Writer’s Corner

This is a new blog which has been set up to showcase the writing of people involved in the Bethlem Gallery be they artists, volunteers, past or current patients. We currently have a writing group open to people who have been part of SLaM services at some point in their lives which takes place on the 1st Wednesday afternoon of the month in the gallery studio. This blog is an extension of the group and a space to showcase the work from the participants. So please read on and any comments or feedback is welcome.

Please note that the contents of the blog are the views of the writer alone and not of the gallery.


This week’s Writer’s Corner showcases a collective work by Rob Debbie and Ben:

It can be so hard to communicate sometimes. I think that people interpret what we say or write in a multitude of ways. This makes communication a potential minefield. Aside from hello and goodbye just about every word in the English language is loaded with an intention to heal, to harm, to pacify and to charm. There is a language within the workplace that bears no relation to reality. Maybe the staff on the wards are unaware that they have been indoctrinated into something so much larger than a staff handbook. They work under a belief system- constructed by words- again no connection to reality. And this whole artifice rests on a premise – there is a thing called madness and there is a thing called reality.



Lily met Alfred at Art College. They bumped into each other in the café. Lily was with her friends when Alfred came up to her and said “Me Adam you Eve” which made Lily laugh and from that moment on they were inseparable. Alfred was studying graphic design and Lily was studying fine art (known as fart) Alfred had the desire to cover the world with his pictures and graphics on every supermarket shelf. Lily romantically held the view that one or two masterpieces should be enough to get her into the big wide art world. Lily was so in love with Alfred that she painted a portrait of them both as medieval king and queen. Alfred loved the portrait so much that he used it for the cover of a novel. Next Lily painted a portrait of them both as Harlequin and Columbine, she found the diamond shapes in the costumes tiresome but after struggling with it she reached a conclusion, just in time for her degree show. Alfred and Lily both got a 2:1 and both were pleased to get that. Soon after the degree show Alfred disappears.



The light was eerie, creepy, didn’t seem to have a home in it’s surroundings. As I strolled along eager to get in and out of the freezing December weather, I found it so captivating that my eyes didn’t leave the glow from the first moment it became apparent to me. It spoke to me in a completely alien language, I had no frame of reference with which to catalogue it. It was unique. I guess from the very first moment I saw it I knew I wasn’t going home. The wind, the gloom and the cold biting at my face had ceased to influence me at all. Home, a cup of tea, and some late night TV held no attraction anymore. I walked towards it, eagerly and obediently. My outwards focus switched off, and I became my inner rhythm; a quiet drum beat that kept me company as I marched. Within a short space of time I realised it was situated near the church, an ornate little building, quaint and cosy, dating from the 1700s. The peace and the calm this building will offer added to the pull. By the time it had become apparent that the source of the light was the graveyard rather than the church, the light had taken on a new dimension, which was a soft pulsating heat. Transfixed and enchanted, the heat massaged my skin like soft camp cotton wool. My internal drum beat, the sublime glow and the sensual comfort of the heat held me like a puppet in it’s grip. I marched onwards, now aware that I am grinning like a lunatic, with saliva dripping slowly down my chin. I started to laugh, a chilling “he he he”, the situation now seeming incredibly comical.