Tuesday, 23 December 2014

What are you cooking for Christmas?

I'm in Israel in an unfamiliar kitchen with a guest list of 12 that includes a vegetarian and two Israelis along with assorted Australian "Christmas orphans". The tree is lying horizontal because it is taller than the ceiling and I can't read the labels on anything in the supermarket. Luckily I have a sharp saw and an Ottolenghi cookbook at my disposal, and the internet is not far away. I'm not a great cook but I can wing it and roast pork is not too hard, even in someone else's kitchen. I'm not sure where I'm going to get the pork right now but I have sourced some turkey and found a great recipe for pan roasted turkey breast to solve the oven space problem. Pomegranate and cranberry sauce will give it a local twist. If I can't find the pork it will not be a catastrophe.
We are not a religious family but the tree and the presents are a secular tradition now, and fun to share with people of other traditions as they have shared their traditions with us here in Israel and in other parts of the world.
Berlin 7.40 am 21st Dec -
Still dark and not getting
 much lighter
It is strange to look across the park to the winter blue of the Mediterranean and think of all the conflict so very close at hand. I've been here before in troubled times and it always strikes me that it is odd that the sun keeps shining, the sky stays blue and people keep going to get their groceries.
Berlin a few days ago was grey and bleak despite its Christmas regalia. Ice fell from the sky, thunder rolled and the day was hardly seen. Even the gluhwein at the Christmas markets failed to bring the colour back to the city. That's what I've always imagined days would be like everywhere when the world was in trouble. Maybe I've seen too many black and white movies.
I guess what worries me is that trouble can come even when the sun is shining. There will be no dark soundtrack to warn us that we have crossed the line from peaceful times to troubled ones - just subliminal warnings that we can choose to ignore at our peril.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Creative Writing Workshop Reminder

The March 2015 Creative Doctors creative writing workshop with Dr Hilton Koppe is filling fast. If you want to come please reserve your place by paying the registration fee as per the instructions on your email.
If you are not on the Creative Doctors mailing list and would like to be, contact us via this blog.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Well-deserved praise for a very accomplished poet

Dr Margie Gottlieb

Greg Sheridan in "The Forum" column on Page 2 of the Review Section of this week's Weekend Australian describes a poem by our own Margie Gottlieb as a "savage lament",  "Phillip Larkin-like" in its directness. High praise, but well-deserved, for this very talented creative doctor.

The New Voices Anthology cover
features a beautiful ikebana
arrangement by Prof Dexter Dunphy
who is also one of the poets.
Margie belongs to a group of poets who have been meeting regularly for several years to share and polish their work. Two of them are members of the Creative Doctors network. Twelve of the group have contributed to a newly published anthology entitled New Voices. The collection is an eclectic mix of subject and style held together by the poets collective love of language, and especially of poetry.

The New Voices collection is available from Better Read Than Dead in Newtown (Click here for their website) or from the contributing poets. If we are very lucky Margie might contribute something soon for the blog!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What a wonderful man!

Have you heard of Dr Hilton Koppe?

Hilton is a GP and medical educator from the beautiful NSW North Coast who had a life changing experience when a patient presented him with a poem.

Click HERE to watch Hilton at work and hear him tell the story of the experience that changed his life.

Hilton is coming to Sydney in March 2015 to give a full day writing workshop especially for Creative Doctors.

Watch your email closely for an invitation or contact us now via the comments below or the email contact box on the right if you are interested in attending.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Active Locums and Creative Doctors: A perfect match!

I asked our event sponsor, Judith Babich of Active Locums Pty Ltd, to tell us a little about her agency and its involvement with Creative Doctors:

Judith Babich
"Over the years, Active Locums Pty Ltd have had an interesting and eclectic mix of talented doctors registered and working through our agency who have also had careers outside of medicine. These included an actor, an opera singer, a number of aspiring writers and some classically trained musicians and dancers.Creative Doctors is a group that aims to nurture creativity in doctors and encourage a healthy work-life balance, something that is also strongly encouraged by Judith Babich, the Director of Active Locums Pty Ltd. The relationship between Active Locums and Creative Doctors began when we realised that some of our doctors had these extraordinary creative talents and the relationship has blossomed ever since.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Walking My Camino - Ann Theresa Gregory's First Solo Exhibition

Dr Ann Gregory cordially invites Creative Doctors to the opening of her first solo exhibition of ceramics and oils at ESP Gallery, 228 Illawarra Rd Marrickville. 

