Joanna Higgs

Unremitting by Joanna Higgs

I  wrote this piece when I was ill and finding ways out of the mindfull mire that my illness and I had convoluted for me. (I made up that word to make sense to you of what my mind was like and trying to be! ) I wrote it at a time I was getting help from Women's Aid many years ago.

I watch your pranced pace 

lurch on excuse, 

and watch boyhood reel of fear and distrust.


I hear your crazed words 

Slurring to score,

and hear your heart, long past, passed over.


I see ebbing fists

Clinch to resolve,


And in each I have a love that swells and stalls, 

and swells and stalls, 

and swells and stalls . . . . 

Fossil  by Joanna Higgs

Here is a piece I wrote in Paul's group last November.

Peering into the past

Stuck in stone

Immersed in Time

Sand running

Sand trapped




Sandy beaches in Sutherland;

Oil rigs offshore, miles away in the sun.


Shale large pebbles flourishing from the waves

Make angel wings when opened.

Ammonites on display.

Birthday presents from the Permians,

Showing millennia reduced to today

And recognising twenty-one years in a moment in time.


Mother and children, pals and companions,

Led by a matriarch

Struggling over the power that depletes:

Who is learning from whom?

I am a Development Worker at HUG Action for Mental Health. I have written quite a few bits and had them included in booklets and pamphlets of our group’s own making. They have mostly  been about living with mental illness and about recovery.


I came across HighlandLit now and then over the years and have started coming along and taking part in one or two events, since we had Paul Shanks come along to work with us at my work place.  This is where we did one of the wee booklets that some of my work appears in.  


I really enjoy writing's quality that lets us all speak about what we are thinking and feeling and believe and are confused about, without anyone having to listen.  We can even be lucky enough to hear ourselves and actually come to a conclusion about some of the confusions and hurts in our lives.  It is the restorative quality that writing can bring to life that I like most;  and the self-discovery that can happen when reading anyone else's work.  There is true joy for me when discovering a bit of me in someone else's writing and storytelling.  I am no longer alone.  


Clearly my style is all about exploring the human condition and all the realities of it; telling the truth in as many different ways and words as humanly possible;  and this is where my simple adoration of words and their nuances and their ambiguities just absorbs and enchants me.   Tell the truth but make it a puzzle of words is what I realise I am saying here!