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Talking about grief

Jane Harris, Jimmy Edmonds and Dr Kathryn Mannix
talking about grief
Talking about grief

We’re not often comfortable talking about death and grief, so we’re delighted that ‘When Words are Not Enough’ is part of Stroud Book Festival that this year includes luminaries such as Ali Smith and Ian McEwan. Authors Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds will be talking about their experience of bereavement and how they responded to it with foreword writer, Dr Kathryn Mannix, bestselling author of ‘Listen’ and ‘With the End in Mind’.
When Words are Not Enough will be launching as part of the Good Grief Festival, with an online event 28 Oct, 6.30pm. The Good Grief Festival is a virtual festival of love and loss. On October 28 and 29 Oct, their first mini-festival will take place on the theme of Grief + Memory.

The book includes the stories of thirteen other bereaved people and how their creativity helped them to survive. We’ve had such lovely reviews about the book, so don’t just take our word for it.

‘The word I keep coming back to with this book is beautiful, not a word I would usually associate with grief. But this book is rich in detail and compassion, it is authoritative and kind. Through their immense loss and pain Jane and Jimmy have done an extraordinary thing and redefined grief as love turned inside out. They make grief less scary. I have not read a better book on grief.’ Annalisa Barbieri, The Guardian

When Words are Not Enough offers that rarest of bereavement resources – a visual and verbal feast and a sustained look into the heart of grief that both acknowledges the raw anguish of tragic loss and invites the reader to share a fascinating and varied gathering of responses to it. I recommend it highly to all those who mourn, and all those who strive to accompany them through the experience.’ Prof Robert Neimeyer, Director, Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Pick up a copy of the book and get it signed, for yourself or as a gift for someone you may be supporting. Book tickets for 5 Nov 2022, 3.30 Lansdown Hall, from the Sub Rooms or through the link below.

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On Mending: a new book by artist Celia Pym

The artist Celia Pym lives explores damage and repair in textiles. Working with garments that belong to individuals as well as items in museum archives, she is exposed to stories of damage, from moth holes to accidents with fire. 

On Mending: Stories of damage and repair is a collection of ten stories of damaged garments – plus a rug and two backpacks, that Pym has mended in the last 15 years. These stories describe the ways in which clothes and cloth become holed, why a damaged sweater or backpack can be emotionally affecting and how mending a garment can unstick a stuck feeling.

‘Mending work builds on what is left behind. It’s not replacing, or remaking, or cutting apart and putting back together, instead it is slow work that makes things better. It conjures an unhurried recovery or change. In textiles, the act of mending wear-and-tear, thinning cloth or accidental damage builds on what already exists, anchoring threads and yarn into the robust healthy fabric and filling in the holes or reinforcing the areas that are weak.’

‘Darning is small acts of care,’ she says, ‘and paying close attention.’

Celia Pym

On Mending is published this November and available to preorder on our website now. Sign up to our newsletter for details of events and giveaways (we won’t bombard you, nor sell your details ☺️).

The contents page, On Mending: Stories of damage and repair
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When words are not enough

Everyone grieves for someone at some point in their lives. But how do we deal with the silence that often surrounds grief?  How do we find ways to express painful feelings when words are not enough?  In this deeply personal and beautiful reflection on grief Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds draw on their own experience of loss, and how the death of their son Josh has led to a creative response that is more than word bound. It also tells the story of thirteen other bereaved people who have found a creative response to their grief. 

The nature of grief
Here’s author Jane Harris talking with Dr Elaine Kasket, author of All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data, in a lovely down-to-earth way, about the nature of grief and how you don’t think you’ll be able to cope, but usually you don’t have a choice, so you have to get on with it. 

Jane and Jimmy’s new book, When Words are Not Enough: Creative responses to grief, explores the myriad creative ways that the bereaved find to express their loss. With a foreword by Dr Kathryn Mannix and contributions from thirteen other bereaved people. There have been some generous endorsements for the book too, so don’t just take my word for it. Published 5 Oct 22.

‘In the absence of any collective rituals or words with which to express their loss, this wonderful and very personal book offers those who find themselves in an agonising wilderness of grief, a kind of creative map to find a way out of the isolation.’ Juliet Stevenson

When Words are Not Enough shows us that searing loss isn’t necessarily the end, but a possible beginning.’ 
Greg Wise

‘Such an inspiring book – full of moving stories of people who have found active ways to respond to their grief, from photography through to (my favourite) cold-water swimming.  Jane and Jimmy’s ten ‘lessons learned’ about the loss of their child wisely reject any idea of ‘moving on’ or ‘closure’.  Indeed, this beautifully designed creation is itself an example of what the book is all about.  Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

This is a book about sorrow, yet it is brimming with hopeThis is a book about loss, but it overflows with love and generosity.’  Dr Kathryn Mannix

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Your personal life-survival kit

The launch of the latest title from Prof. Judith Kleinman was at independent bookshop Ink84 in Islington. Attended by more people than we were expecting, we completely sold out of books! There were lots of musicians at the launch, including pop star Ella Eyre. The book has been endorsed by lots of fans, including Nick Hornby and Arabella Weir.

I learned a lot from working with Judith Kleinman. She was able to locate in me a stillness and equilibrium I didn’t know I had, and that has stood me in good stead for all the vicissitudes of work and domestic life.

Nick Hornby

Finding Quiet Strength (FQS) is a practical philosophy that connects to both ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience. Judith Kleinman’s work enables a calm, confident, and coordinated approach to life, helping us to be centred, grounded and develop a sense of poise and equilibrium.
At some point, most of us need help with the challenges of life. FQS is a practice of being present in a way that develops our emotional intelligence and embodied awareness enabling us to navigate the many ups and downs of being human. The work helps us to develop a deep and gentle self-acceptance. Through this self-acceptance, FQS helps us work on an embodied resilience and become more aware of what we can let go of and change.

Book Brunch also featured the launch on their website. Finding Quiet Strength: Emotional Intelligence, Embodied Awareness is available now.

I love Judith’s work. The drawings, words and thoughts are just lovely – their message is as calming as it is bursting with positive ideas. Easy to dip into yet rewarding to read, there are some great tools for life in this book.

Arabella Weir – Actor, comedian and writer

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Make your own toothpaste

Toothpaste tubes are made with up to seven layers of different plastics, plus aluminium and even where they can be recycled the process consumes high amounts of energy. Toothpaste is now available in glass jars that are more easily recycled or, even better, reused, but making your own is simple and you don’t need a degree in medicine. Talk to your dentist to find out what is and isn’t good for your teeth and the best approach for children who might benefit from a fluoride toothpaste every now and then. This is a refreshing and at the same time gentle toothpaste. 

Small Steps to Less Waste, a collaborative project with local residents, teachers and staff from Gloucester University and Action on Plastic. The latter is a charity set up by the author that is the recipient of any royalties from the book.

You will need: 

6 tbsp kaolin mineral clay

1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (food grade)

5 tbsp vegetable glycerine

5 drops peppermint essential oil 

5 drops sweet orange essential oil 

Mix the ingredients in a bowl, adding the glycerine last so you can achieve a consistency that you like. Stir well and keep in a small glass jar for up to a month.

Makes about 100ml, the same amount as an average tube of toothpaste. You can buy kaolin clay from zero-waste shops. If you are sharing your jar of paste, use a small spoon or spatula for each portion.