A talking elk, a turtle, and powerful motivation

Having been without my computer during Week 37, I got it back, mended with a new hard drive and fresh Operating System, and then I had days of getting all the other software I need back onto it during Week 38. Actually, I left it sitting by itself for a day because Anna At The Ambler offered me a lift down to the Talk About Local 2013 unconference, held in Middlesbrough. I will probably blog about that this week.

Earlier in the week, I had been at a book launch for Liam Barrington-Bush‘s Anarchists in the Boardroom, organised by Stephanie Cole (who also founded the Newcastle Social Media Surgery). Liam has previously contributed a post to Weekly Blog Club, but I hadn’t realised that our Louise Brown had worked with him. Then I saw that Lorna Prescott had organised one of the launch events, and that Dan Slee was tweeting about what Liam was saying… You see the pattern here? Social media is enabling us to have conversations with people whom we would never have met before, and I find that people who think and do things to try to make their bit of the world better often have some ideas in common. One of the common ideas is to keep or return systems to a human scale, with people at the heart of things.

There were some very moving posts in Week 38. Two were particularly outstanding and I really hope that people will read them and pass them on to others. Firstly, Kathryn Graham’s Just An Ordinary September Day. She is waiting for a heart and double lung transplant, and wrote about her thoughts as she was cooking for some friends and her family. Something that everyone should know is that there is a shortage of organ donors. You can help Kathryn and the 7,000+ people waiting for organs by signing up to be an organ donor. I am sure that all Weekly Blog Club members would join me in hoping that Kathryn doesn’t have to wait much longer.

In the second must-read post of the week, David Hall revealed a painful personal experience in What motivates me? on the Ayrshirehealth blog that helps drive him as a medical professional to put people at the core of practice. I have always tried to remember that my colleagues, the other people I meet in their professional roles, people in the bus queue, are all human beings but this post really made me think. I admire David greatly for writing it and sharing, and even more for using his own experience to be even more passionate about helping others.

Enhanced patient experience by Ken Donaldson and Peter Bryden wrote for the dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog about workshops to encourage a better experience for patients. At a recent big event that they organised, Ewan Kelly introduced people to the concept of Values Based Reflective Practice (VBRP). The “Values Based” element of this sounds interesting. There is a question in the middle of this post that I wanted to emphasise: “Whose needs are being met?” I have wondered this sometimes in my own experiences of being a patient in the NHS. Look out for Ewan Kelly’s post in Week 39: Rays of humanity.

I was really sorry to hear that Karen Hart has been through a horrible experience again, but also smiled at and was intrigued by the concept of her story’s elk character, and her daughter’s exhortation to Kill the Talking Elk. Karen writes beautifully and I was interested to read about what element of writing she finds tricky. I admire her for writing fiction. I have intended to try writing fiction for decades but have not even decided on a genre yet. Karen had prompted my dreams of luscious oil paints during the week when she mentioned an art supplies store near her from which I ordered paints in the distant past (when I could afford oil paints). Of course, an artist should be able to paint with any old paints but… the textures and precise colours of the good paints and the way in which they mix makes a very different painting experience (and brighter paintings).

Dan Slee is a man who understands the power of a good picture! This week he shared his understanding, a stat and a list of where to find pictures in BIG PICTURES: How pictures make Facebook posts fly (and where to get them). I would add that if you spot an image that would be good in a blog about an event, it might be worth asking if you could use it even if it doesn’t have a Creative Commons licence. I’m usually happy to let people use an image or two from an event (without a fee) in their blog if they ask, if they are not blogging for money, and if they put a credit with it (even better a link to my Flickr or web page). I would be even happier if people offered me some money to use my pictures, of course (not least so that I could replace my broken DSLR and take more photos).

Congratulations are due to professional photographer Mark Wood as he reveals in his blog this week that he has finally got his UK Press Pass! Read about what sort of events he has photographed and will be photographing in Hard Core Press Core. Best of luck, Mark! Watching the press photographers at an event a couple of years ago, with their stepladders and enormous lenses and huge equipment boxes, I realised that I could never be that sort of photographer. I couldn’t even carry the equipment!

Louise Atkinson’s post for our Week 38 (her Week 47) – Art and research Week 47: Working with collections and visiting @ArtemisLeeds – was about the kind of territory that is far more familiar to me than the press pack’s stepladder forest: collections of historical material. When I was an undergraduate, I remember a museum lending me a piglet’s ribcage to draw and I was wondering recently if it’s possible to draw skeletons in museums these days. I am already curious about what Louise will make in response to the objects in the Artemis Leeds handling collection. I would love to see more artists working with collections and giving us fresh views of them through curating or interpreting them visually.

Karl Green’s post – Sophie Gets the Best of Me – made me aware of some popular culture that I had never noticed before: the songs of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. I had noticed Sophie because of her unusual shape of face. How much popular culture have you managed to miss over the years? Watching the programmes that look back on decades, I sometimes think that I must have lived in an alternate universe at the time because the culture seems so different.

You might want to take Georgia Parker’s advice in Life Lesson 1: Make like a turtle on taking a breather after reading Chris Bolton’s amusing and accurate Helping without being directly helpful – Mandarin English and Sabotage with very useful links. Every profession has its own jargon but few are so rich with implied semantics as the Mandarin English language. I should point out that this is different from civil-servantese, an argot that is being replaced by Plain English.

Thank you very much to all who read, appreciated and shared the Week 38 posts, as well as to those who wrote them. If you have been inspired to write, do visit our About page to find out how to contribute blogs to Weekly Blog Club.

Many thanks also to the lovely and generous-hearted Kate Bentham and Louise Brown for looking after Weekly Blog Club for Week 39 and Week 40 respectively. Help with looking after Weekly Blog Club is always much appreciated – and it’s so much better for everyone if it isn’t just me wittering on every week!

Have a good week of reading and creating blogs!


Janet E Davis

Summary of Week 38 posts

Enhanced patient experience by Ken Donaldson and Peter Bryden on dghealth (Dumfries and Galloway Health) blog.

Kill the Talking Elk by Karen JK Hart.

Helping without being directly helpful – Mandarin English and Sabotage by Chris Bolton.

Sophie Gets the Best of Me by Karl S Green.

BIG PICTURES: How pictures make Facebook posts fly (and where to get them) by Dan Slee.

What motivates me? by David Hall on the Ayrshirehealth blog.

Art and research Week 47: Working with collections and visiting @ArtemisLeeds by Louise Atkinson.

Hard Core Press Core by Mark Wood.

Just An Ordinary September Day by Kathryn Graham.

Life Lesson 1: Make like a turtle by Georgia Parker.

Weekly Blog Club was set up in early January 2012 to encourage people to blog regularly, and especially to encourage those working in and with the public sector, charities and voluntary organisations in the UK to find their own 'voice' through writing.

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Posted in #WeeklyBlogClub summary, archives, blogging, charitable trusts, communicating, cooking, cultural heritage, elk, family, fine art, friendship, good causes, health, health services, hierarchy, humanity, humour, ideas/innovation, languages, leadership, learning, museums, music, photography, public sector, relationship, social care, social media, society, Third sector, training, turtles, unconferences, working practices

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