The exhibition will run from 4th - 21st December with the opening at 

4-6pm on Saturday 6th December

Guest Speaker will be:

Lorraine Kypiotis BFA Co-ordiator and Lecturer in Art History at the National Art School, Sydney

Anne has taken her inspiration for this exhibition from the scenes and symbols along the Way of St James from Surria to Santiago de Compostela in medieval Spain

To read  more about Ann and see more of her work here's a link to her Facebook page

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Invitation to a World Premiere in Sydney

Dr Tony Chu
Creative doctor Tony Chu and the Chair and Board of Take Heart Australia have extended an invitation to all Creative Doctors to the premiere of Tony's new documentary film "Making Hearts Beat Again". The documentary centres around a Community CPR event held at Sydney's Luna Park, which was held to celebrate the inaugural Take Heart Australia Day in May this year. Here's a link to the trailer

Tony directed and produced the documentary as well as performing as interviewer.

Take Heart Australia is a new not for profit organisation with a single aim - to increase the rate of survival of Australians after sudden cardiac arrest.

The screening will be held in the Auditorium at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 2nd December at 6.30 (for a 7.00pm start)

Hurry to RSVP to premiere@takeheartaustralia.org by Friday 21st November

Monday, 10 November 2014

Why you shouldn't fret over broken sleep.

Click here  to read a great article about sleep in the current issue of the online magazine Aeon that will have you wishing you could have a few more sleepless nights.
Karen Emslie, a Scottish writer, artist, photographer (click here to see  her photostream on flickr) and nocturnal wanderer, has pulled together some provoking thoughts about the history of human sleep and why broken sleep is a "golden time" for creativity.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

25 Great Writing Tips from 5 Young Australian Writers

I’m just back from the Emerging Writers Roadshow at the NSW Writers Centre (click here to go to the website) and I'm very inspired by the young writers I met there.  The best bit was probably the plenary at the beginning of the day when 5 young Australian writers each shared their 5 best writing tips. 
Here’s a summary of their advice for success as a writer:

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Reminder About the Concert on Sunday

This is a final reminder about the concert at Waverley War Memorial Hospital on Sunday evening (9th November)
Creative Doctor Nick Brennan is organising the concert as a benefit for the hospital and it will feature acoustic music from Nick and others at a brand new venue at the hospital.

Here's the information you need:

Friday, 31 October 2014

Watch this Blogspace for 2015 event dates

Three times a year Creative Doctors hosts events for creative doctors.
Early in the year (March/April) we host a Visual Arts event in a variety interesting spaces around Sydney where doctor visual artists and medical students are invited to display their works.
Mid-year we have a Writers Night where poets and novelists, playwrights and historians get together to discuss their writing and to read a little of their work to us all.
And in September we have a performance night at the Camelot Lounge in Marrickville, a cool venue with everything a performer could want to show off their talent. Medicos who are musicians, magicians, dancers, actors, comedians, songwriters and filmakers are all welcome. Audience members are especially welcome!
In 2015 we are planning some extra surprises so keep a close eye us.
Get in touch with Creative Doctors via this blog  if you'd like to be involved
Allana Bruce at Camelot 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Afternoon Run

I've just posted another of my stories on the Original Words page of this blog
Its called Afternoon Run (click on the title to find it) and a version of it was first published in an anthology called The Fat Lady Collection in 2012
For this story I owe a debt to the example set by Israeli author Etgar Keret whose quirky short stories encourage me to be a little wild sometimes. My goal is to eventually do quirky as well as he does!
Any creative doctors out there who are keen to share their work on the blog are very welcome to contact me.

News for Budding Writers

There is an Emerging Writers Festival in November that Creative Doctor writers may be interested in attending.
This year the Roadshow will visit Melbourne, Canberra and Wagga Wagga before the big Festival event at the NSW Writers Centre (in the grounds of Rozelle Hospital) on Saturday 8th November.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Who is this delightful and mysterious young woman and what is she doing?

There's more to creativity than just staying sane - it actually might make us better doctors.

Here is some reading material to help convince you of the importance of your creative pursuits (Click on the titles of the articles to link to them):

What Are You Doing Creatively these Days? is an article from the November 2012 issue of Academic Medicine which deals in detail with the reasons why doctors need to nurture their creativity.

Danielle Ofri MD (Joon Park)
How Creative is Your Doctor? is an article by New York Times blogger and Assoc. Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, Danielle Ofri, from March 2013 in which she expands further on the subject of the importance creativity in both diagnosis and treatment and the importance of being able to "actively consider ideas that don't normally sit together".
She says "We need to flex the oddball neurons that connect the disparate corners of our consciousness. They need to be honed in the same manner as muscles at the gym, with ongoing stretches and workouts."

Monday, 20 October 2014

Help me out!! Tell me if I should keep bothering.

