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A Piece of My Mind
June 7, 2006

The Spirit of Writing

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(21):2453-2454. doi:10.1001/jama.295.21.2453

It is the first writing workshop I am teaching at the state hospital, and when I say we’ll start by writing a poem, Jill, a woman whose skin is soft and pallid from living much of her life indoors, says she can't write poems. So does Addie, a woman so tiny her chin just clears the tabletop. And Martha, who is wearing what looks like hospital scrubs, says she can't write at all.

These are three of my DMH students, resident patients under the jurisdiction of my state's Department of Mental Health. Some of them are allowed off their unit only to attend my class. Some are allowed off only if they are individually supervised.

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