Hybrid Coffee Morning
The Hybrid Coffee Morning continues, yet this month it felt a lot more hybrid than usual. Eamon, who writes the in-person blog, was mainly chatting on Zoom to those of us in the online Coffee Morning. He even joked that Zoom was winning 1:0 to the Blind Tiger.
It was lovely to see everyone sitting enjoying coffee and scones as Eamon gave us a nice aerial view of the table of goodies with his phone camera. He obviously tempted Blaithin, who was sitting in her freezing cold van, hungry, and in need of a nice cuppa. But, thankfully, he had one waiting for her when the meeting finished. I hope it made up for tempting us all in the first place. I only got my scone today, when I braved the storm to go into a local café for a bit of time alone after an insanely busy couple of days.
Everyone was happy to see each other. Full of smiles and feeling the joy of reconnection. A lovely older gentleman arrived at Blaithin’s van again this month for a quick chat and to make a donation. It was nice seeing Blaithin interact with him and he waved to us all on Zoom from outside her van. Blaithin also waved for those in the coffee shop from her van, which was parked a short distance away. This sparked a chat about the natural curiosity we all have about what’s happening in there or with that person we haven’t seen in a while.
Meeting and networking with people who have something in common with us plays a huge part in the success of our mental health ‘journey’. ‘Journey’ is very much a buzzword for life, even in the literary world. But what does it really mean, and, more importantly, what is our destination? We all know that ‘happiness is not the end goal, it’s the journey’. I think the best film I can think of to describe this journey is a truly marvelous one starring Domhnall Gleeson called “About Time”. In it, Gleeson learns that the men in his family have the power to travel back in time and change anything about their lives in order to make themselves happier in the present. They only develop this power when they’ve reached the age of twenty-one.
A lot of awful things happen within Gleeson’s life – including the death of his father, and his sister ending up with a very untrustworthy gentleman. Gleeson works hard to find joy – and often travels back in time to relive a day to make it ‘perfect’. He isn’t aware, however, of an important catch. If he goes back before the birth of his son, he will end up with a completely different son when he returns to the present. So, Gleeson has a conundrum, he must decide which is more precious to him – perfection, or his son. I’m not going to tell you what he chooses because the film is too good to spoil. But, this movie plays on the constant question that comes up within our society: ‘If you could do it all again, what would you leave out?’ What negatives in your life would you erase? What blessings would that power of that eraser have on your life? Would you finally find acceptance? Or would it be a curse that you put in a drawer that you leave firmly shut, in case you erase everything you’ve ever loved in your pursuit of perfection?
It’s an age-old question and one that we grapple with more than we’d like to admit, I’m sure. At the end of the day, though, one of the most valuable life lessons we can learn is to take the good with the bad. To accept both as part and parcel of life. But the most valuable lessons we learn are what we choose to do with the bad. Where we allow it to take us. It’s intriguing to me to see so much writing about mental health filter onto our T.V. screens. Right now, we’re being drip-fed. We’re getting a taste for real reality on screen and we are ready and waiting for the water to flow. I, myself, hope to be part of that process. I have written two feature films now. The first, although I am super proud of it, was a practice run. It was my initiation into screenwriting as a medium. I hope the second feature film I have written, which I have been working on for nine years of my young life, is the star of the show. I see it shining in my head as a beacon of light for young people who I want to encourage through my writing. I am a qualified secondary school teacher and I taught for two years. I enjoyed the people more than the work. I’d rather chat than teach but my background has very much influenced the type of writer I am blossoming into.
I am a huge fan of Dermot Kennedy. I watched a performance he did on YouTube during one of the lockdowns, where he wore a jumper with the phrase ‘Dreams Blossom in Time’ on it. I loved the sentiment of the message and it’s a great motto to live by. I am embarrassed at self-plugs, and I am only recently starting to tell my fellow writing buddies about this blog. Their enthusiasm for my chosen field and genre is really inspiring. We never know how powerful sharing our journey can be for others. We may never know the impact that we have on the people around us but they will remember who turned the light back on for them. They will remember who opened up their curtains and reintroduced them to the world that exists beyond their four walls. They will remember the chats and the banter. They will remember the coffee morning.
So, if you’ve been inspired by either the blog or the fabulous Havin’ a Laugh book and would like to try out a spot of writing for yourself, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Book Two is open for discussion. However, it will be themed. At the moment, we are proposing the importance of connections but we are open to suggestions. If you have any talents, any friends, any favours you feel you can utilise, please get in touch. Whether it’s writing, graphics, time-tabling, computer skills, logistics, we need you.
Therapy through creation is a very powerful thing and can work wonders for anyone.
Our next Hybrid Coffee Morning is happening on Monday the 7th of February. Anyone is welcome to pop into the Blind Tiger to say hello or register online to attend by zoom. For online attendees please register in advance to get an email zoom link on the morning.