My brain still thinks : short film

My Brain Still Thinks from mindshare on Vimeo.

I wrote and produced ‘My brain still thinks’ as part of the Pendulum book launch at the Mercury cinema in mental health week in October 2014. This film incorporated poetry from published poetry book Pendulum in an exquisite, moving and powerful way. It was my vision to visually enhance the poetry with the showing of a short film that brings the poetry to life. Many people have said they appreciated my short film I produced in 2007 because they get to walk a little while in my shoes and get a unique perspective as someone with the lived experience of mental illness.

The film explores themes such as disassociation within psychosis and mental illness, which I believe not only to be unique but will definitely make you think. The film shows different stages of Bipolar Disorder including therapy and peer work. I would like to acknowledge the beautiful actress I got to work with Shaynae Aberle acting as Trinity and the contribution from her mother Jodie Aberle. It was a delight to work with them on the project.

The film maker Matt Gray and film editor Lachlan Coles worked in collaboration with me to produce this film. I think the three of us worked together as a great team and I will definitely be looking to do more projects with them into the future. They put in lots of time on the project and I am very happy with the result as I hope you will be. The funding came from Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability grant who funded both the making of the film and book launch. This film shows yet another part of the journey of the poetry from Pendulum.

My journey with Pendulum

My project to write Pendulum began many years ago. I went to Flinders University and the Arts Tafe studying creative writing. I was unable to get a degree or a diploma as at that stage I was constantly getting mentally unwell. I managed to gain the skills I needed to become a writer and was encouraged by lecturers to join in writing competitions and gained distinctions for some of my poetry including ‘The sea of Melancholy’ sonnet which is now a part of Pendulum.

They weren’t the only teachers in my life who had praised my writing. Most of my teachers in high school supported me and since I spent some time in hospital as a teenager, it was my hospital school teacher that realised my passion for writing and believed in my ability. My home group teacher and drama and English teachers also gave me motivation. Back then I wanted to be a journalist.

When I was at Hamilton Secondary college adult campus attempting to finish year twelve, I had a teacher that loved my speech on youth suicide and encouraged me to become a public speaker in high schools. Years on and that is one of the things I am doing, as part of my job with Life Without Barriers as a peer worker.There are many teachers who inspire the best from their students and I have found this in my writing journey. Three of my teachers along the way have said the same thing “Kylie sets very high standards for herself and always achieves them.” This was written in my school reports from my year four, seven and eleven year teachers.

For a long time it was a struggle to be mentally unwell as a young person and this totally delayed my schooling. I was always getting sick and not able to finish anything. It was a frustrating situation. But I came to realise I could get the skills without getting the grades. Now that I am getting my book published, I keep remembering my sister’s advice. I was upset because I was unemployed and often getting sick. I related this to my sister as a young adult. But she said ‘you are not unemployed Kylie, you are a writer and you just haven’t been paid yet.’

My sister Erin knows what it is like to be a struggling artist as she is a ceramist and an artist. She painted the beautiful picture on Pendulum’s front cover and promotional material. I think you will agree that she has done a fantastic job and sets the tone I wanted for my poetry book. She spent hours on it and liaising with me was able to capture the vision I had for Pendulum. We have always talked about writing cards together with her paintings and my poetry.

Growing up I was always writing poetry for friends and family for events like birthdays and special occasions. I would often write poetry for mother’s and father’s day and began writing poetry since I was about 8 years old. I soon found out how much this meant to the special people in my life. It was about this time when I began sharing my poetry in the possum pages in the Sunday mail. It was a huge thrill to see my poetry in print. As I had a scientific mind back then, before I lost my memory, I was always writing poetry about space. I come from a family who have always been optimistic about my writing. I tried my hardest at everything I did and never disappointed myself, until life became sometimes a bit much trying to cope with the crippling mood swings and psychosis, which for a while felt like a full time job.

The teachers tried to help me to get through school. I loved the work but often got bullied. I realise now that the kids didn’t know what was happening when I was dancing on the tables in English class in a manic state or why my mum had to come to the class to pick me up to go to my psychiatrist.

People have always said that I have lived an interesting life. It’s good that I have lots to talk and write about. Since I come from the country I love to write in the country. There was many a writing session when writing Pendulum that I went and stayed at the Riverland with my sister. It was such a relaxing atmosphere and proved to be the most inspiring place for my writing.

Will I eventually be paid more to write? Only time will tell, but I am excited to be heading in the right direction. Art is such an interesting thing as some will like it and some possibly won’t like it. But I write because I want to and if people like it, that is just an added bonus. Writing is a big part of my life and I don’t mind sharing part of my world with the world. Why should you read Pendulum? Well……I always try to focus on what I can do and not what I can’t, and reading Pendulum is something you can do.

Time and Motion black

Pendulum Book Launch

Kylie painting snippet

Kylie Harrison invites you to her book launches of poetry book Pendulum as part of mental health week which incorporates the stand-up comedy of Miss Communication from her show ‘Psychosis can be a funny thing’, short films such as My brain thinks and Brentwood she has written since 2007 and poetry reading at the Mercury cinema on 7th and 8th of October 2014. Kylie’s book launch is proudly funded by the Arts SA Richard Llewellyn Art and Disability grant and Life Without Barriers. Kylie’s poetry book Pendulum has been published by Ginninderra press and is available to be purchased after the shows.

