Your Creative Sparkle: artfully craft your unique story in letters

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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Hello! A warm welcome to you

I’m Elspeth, a writer and maker of audio drama, memoir and creative letter writing. This is all about Your Creative Sparkle and an invitation to artfully craft your unique story in letters. I’m inviting you to consider three things for a moment:

  • Have you done one thing for yourself today?
  • In the last week have you been creative? Rebellious or mischievous in any way? Expressed what you really felt in a safe place? Come up with a new idea?
  • When did you last share creative work with someone?

If you can answer yes to all three, fantastic!

If you can’t answer yes to all three, would you like to say yes?

This is for you if you:

  • Are going through a transition or time of change or would like to? 
  • Feel a bit stuck 
  • Don’t put you at the centre of your life.
  • Want to be more creative or put your creativity to something new
  • Want some fun and mischief!
  • Need something personalised and unique
  • Are a writer and would like to develop your fictional characters or storylines using a unique tool

Us humans have always made and created, it’s a basic need and has been since people in prehistoric times carved and drew on stones – or perhaps long before that? Creativity has never been so important. Lots of us are quite glued to screens and stuck on office chairs, and I’ve noticed a big need for people to make things, to use their hands and their handwriting, all the better if it involves moving around the outside world, and if we can share it with other people who get what we’re doing.

I’m a single mum, in my 50s. I get the hard work it is to do everything. We’re exhausted, often overwhelmed, there’s a lot going on let’s face it. And can get a bit downhearted. With Your Creative Sparkle, you get to be experimental and artistic. You get to be in regular conversation with other people going through similar, but sometimes very different things (a creative life needs diversity huh?), whilst exploring your life stories in a safe and fun way. 

I’ve created this, because I have benefited to have had a daily focus of creativity to help me through some of the most transformative, and sometimes traumatic moments of my life. I had wonderful friends and some wise wise people to help me, but I wish I also had this structured approach. I wish I’d been able to regularly share it with a group of others doing the same thing too.

Your Creative Sparkle is a way to structure your experiences in a series of art works you make about your own life. 

What is Your Creative Sparkle (YCS) Season 1?

You will be led through an artfully disruptive process of creative stimuli, to help you craft your life in a super personal creative memoir in three months. Disruptive in the sense that it might shift something that’s got stuck, or open up new ways of seeing things.

  • You will craft highly personal, totally unique creative pieces using what you have to hand (so it’s environmentally friendly).
  • Share images and stories about your work with others, online in an optional twice a month zoom.
  • Share images and stories in our Facebook group, as you go along, anytime you like.
  • Have access to beautiful bespoke meditations created by Blanche Mulholland, Somatic Movement Educator (MA, RSME), Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher with Still Flowing Yoga Teacher Training.
  • We look forward to offering follow up in person residentials.
  • YCS is an exploration, a path, a guided process. 
  • You can keep as much private as you want, no need to disclose anything.
  • No-one is going to check your grammar or style, there is no critical feedback.
  • Pick and choose BONUS elements which feed you, and craft your own perfect course and fit into the things you already love.
  • Do it online, so you can do it anywhere.
  • Do it In your own time, I know you’re busy.
  • Artful disruption. Be part of the change. The world needs to shift. Start with yourself. You get to find your own revolutionary thoughts (or not, that’s fine too), and this is an unusual way of sharing them.
  • Legacy: when the course is over, actually it’s not over – it’s ongoing as you can make it a change in lifestyle.

How does Your Creative Sparkle work?

This is a three-month course which you can do in your own time. You have all the structure you need here. Within this you can be as free as you like. You need to commit from 10 minutes to 40 minutes a day to activities, whatever works for you. 

It’s a guided creative process, providing video, illustrations, specially composed music and text, and you will do 6 modules over 3 months. That’s 3 months of journey into creativity, discovery and transition. You can share posts, observations and your work with others if you’d like to, on our Facebook page, so this can also be a shared journey, or a private endeavour, whatever feels right. 

Your Creative Sparkle Season 1 uses a gentle traditional medium – the letter – and reinvents it to create a diary, a series of episodes or series of visual poems to form the story of your life, or the life of the characters in your story world. Be soothed by the small creative thing.

What’s different?

  • This is a completely original method, tried out in online courses, and also several university research projects, totally different from anything you’ve done before. It’s high value, developed over 10 years, researched, developed some more, tried in over 25 live groups, with GPs, consultants, academics and funded projects. 
  • It encompasses a unique social element to share your work or stories in a personalised setting, or in a larger group, whichever is most comfortable for you.
  • It’s not paint by numbers or colouring in books, as creative these might be, it’s not about about filling in any template. If this is what you would like, this isn’t for you. Nor is it just about writing. As the academic Rita Charon said on a recent zoom : “Truth cannot be told in words”. They can be part of telling the truth, but we also need visual arts, dance, nature, the vectors, so that we can can understand our own living experience, and then witness that of others.

More about why I’m offering you this: 

I’m Elspeth Penny, I have spent my life asking questions about how we might best empower ourselves, whoever we are and whatever stage we are in life. How we can take agency over our own health journey, whether that be mental or physical health. Working with senior academics and clinicians, I use or create original research and make funny, shocking, memorable, affecting pieces of art, using creative letter writing, memoir and drama. You can look up my play Silva Lining’s Care Plan on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean or other podcast apps – it’s free to listen to.