I have now made 20 posts to this blog. I am still very keen to get the Creative Doctors message out there.
I know from the Google stats that people are looking at the blog but I don't know who they are or if those who look are the only people receiving its content.
If you like this blog please sign up to get email notifications of posts. (There is a place to do that at the very bottom of the right hand column on this page). If you get email notifications please click through to the blog itself rather than just reading the email. If you click through, the stats tell me you have visited but I won't know that if you just read the email.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please make some comments! The place to do so is at the top of the right hand column (right now it is just beside this post) or you can just click where it says how many comments there have been in the box below each post. (The advantage of doing it via the box below is that you don't need to give your email address.)
ALSO, have a close look at the box below this post and you will see that  in that box are some tick boxes labelled "interesting", "cool" and "inspiring". Please tick these boxes if you agree. (If you want to make negative comments you will have to go to the trouble of typing them in!)
If you make a comment it will not appear on the blog straight away because I've got it set so all comments are moderated. Your comments will however appear pretty soon after you make them.
Let me know you are out there!

Friday, 17 October 2014

See Nick Brennan Live in Concert Sunday 9th November

Here's an opportunity to hear some great live music and help a worthy cause:
Dr Nick Brennan at Camelot in 2014

at Sydney's newest acoustic venue -
The Stables” at War Memorial Hospital Waverley.

Drinks and finger food will be served from 6.30pm and the music will  begin at 7.30pm

This, the first ever concert in this new venue, features local artists performing covers and original material.

Performers will include: Nick Brennan, Naomi Crain, JohnConnell, Adam & Sally Gotlieb, Bryony Adams and
Ewan Battersby

The original 19th century stable of the Vickery Estate has been refurbished into a modern education venue and is ideal for intimate performances. It is situated at the rear of the hospital with the entrance at the corner of Carrington Rd and Church St., Waverley

$40 entrance fee includes food and one complimentary drink. Students and pensioners $25

All proceeds of the night go directly to the War Memorial Hospital “Art for Life” program which raises money to enrich the hospital ward environment.

For tickets or more information ! contact:

Click here to find out more about the War Memorial Hospital Waverley

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Here's a little story by Jan Orman (me) that asks you to read between its lines to get to the truth:

 I saw you in the obituaries today. Excellent photo – taken at the best time of your life. A little after I knew you I think, just as the newly greying temples were distinguishing your face. A little bit before you were someone important enough to have his obituary in the Herald.
I haven’t been looking for you there. You have not been on my mind much at all these last years. I just read the obituaries as a pastime and today, right out of the blue, there you were.
When I was young, at high school perhaps, clock radios were new. Mine jolted me awake at 8.15 with the news of who had died overnight and whose funeral could be attended that day. I was fascinated by the scant details about people’s lives I gleaned from the announcements. I filled in the gaps as best I could with extra imaginings and waited breathlessly when I heard a surname I recognised to see if the children or grandchildren that survived lovingly were anybody I knew. Country towns are small worlds. I got a hit at least once a week.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Do you want to be in the movies? Here's your chance!

Dr Tony Chu

Filmmaker Dr Tony Chu is extending an invitation to interested Creative Doctors to participate in his current cinematic projects.
Tony is the founding President of the Creative Doctors Network. His main creative interest is cinema. He has acted in, directed and produced many short films and currently convenes a group of doctors with interest in film known as Cinematic Doctors.

Film projects currently in pre-production include:

  • Dud Stethoscope - a short film about a famous detective who asks his doctor for help in solving a case
  • Target - a short film about an army lookout who reports seeing a ghost
  • The Dolls - a short film that asks the question about how many people in Seattle are trained in CPR
  • Inflame- a feature film in which a corporate "terminator" rediscovers his medical skills to help people after an unnatural disaster
If you are interested in this project contact Tony on tonycdn@gmail.com. Tony will be pleased to hear from you.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Invitation to a Playback Theatre Performance

You will have read about Brendan McPhillips and his Playback Theatre activities a few posts ago. Here is an invitation from Brendan to see for yourself what it’s all about this Saturday afternoon at the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Nick Brennan - guitarist / singer-songwriter

Before you read what Nick has to say about himself here's a link to his album which will speak for itself:

Marching Single File in Limbo cover art

"I am a geriatrician, UNSW conjoint Associate Professor at St Vincent’s in Sydney, for years department head of Acute Geriatrics at St Vincent's, but now concentrating more on sub-acute and geriatric rehabilitation and community geriatrics, based at War Memorial hospital as well as continuing in acute care at Vinnies.

