Author Elke Scholz Sparks Creativity Through Expressive Arts Activities at the GB Harbour Centre

Nancy Corbierre Patrick, left, assists author Elke Scholz of Bracebridge with workshop and book sales at the Gore Bay Harbour Centre. The lecture and hands on session involved the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle and guests from the community. It was all part of the Handwritten Arts Festival launched to mark the Circle’s 10th birthday.

by Margo Little

GORE BAY—Bracebridge writer and psychotherapist, Elke Scholz, travelled to Manitoulin Island June 25 to 26 to share her therapeutic approach with Island writers and artists. Her Saturday book talk based on the Loving Your Life resource guide and her hands-on workshop Sunday at Gore Bay Harbour Centre were all part of the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle 10th anniversary celebrations.

Ms. Scholz completed her formal education in Toronto and Switzerland and she holds a Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy. In addition, she is a member of the Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Over the past 30 years she has written about her philosophy and techniques in a dozen national magazines and books. She emphasizes the connection between the arts and living a positive life. “My goal is to help people enhance their lives and build their resiliency by empowering them with their innate creativity,” she said.

In addition to her publishing ventures, she is also a respected painter in her home community and she uses her own personal poetry to inspire others and to illustrate concepts in her publications.

In a candid Saturday night session of question and answer, Ms. Scholz addressed some of the concerns expressed by audience members. She draws upon some of her own early childhood experiences to forge empathetic bonds with her listeners. After coming to Canada from Germany at age two and a half, she endured some difficult times in Kindergarten where mild dyslexia led to some switching of letters and numbers. Later on in high school she was fortunate to encounter teachers who were supportive and encouraging.

In her current practice, she has discovered that many students and employees suffer from a high level of anxiety. In fact, she reports that a half million people miss work every week because of stress in school, home and workplace. Since worry and chronic looping thoughts appear to be universal in our fast paced society, she has devoted a substantial part of her book and workshops to the management of fear and distress.

A second edition of the Loving Your Life guide has been released with an additional forty pages of resources. First published in 2004, this illustrated guide provides prompts and exercises for self-discovery and self-realization. Journal kits can also be purchased.

“I want to be helpful so I designed the book so that you can jump around in it and not read it cover to cover; you can use it as a resource book by going to the table of contents and choosing the topic that interest you. I know that when you need information, you need it right now so you can also go to the web site for more practical information. I want to really listen to people and to see their successes and build on that.”

In her view, people have lost touch with their authenticity in the midst of a demanding technology based world. She believes there is a still a strong need for human touch and for meditation and breathing exercises to alleviate anxiety. During the evening meet and greet, she shared some of her poetry and led the spectators through a guided visualization exercise. Those activities served as a sneak peek into the workshop to follow.

The Sunday gathering allowed participants from Manitoulin, Sudbury, Welland and Tampa to stretch themselves through poetry, drawing, colouring, journaling and creative crosspollination. From 10 am to 3 pm Ms. Scholz provided opportunities for writers and artists to explore, to experiment and to express their life stories in a safe environment.

The weekend event was hosted by the Gore Bay Museum and the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle. For more information visit www.elkescholz.com.