Michael Lee Richardson, who runs the Queer Creative Writing Group at Category Is Books in Glasgow, tells us how a 'Come on in' micro-grant from Creative Lives helped him reach out to new participants . . .

"Every month, we get together to do a bit of reading - always within the room, people don’t have to read anything in advance - and have a chat. Then we do some writing of our own in response to what we’ve read. I always say that I don’t expect anyone to write Shakespeare - our sessions are only 90 minutes long! - but I’m always impressed with the calibre of work that comes out of the group.

In October, with the Come On In grant provided by Creative Lives, I ran some satellite sessions with LGBTQ+ groups in Glasgow, to give people from two different community groups a sense of what it would be like to come along to a creative writing session.

With the first group, we met at the bookshop together, and - because it was October - did some Halloween-themed horror writing, including werewolf-found poems and spell poems based on Rachel Tamas’s writing.

The second session was with a group from LGBT Age, a group for older LGBTQ+ people in Glasgow. We wrote a group poem about Pride (which you can read below), and did some writing about our earliest memories of meeting other queer people. It was a fantastic session, and people shared some really moving memories of the first time they’d felt queer kinship with other people.

Here - with the group’s permission - is the poem we wrote together:

Pride is a brick.

Pride is a pink lady,
a pink sky at night,
a My Little Pony.

Pride is a dress shirt, a t-shirt,
candy floss and flowers,
Pride is organic.

Pride is sad,
like an azure sky,
coloured custard using dye;
tastes the same, but looks stranger.

Pride is the sun when it appears,
mood becomes cheer.

Pride is pink gin,
blue WKD.

Pride is cold.

Pride is sunshine
and sky.
Pride is a mood.

Pride is red poppies,
pansies and sweet peas,
rosey apples,
Snow White apples,
Captain Scarlet and cardinals,
Red Riding Hood and robins.

Pride is angry
and embarrassed.
Pride is red pants and red pens.
Pride is the sea and the sky.

Pride is a valentine.
Pride is a stop sign.
Pride is a traffic light.

Pride is the icing on the cake.