mindfulness will benefit you, how it works and how to change your feelings by implementing simple, yet effective, Mindfulness techniques..

Whether you need to use these techniques on an ad-hoc basis or whether you wish to build them into everyday life, you will learn that the things you think and feel need not trigger you into difficulty or distress.

Come with me.

You will find the podcasts at the ‘Podcasts Shop‘ page of this web site.  I hope that you enjoy the podcasts the learning and that these techniques will help you to rebuild a sense of self, trust and higher self-esteem.”

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.

Wishing You A Happy Year

“A huge THANK YOU to everyone who follows ‘Wordsmith’s Notebook’.

Your support and interest are greatly appreciated.

I love reading your comments. Thanks so much for participating.

Don’t forget to come and join me on Facebook and at Instagram, Twitter, Ello and You Tube.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2020!”

– Dean G. Parsons.

The Bewildered Painter

     I had fully intended to paint my village church, using acrylic.  Bear in mind that the only training I have ever had for art was at school in the 1980’s!  At the last meeting of the little art group, created with friends, earlier this month, I painted what was to be the background wash (is that even what you call it when using acrylic?) and I was pleased with how the colours were working.

     I had been working from a photo that I had taken; displayed on my tablet.  All seemed to be going well.  Then, having left the paint to dry, I returned to it and found that the paper had dried with some considerable bumps and ridges.  The paper was designed for the use of acrylic paint, so it was surprising to me that this would happen.

     I had dried the paintwork with the paper laying flat.  I discounted that as being the cause.  Perhaps the central heating we all have blaring at this time of year made the paint dry too rapidly?   I wondered whether perhaps I might leave too much water on my paint brush between colour change?  Would that cause the paint to be too wet and then dry badly?

     Here is the sheet of A4 paper with my background painted on to it.  You will note how it did not dry flat, quite clearly.

     Have you encountered this difficulty?  Do you know what may have caused the problem?  Do you know whether this can be fixed?  Would you simply suggest that I start again and see whether the same thing happens?

     Meanwhile, I would like to add how much fun there is to be had from dabbling with art, even for an untrained person.  If you are tempted to give it a go, please do.  It can be all too easy to feel lacking in skill and so reluctant to try.  Perhaps there is an art group in your area or, as I have done, set up a Facebook group among friends and then arrange between you to meet once per month, where possible, to practice art and crafts together.

(C) Dean G. Parsons, 2019.

Winter’s Magical Eve

Taken from my You Tube channel.  In this vlog, I recite a Christmas themed poem.  I hope you enjoy it and that you had a good Christmas/holiday season.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.