Two Years Blogging On WordPress

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WordPress sent me a notification that I have reached my two year anniversary of being a WordPress blogger. During that time I’ve seen some amazing photography by my peers, followed some awesome blogs from awesome people around the world, developed a new online community, taken advice about what camera would be better for my long term development, and some how I have 1,919 people follow my blog.

WordPress has been a wonderful platform for me, my prose and my photography.  I’m most grateful.

rhdr

Moving Home – Which Degree?

I’m excited, I’m focused, and occasionally a little anxious.

Although I don’t have a moving date as yet, it’s likely that I will be moving at the end of the month. I’m excited that I want to begin having contact with people, especially my peers and others in the creative community. Opportunity beckons.

It’s also getting close to a cut off point for deciding which course to study. Do I continue studying with the Open College of the Arts, or with the University for the Creative Arts. I’m very suited to distance learning, and I know that studying with the OCA provides me with as much opportunity as I wish to develop creatively, and flexibly. I’ve pulled off a coup by connecting with Laura Letinsky, and this tells me that I can create my own opportunities by studying this way. I value the tutors and the course material.

Studying with the UCA will give me access to a dark room, a vast library and work placements, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other students in other fields. But… I’m getting these opportunities with OCA students, and as an undergraduate I can access any university library.

When I put it in black and white like this I can see that I have a preference. Next week I will speak with student services at the Open College of the Arts, and then meditate before making a decision.

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THWEE – Challenge Accepted

Everyday   https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/the-white-elephant-dec-5/Teresa of the THE HAUNTED WORDSMITH,will be hosting a white elephant party. If you are unfamiliar with what a white elephant party is, it can be summed as a party where people exchange gifts that are meant to be funny (some are serious though, it’s up to the gift giver).THWWE

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How is this going to work? Like this:

Every day I kick the party off by listing three fellow bloggers and the gift I give them. No one is obligated to participate (though if people do, it’ll be more fun). If the gift recipient wants to participate, they will pick three bloggers and give them gifts. And so on until the following day. At that time I will share some of the funnier gifts that people have given or received.

I hope I don’t have to say that real gifts will not be given 🙂

You’ll see what I mean in a moment. In the meantime, if you do choose to accept your gift and join the party, please use THWWE as a tag. Thank you.

On to the party!

Here are the people that I gift and  nominate…

Michelle, from MwsR Writings, I give you still and peaceful waters, and the lil row boat. The small boat is so that you can take time out, time that’s just for you. Rest, breathe, relax.

oznor

Michelle, from From Famine To Feast, I give you the peace that I find in my spiritual home. A place in which there’s no need to think and work things out, a place to just be still with whatever arises. Be still and rest my friend.

cof

Niki, from Niki Flow, I can never give you the gift that you desire and deserve. I give you, Ben, and your family the gift of love.

Emulating Laura Letinsky

 

Standard: When You Take Away My voice – Photo Video Featuring DJ’s From Mars

When You Take Away My Voice

When You Take Away My Voice

 

The photo-montage and photo video are my own work, and the music is provided by Dj’s From Mars. I am very grateful that they gave me permission to use their work. Thank you DJ’s From Mars.

You can check Dj’s From Mars on many platforms including:-

  1. http://www.djsfrommars.com
  2. http://www.facebook.com/djsfrommars
  3. http://www.instagram.com/djsfrommarsofficial
  4. http://www.twitter.com/djsfrommars
  5. http://www.youtube.com/djsfrommarschannel
  6. http://www.youtube.com/alieninvasiontv
Dj's

Featured On No Stigmas

No Stigmas is a mental health organisation who has the aim of helping people to develop peer to peer communities, to provide mutual support to others with mental health difficulties. They also provide training so that you can support your self as a self-advocate, and be part of strong peer networks.

Anyone with mental health problems can join and registration is straightforward.

As well as a little intro that I put together they linked to a poem that I wrote last year about talking myself back from a suicide attempt to reaching out for support. It can be seen here.

We are not alone if we have the courage to reach out for support.

A couple sitting on the steps of a church in Durham UK
Friendship
Two pairs of friends. walking along #the street in Durham, near to the Castle and Cathedral.
Friendship

No Stigmas

Homelessness – People Are Only Invisible If We Choose To Ignore Them

The aim of this project is to encourage people to stop and speak to somebody that is sitting on the street or selling the Big Issue. If you do not have the time, then make eye contact as you walk past and wish them a good day. People are only invisible if we ignore them.

My motivation for this project developed from seeing a poster on several shop walls, which had been produced by a local council and several homeless charities. It stated that there was enough support by the council, soup kitchens and charities in the town, so could we stop giving to people on the streets, and donate to the charities instead. It also stated that by giving money we are deterring people from seeking help.

