On Sunday, our Los Angeles Women’s Parkinson’s group, now known as Twitchy Women, met to explore creativity in People with Parkinson’s. Many of us have found new creative outlets since our diagnosis, doing things we never thought we were capable of. This has been documented many times in the Parkinson’s literature. So we thought it would be an interesting way to spend a Sunday morning.
We began with drumming. One of our members, Naomi, has been going to Japanese drumming classes. She brought many improvised “drums” which were distributed to the group. She begain by using sticks and tapping them to “Hello, my name is Naomi”. Each person introduced herself in the same way. And then the fun began. starting with one person tapping a background beat, and others joining in one by one with their own beats. According to Naomi, the benefits of drumming can be physical, especially if you use big Japanese drums, and mental as you mirror other drummers, repeating their beat sequences and creating your own.
Amy Carlson has been making videos as a creative outlet. And, she has been dancing. As someone who never danced before, she was surprised that modern dance was something that she could now do, and do well. So well that her dance instructor invited her to participate in a show, which Amy thought was a recital. It turned out that the show was actually a professional show. She showed several videos of herself dancing, and using her PD movements as part of the dance.
I talked about writing, something I never enjoyed doing before PD. It began when my Psychologist suggested that I write my narrative. I explained to the group that when you start, just write what you feel. Don’t worry about what you learned in 8th grade grammar. Just write. You can always go back and make changes. Writing can be very therapeutic and you can learn a lot about yourself. I tend to write stream-of-conciousness when writing for me. It is a way to write quickly and with a purpose. There is no set structure, but editing later can pull the pieces together into a cohesive narrative. I shared with the group an article that I found about writing your narrative that works well for this type of activity.
A mini-art workshop was led by Clara, who has been making art during her sleepless PD nights. She shared some of her artwork with the group and then we got to work making our own greeting cards, using many different things that Clara brought for collages.
Finally, Tricia Lowe has been writing poetry about life with Parkinson’s. I will leave you with her poem:
May you always have enough
Enough happiness to keep you content
Enough faith to keep you strong,
Eoungh hope to keep you happy
Enough failure to keep you humble
Enough success to keep you eager
Enough friends to give you a sense of community
enough wealth to meet your needs
Enough truth to banish depression
Enough determination to make each day comple
Even better than last week