As part of the show Kylie has written and performs in a new short film my brain still thinks showcasing her poetry from published poetry book Pendulum. It is Kylie’s vision to visually enhance her poetry with the showing of her short films that bring the poetry to life. Many people have said they appreciated the short film Kylie wrote in 2007 because they get to walk a little while in her shoes and get a unique perspective as someone with the lived experience of mental illness. A section in Kylie’s poetry book is about peer work and this is incorporated into the new film. Kylie sees this as just the start of her writing career even though she has been writing for over twenty years. Funding from the RLAD grant began in 2011 to have mentor Jude Aquilina to work closely on the project. Further funding from RLAD grant has enabled the project to progress until this exciting final stage.

Kylie believes that this book launch is an enormous step in the right direction for the continued success of her writing career and she wants this book to promote how the lived experience of mental illness is an invaluable resource.

On:       7 and 8 October
Time:   6.30 – 8.30pm
At:       Mercury Cinemas, 13 Morphett St, Adelaide SA 5000
Cost:   Gold coin donation

Special consumer session
Featuring consumer poetry and films.
Date & time: 8 October from 2 – 4pm

Duration: 90 minutes

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Funded by The Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust

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GUEST SPEAKER

Jude Aquilina is an Adelaide Hills poet/writer with work published in Australia and abroad. She has published five poetry collections, including WomanSpeak with Louise Nicholas(Wakefield Press) and most recently, Beauty and the Breast (Garron Publishing)a chapbook. Jude teaches in the Professional Writing Unit at TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts. She is also a freelance editor, mentor and workshop presenter. Jude loves assisting talented poets, like Kylie Harrison, to publish their work. ‘Pendulum, is an important poetry collection because, coupled with Kylie Harrison’s amazing speeches, it will educate, promote mental health and reduce stigma,’ says Jude.

Kylie’s new book Pendulum

FINAL Tshirts only

Available for purchase via:

rwsitelogo

To contact Ginninderra Press

Stephen Matthews Ginninderra Press PO Box 3461 Port Adelaide 5015
W: www.ginninderrapress.com.au  E: stephen@ginninderrapress.com.au

The book will be available for sale on Ginninderra by the 29 of September 2014.
Visit the Poetry Sales page on the Ginninderra web site by clicking here

Or attend Kylie’s Book Launch at the Mercury Cinemas on the 7 and 8 of October as part of Mental Health Week.

Kylie’s film BRENTWOOD

This film was made as part of my comedy show that I performed last mental health week in 2012! My show was called “Psychosis can be a funny thing!” where I appeared as Miss Communication with my tongue in cheek perspective of life on the other side of the hospital ward, that of the patients and of those living with a severe mental illness in our society. I seek to create change and reduce stigma though laughter.

I received funding from the Richard Lewellyn Art and Disability grant to produce it whilst performing in my one woman show and I worked on it with mentor/comedian Jo Coventry and filmmaker Lachlan Coles.

This particular story came from something a nurse used to say to me while I was a patient at Brentwood “This is not a hotel!” I thought it was funny at the time and still do! And this story is a comic way of looking at my experience in the closed ward, is just comedy, not a serious documentary.

Psychosis can be a funny thing!

My show is not far away! The nerves are starting to kick in! I really hope this is going to be a laugh! Half my material has never been performed before! It’s exciting but scary! I’ve put three months of my time into it! I really hope it will be brilliant! Hope you will be there! Just a gold coin donation and a smile!!

Psychosis can be a funny thing!

featuring the comedy of Miss Communication

a part of Mental Health Week

My name is Kylie Harrison and I am a community peer worker with Life Without Barriers. I am also a freelance writer and am currently working on a poetry book and an autobiography about my experiences with mental health. I also enjoy making films and digital stories. You can find these at http://www.mindshare.org.au .

I have found that most people who experience mental illness have a creative spirit.

It’s that time again. Mental health week is not far away. This time I am doing my own standup comedy show on the 12th October at the Mercury cinema. I have performed with a mental health comedy group called ‘Cracking up’ for two years. I was fortunate to be able to perform at a number of conferences, including the consumer day at the TheMHS conference last year and also at the Margaret Tobin Awards. I have received very positive feedback and the most memorable was from Minister John Hill at the Margaret Tobin Awards. I hope that he will consider coming to my performance this year.

The show will only be a gold coin donation, as I want those on a low income to be able to come along. Many people are affected with mental illness and everyone likes a good laugh.

My show ‘Psychosis can be a funny thing’ featuring Miss Communication is sure to make you laugh, even if you are only laughing on the inside! My comedy show is funded by Arts SA with the Richard Llewellyn Art and Disability Trust, with the support of MHCSA and mentorship with comedian Jo Coventry.

I am really excited about the comedy show and I hope you are too! Mental health week is a time to bring awareness, reduce stigma and promote community mental health services so people know what services are available and that treatment is possible and support is out there.

I invite all of you, your colleagues, consumers, family and friends to come along to have a laugh and celebrate a positive attitude toward mental illness.

Date: Friday 12 October

Time: 7pm (show duration 1 hour)

Location: at the Mercury Cinemas, 13 Morphett Street Adelaide

Cost: gold coin donation at the door

Proudly funded by The Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust

with support from the Mental Health Coalition of SA, mindshare and LIfe without Barriers