One of my favourite writing prompts is to bring half a dozen pairs of gloves – work gloves, leather motorbike gloves, work ones, gardening, ‘magic’ gloves, etc. We each choose a pair of gloves as our inspiration. Depending on the individuals in the group we might write about someone who might own the gloves, write about them in action wearing the gloves perhaps. Or we might write to describe the gloves using the senses in our writing. Sometimes someone will write about a memory evoked by their chosen pair of gloves.
One day I broughtgloves to a ward writing group that, by chance, included a young man who uses protective gloves all the time in his work. He took to the writing exercise with enthusiasm, writing about his own work gloves and how important they are to him because they save his hands from being cut and injured in his work. After the exercise he asked if he could fetch his own work gloves from his bedroom so we all had the chance to see and touch the gloves he had written about with such feeling. Experiences like that one get the participants in the group talking – in the group and out of it. I hope that this leads to some individuals having conversations in the ward afterwards that might not otherwise have happened – those individuals may not have otherwise made a connection at all, or if they already knew each other they have new topics to discuss in the beverage area or TV lounge on the ward.