The sixth session of Grit Uplifted at the Central Branch of the London Public Library* took place on Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm, and the weekly topic was “Point of View”.
Our warm-up exercise involved writing “a piece of fiction or poetry on one of the following, choosing in advance which point of view you will be writing through (choose the specific character as well as type of POV):
a) An ambulance attendant is fighting to save the life of a pregnant woman at the side of a highway,
b) An individual with mental illness finds him/herself in a situation that aggravates his/her illness and begins to cause a disturbance,
c) A young child new to the country/region sees snow for the first time–how does he/she react?
d) A man/woman is sitting alone in a café or bar and strikes up a flirtatious conversation with the person sitting next to them.”
The following prose piece entitled “Non-Violence” was written by G. Michael Miller during Saturday’s session, using inspiration from option b) and first-person point of view:
I don’t know why I was angry. Perhaps it was the fact that the bigoted nurse had said, “I guess you can’t go out with your ‘coon’ girlfriend anymore…” Coming back from KFC with that white-collar friend gave me confidence also.
All I said was, “If I am angry then let my anger serve God,” carrying a copy of St. Teresa of Avila with me.
The two nurses blocked my way and said “The needle or the pill.”
I said, “As a psychiatric patient I have the right to refuse both and I am going to return to my room.”
All hell broke loose. The nurses called a code white, meaning a violent patient. I was being non-violent. Over half a dozen nurses and guards came in and dragged me into lock-up. They ripped the cover off the book while I was non violent. THEY were the violent ones.
I was in a gown and said Hail Mary’s out loud and was let out in the morning. I know I had religious rights but the patient advocate wouldn’t help this time.
Martin Luther King said an injustice committed somewhere is an injustice committed everywhere.
* For more information on the Grit Uplifted Creative Writing Group at the Central Library, visit http://catalogue.londonpubliclibrary.ca/search/Y?SEARCH=grit+uplifted&op.x=0&op.y=0&op=Search&searchscope=20&SORT=D.