I am not saying that we should give money, but I found the poster to be a somewhat callous and cold-hearted approach to take. There are some wonderful homeless charities in the UK and I am in favour of the great work that they do. However, the posters raised questions for me. If you are homeless, what is it like to have people walk past you and ignore you? If the council and charities are winning the battle against homelessness then why are people on the streets? Why does the government rely on charities to try to improve the circumstances for homeless people and not do more? The posters, which are effectively asking the public to ignore the plight of people living on the streets, are encouraging us to further invalidate those individuals. The majority of the people who are on the streets ARE linked into their local council and charities, and these are failing individuals and to relieve homelessness.

The government piloted “No Second Night Out” in London during April 2011. Its stated aim is that they are ”Committed to ensuring that no individual arriving on the streets will sleep out for a second night.” and to “end rough sleeping in London”. The pilot has now been implemented nationwide. Although NSNO reports that is a success, the research from Crisis tells a different story “Government street counts and estimates give a snapshot of the national situation. The latest figures showed that 4,134 people slept rough across England on any given night in 2016 – a 16% increase compared to the previous year, and more than double the amount in 2010.” (Quote) With homelessness having doubled since 2010 we can see clearly that NSNO is not working.

Most homeless people have suffered trauma, a dysfunctional upbringing/home-life or have suffered from other forms of social exclusion. To be homeless is to be vulnerable, to be at risk of violence, to have restricted access to health care and to have less opportunity for well-being and employment. In December 2016, The Guardian newspaper reported: “of people who had slept rough in the past 12 months, 55.5% had experienced being verbally abused or harassed – 15 times higher than the general population.” (Quote).

When you meet someone on the street stop and have a chat. Acknowledgement and being valued as a member of society are basic human needs. It is also good to check whether people are accessing local support and if they are not then you can seek details of support services and provide them to the individual. You can contact Street Link if you know someone sleeping rough, and they will then look out for them, and link them in with local support. All councils have a Housing Options team, which provides guidance and support for homeless people. Most homeless people are aware of, and accessing local services, but it is useful information to have and to pass on if required.

If you would like to know more about homelessness or make a donation to the national charity for homeless people then please contact Crisis. Homelessness:-

If you have had at least 1 days’ pay from the armed forces then there are several charities who would like to support you. Combat Stress, Royal British Legion, SSAFA

There are many charities that support rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people and there are links to them below the photos.

Homelessness

 

L – July 2017

L does not like to sit with his hat in front of him, but circumstances have left him quite desperate. He prefers to sit without begging and allow the power of suggestion to present a question to passers by. When you see someone who needs help do you stop or do you pass them by?

Homelessness

 

J – May 2017

J is a combat veteran. Next time you see someone sitting on the street, stop and say hello. You may realise you have more in common than you think.

Homelessness

M – May 2017

Warm, friendly and despite his circumstance he remains hopeful and Jolly.

Homelessness

DB – May 2017

DB is intelligent, kind and funny. He is also ex-armed forces and says “Homelessness can happen to anyone”.

Homelessness

KJ and R – April 2017

KJ and R, are vulnerably housed. They both have physical and mental health issues. They find that friendship helps them cope with very challenging circumstances.

Homelessness

J and V – April 2017

J has been homeless for many years of his life. His only wish is that Nations and individuals work together to make the planet a better place.

Homelessness

MB – March 2017

MB was kind enough to allow me to take his photo. I have pixelated part of the image at his request.

Homelessness

R and E – March 2017

R and E both have serious health conditions to cope with, which are exacerbated by sitting on the streets.

Homelessness

R – March 2017

R is being informed he is not allowed to beg, and that if he does not move on then the police will be called to remove him. R praised some of the local police who have gone out of their way to help him, buy him a sandwich and have a chat with him.

Homelessness

M – March 2017

M has been told he cannot have his dog Rocky with him in temporary homeless accommodation. Rocky was R’s companion before he became homeless and has helped him to cope with his physical and mental health.

 

People are only invisible if we choose to ignore them is an ongoing project by Richard Keys – www.photosociology.info

References and Support Services

https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/about-homelessness/

http://www.nosecondnightout.org.uk/about-nsno/

https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/dec/23/homeless-crisis-report-attack-violence-sleeping-rough

Combat Stress

Crisis

Emmaus

Homeless Link

Royal British Legion

Shelter

SSAFA

Street Link

The Big Issue Foundation

 

I would like to express my gratitude to Shaneka and The Soiological Mail for publishing this essay.