I’m also an Arts + Health workshop creator and leader in the arts&health field of therapeutic letter writing! – with a particular interest in the ‘little whispers’ of unheard voices. I am Director of a creative agency called 2BU Productions Ltd. A Cambridge University degree in Anthropology and Theology, followed by an MA in Theatre Directing/Script Writing from UEA informs all my work. In my twenties I worked as a sports injury masseur and holistic therapist. Being a therapist and an artist has taught me a thing or two about bodies, minds, spirits, and about self-care.

Why have I made Your Creative Sparkle?

I bring this to you because I love seeing your highly individualised creations and hearing stories about them. I love witnessing when something shift in participants as they do this, and the the community that grows around it: it’s Magical!

When I first followed books such as The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg, 20 years ago, my imagination was blown open. Nowadays, I have five life times of work to create, and have to be very choosy about the projects I spend my time doing. It’s great living as a writer and a creative, and I want to share the joy. This method extends and grows ideas I’ve developed over these 20 years. For example, it’s not just about writing, it’s about all the marks we might want to make, finding absolutely the best way to say what we mean.

Why doing Your Creative Sparkle is a generous act

I reinvest much of the income that comes from the courses into employing artists; working on socially conscious arts&health projects; creating art works which tell important stories (podcasts, graphic novels, films etc). Our projects share important stories widely about the little whispers inside people that often aren’t heard. You buying this course, not only helps you, it helps all the unheard little whispers out there get heard.

Don’t just hear it from me, this is what others have said about workshops they’ve attended..

The letter writing three-hour course in one word… inspiring… It gave me back something I had stopped doing… namely blogging… many years ago and something I enjoyed so much. Your approach to the course was unexpected and therefore thought provoking. This in turn made me see myself being able to think artistically 

Trevor Clower

Elspeth brings an expertise, empathy and sparkle to her interactions with communities that draws out authentic voices to feed into compelling, original creative works that further understanding around important social or wellbeing issues.  

Fiona Matthews, Creative Director, Theatre Orchard

Just lovely,  just what I needed thank you!

Jane Banks, attending a Letter to my Superhero workshop

It brought back memories of times when I struggled for breath. This is an opportunity to reconnect with the lifeforce of my body. Thank you for an amazing, supportive and enlightening workshop

Clare Phillips: workshop participant

We were commissioned by Futures2020, funded by the European Commission, to run Letter to My Kidney, a participatory letter writing initiative. Together we worked with kidney patients: older people, children, donors and patients on dialysis. The online exhibition was widely viewed. We found the results touching and illuminating, and my patients got a lot out of it. One visitor said “The Letter to My Kidneys exhibition is wonderful. I think it gives great insight and is very moving.” We see an exciting future – two colleagues would like to join our collaboration, looking deeper into kidney disease at the beginning and end of life.

·      Dr Barny Hole, Population Health, University of Bristol

My policies

I absolutely care that you have the greatest experience, and will help with what I can, as soon as I can. Let me know if you don’t understand something, or something trips you up. I want to empower you to move forward.

  • Easiness policy: I will do all I can to make this as easy for you, it needs to fit into your busy life. Let me know if you don’t understand anything, or need a clarification, on
  • Policy of joy: I want this to be joyous for you. Let me know if you have lost the joy, so I can help you find it again.
  • Miss a day policy: If what I suggested in a day isn’t what you fancy doing, then skip it! You might want to come back to it later, but you don’t have to.
  • Refund policy: you can have a full refund after you’ve completed 21 days if it really isn’t working for you. We make mistakes or circumstances change.
  • Policy of Quality: this isn’t about the quality of your work: making great, moderate, or uninspired work is all UP TO YOU: go for it, I absolutely don’t judge and there are absolutely no ‘shoulds’.
  • Special requests policy: yes.
  • Web-site policy. I ensure the course is always available, and won’t go off line. If it does for more than three days in a row, I’ll refund half of your course fee.

Bonus extra… 

First 5 to enrol win a 30 min letter consultation worth £75! Can’t wait to speak to you.

How much does Your Creative Sparkle cost?

For a short period of time, as we pilot this project you can do this three month course for the special offer price of £195. That’s less than the price of a cup of coffee each day. After this point the price will increase. Book in now to secure your place!

If you’d like to read more, press this very pink button:

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?

Raymond Carver

Overview of modules: • Module 1: There are 14 days of activities in this module. We’ll be looking at your roots, at foundations… the landscape you live in now. We’ll be making a safe and nurturing place for you to explore and work. • Module 2: Here we start looking at ourselves in all the ages we’ve been and seen and that we are going on towards. We’ll get going on our letter writing and making, one every day. • Module 3: This is about identity, place, looking at where you’re from and where you’re going. Looking at a loss and gain from age 18 onwards. Life defining moments and places. Transformational events. It’s about grief, but also welcoming in the new. • Module 4: My getting older self, whether you’ve reached these ages or not. More change, enjoying the process. Disruption, mid-life change, descent. The Elder as guide, our strength, the planet’s hope. A look at restlessness, recklessness and rebelliousness and being compelled. • Module 5: Transition. What next? What does hope look like for you? Making a relationship with a bit of land or a site. Surrendering to the flow. • Module 6: Release. Stronger better roots, a story from where you live. What you need, as oppose to what you want, have a passion for. Befriending demons. Making a book….. or handmade version of this!