Leyla Jospehine worked with the families at Expecting Something in Wester Hailes to explore spoken word performance and telling stories through poetry.
Going into a new group can be daunting.
I am a writer and poet which can sometimes sound intimidating or boring and can really put people off.
That’s why when I found out that two of the mothers from Expecting Something at WHALE were also writers I could relax.
It’s really common for people to feel intimidated when it comes to writing, especially when their only experiences are from school. Who can blame them? It’s tied up with all sorts of rules, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, marks – it’s a total minefield. We have it drilled into us from English in High School, that there is a right way to write and a wrong way to write. I believe that writing is for everyone and those rules really don’t matter but I can understand why so many are hesitant.
That’s why I was so impressed with the mums from Expecting Something. They already had a practice, they were already confident writers, willing to share their work, and their work was great.
On my first session, I worked with one of the mums and her son. Zac Scott was also working with us, composing and accompanying with music. Mum had brought in her poetry and we looked over it. We discussed each piece what it meant and why she wrote it. It became clear to me that she started writing for the same reason as I did. It’s a way of self reflecting, working through situations, getting jumbled thoughts on a page instantly makes them clearer and simpler. We recorded some of poetry, Zac made melodies to go with them and the wee boy looked on proud of his mum, adding a couple of screams and giggles here and there to make it all sound even more awesome! The baby’s granny was also there encouraging her and telling stories.
In the next session, another mum joined us with some incredible hip hop verses which comment on society. She had found a way of using writing show her wise insight on current politics and what’s going on in the world. Her daughter screamed with delight and played while we recorded mum’s verses.
It was so cool for me to be able to work with these women as fellow artists, only offering advice rather than teaching from scratch. They both have a really clear writing voice. I look forward to hearing what they write in the future.
I edited the sound recordings into something they can show others with pride. We have made a total of 9 tracks with topics from politics to pregnancy tests! I hope that the mums share them with their babies. I have no doubt that they’ll be writing poetry just like their mums in no time!