Living Words Program

Writing Samples

Below you will find some samples of creative writing. Some of the work is from individuals that have participated in our Living Words workshops. There are writing samples from individuals with dementia, caregivers, and younger adults that are helping with the workshop. We hope you find them interesting and that they help you envision what products are possible out of the Living Words program!

Peggy Jones and her Mischievous Son 

 During our second workshop session at Wofford, Peggy Jones, living with dementia, wrote a story relating to something she was good at. In the first part of the session, Peggy shared that she was a good mother and nurturer, even in difficult situations. Here is the story she wrote illustrating this skill.

L. A. H.

My oldest son’s name is Russell. We call him Russ. He was always a very mischievous child. All my life I knew that the greatest thing that could happen to me would be to have a son.

He was always into something. I went into the kitchen one day and he was pouring syrup in circles on the eyes of the stove. I yelled out, “Russ! What are you doing?” He looked up at me with a sweet little smile and a twinkle in his eye and said, “Momma, I’m makin’ pancakes for you”.

He would always say the sweetest things so I couldn’t punish him—and he still loves his momma. 

 

Grandma Selma's poem

By Kara Bopp

The following poem was written by my grandmother, Selma Lipsius. She currently lives in Hilton Head Island, SC at an assisted living facility. At 92 and after years of working at my grandfathers printing business, she is almost completely deaf, but she loves to write poems. She keeps a pad and pen near her at all times since she never knows when a thought might lead to a poem. Sometimes she will write 5 or 6 poems at one sitting. Below is one she wrote recently (May, 2009) while she was at a party.

This is not an illusion

But I have come to the conclusion

That age is showing its teeth

Telling me to keep in mind

That while 92 is old mentally

Just shows a bit physically

But I can still walk a mile

My dear friend

For one of your smiles

And remember

The good old days!

Cowbell

Below is a story written by Linda McCullogh, caregiver, during our fourth Living Words creative writing workshop. Linda used a cowbell as a prompt for the writing during Kimberly Ward's "Our Basket of Stuff" writing exercise. 

L.A.H

" Seeing a cowbell reminded me of one of many mischievous adventures with my cousin “Gary”.

Gary is a jovial soul who could make you laugh just by looking at him. As an adult, I have learned to enjoy his sense of human. As a child, his wit was turned into action (actions that we now reminisce about and giggle still).

On one occasion, we were on one of our many visits to Grandpa’s house. Grandpa had a large dairy farm, which allowed us many opportunities to find adventure, and indeed get into trouble.

As we stood outside of the cow pasture, we suddenly became bored with the surroundings and decided to go into the cow pasture in search of new grounds.

Something told us that we probably shouldn’t but we were curious to scout out some new territory.

After carefully squeezing under the fence we were ready for anything. But soon Gary heard what sounded like a bell. Yes it was a cowbell- and it was attached to a fast moving bull (I think) coming straight towards us. Unable to find our point of entrance, we quickly sprang towards the electric fence.

Gary said (holding onto my hand), “You try it- it’s probably not on.”

 I don’t remember much- but I do know that we learned that electricity traveled through one person to another- and the mischievous Gary got the brunt of the pain that day. " 

 - Linda McCullogh

Breaking the Ice: A song by Elizabeth Parris

 During our fourth Living Words creative writing workshop, we used the following prompt for the icebreaker: 

 

When we get to (fill in a place) this is what we’ll see: 

We’ll see lots of (fill in thing 1) and (thing 2). 

When we get to (same place as above) we’ll have lots of fun, 

So won’t you come along with me? 

One particularly humorous song was created by Elizabeth Parris, 89, living with dementia:

 

When we get to the beach, this is what we’ll see:

We’ll see lots of swimming and naked hinnies.

When we’ll get to the beach we’ll have lots of fun,

So won’t you come along with me?

 

Your Story Is Waiting

By Lauren Holland

Our lives are an accumulation of stories waiting to be told. Telling these stories can change us, heal us, and help us recognize emotions we have left unexamined. Writing these stories can help us shift our perspective on things or situations from the past.

If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of Alzheimer’s or if you know someone who has, why not write us here at Living Words and tell us your story?

If you do write, please let us know if we can quote you on our website and/or in one of our workshops. We look forward to hearing from you!

What is Living Words?

Living Words is a creative writing program for mental exercise. This site provides information and support to implement the program.

Comments or questions? Email us at: livingwordsprogram@wofford.edu

Sincerely,
Dr. Kara L. Bopp, Associate Professor of Psychology, Wofford College
Mr. Jeremy L. C. Jones, Writer, editor and teacher
Ms. Joyce Finkle, Program Director, Alzheimer’s Association SC Chapter