Nick Brennan at Camelot 2014
I have always been a guitarist and played semi-professionally for a while (great ambitions, not so much talent) and have recorded an album of Scottish folk music whilst living overseas in Scotland.  I played in the Edinburgh Festival two years running in a band called Seannachie, as well as many other folk festivals in Scotland.  A few years ago I started writing songs about life, ageing, politics, life and love, and released my first solo album last year.  This was released as a fund raising effort for War Memorial Hospital and raised $15,000 for a hospital art fund that I set up, to get decent artwork on the walls of our little hospital.  As well as some large framed prints on the walls of the wards, we now have a large mural painted on a wall and are planning a second mural to be funded by our next fund raiser, which will be a “folk night” in November.  I think joining the music with the art program has been a great success.

I have written a lot more music and am planning to record another album next year."

Friday, 12 September 2014

Isabel McTigue - Representing Australia on Roller Skates

Medical student Isabel McTigue wowed the crowd at Camelot last year with her illuminated hula hoops and, in 2014, returned to do it again, this time with her sister Annie, and both of them on roller skates!
Isabel at Camelot in 2013
Inspired by the figure skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Isabel and her younger sister Annie (also a medical student) did the best they could to emulate the Olympic stars with the facilities they could find in rural south-western WA. There wasn't a lot of ice available, so the roller skating rink in Bunbury, 20 minutes drive from their home town, became their second home.
"We’d always loved rollerblading, dancing and athletics, and artistic roller skating looked like the perfect combination of these. We started classes there on weekends and before we knew it we were at the rink six days a week. I love the fact that skating is a high impact sport that combines fitness, strength and agility with grace and artistry."
Isabel and her sister Annie in a quieter moment
at Camelot in 2014
Now Isabel is off to Spain to compete in the World Artistic Roller Skating Championships in late September. She won silver and gold medals at the National Championships this year and is representing Australia in Spain in inline figure skating.
"This will be my first World Championships - I can't explain how excited I am! Even better, I'm studying Medicine/Arts with Spanish as my Arts major, so the location couldn't be more perfect" 
Click here to read more about Isabel and see some great pictures of her in both her roles.
There'll be more news about Isabel (and lots of sparkling pictures) next month, after the World Championships.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Pictures from Camelot

Sponsor Judith Babich
of Active Locums

MC Jan Orman

Here are some images from the Camelot Lounge last Thursday night when our creative doctors took to the stage:

Singer-songwriter Alana Bruce and a lot of camels

Spoken word performer Chendu Gnaneswaren
Singer Becky Everist with guitarist Mark Horsely and Becky's Dad Steve

Roller skating sisters Isabel and Annie McTigue

Sujata Allan

Loyola McLean and the von Crapp Family Singers

Singer-songwriter Nick Brennan

Singer-songwriter Brian Gutkin

Improvisational Poet
Denis Lewis-Enright

Slam Poet - Mariam Chalaan

Singer-songwriter Myles Gutkin

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Brendan McPhillips and Playback Theatre

Dr Brendan McPhillips performing at the Camelot Lounge, Sept 2014

The man in the picture is a psychotherapist and a performer. This his story:

"My name is Brendan McPhillips and I am a member of the improvised playback theatre group Out of the Box. There are around 10 of us in the group, and we perform publicly 4 times a year, usually upstairs at the Roxbury Hotel in Glebe in Sydney's inner west.

Playback was started 30 years ago by Jonathan Fox in America. It grew out of Psychodrama, but, rather than being therapeutic, it was designed as performance - performance for communities that enabled them to reflect on themselves, and see the common human threads that run through all groups of people. 
At a playback performance a 'conductor' stands in front of the audience. Behind the conductor are 4 actors and a musician. The conductor asks audience members to tell stories from their lives. These are then enacted immediately and without rehearsal by the performers. Often something seemingly ordinary that would otherwise pass by without notice becomes startling and moving.

I became involved in playback theatre myself 20 years ago, when, on a whim, I did a course in improvised theatre. It has subsequently seamed my life with such a vein of gold that I still often stand on stage in wonder at how this extraordinary path opened to me"

Important Link

This video clip is too important for you to miss.
click here
Unfortunately it was not created by one of our doctors but I'm sure it will be of interest to all of you - there was a doctor involved!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Our Evening at Camelot

It was Creative Doctors Performers Night last night and what a great time we had!
Surrounded by camels (yes, I mean it) we sat stunned while act after act of talented medicos showed us how they wasted their leisure hours. From bluegrass fiddle to jazz piano, from slam poetry to spoken word performance; singer-songwiters, impromptu poets and hula hoop skaters all graced the stage of Camelot. Several short films rounded thing as out nicely. Doctors can do anything (and they do it very well)!
A number of performers came back for more this year after we cheered loudly for them in 2013, but we also had quite a few newcomers. The well of talent is very deep. It was also very satisfying to see many people there who had just come to see and hear the spectacle.
We are so lucky that our event sponsor, Judith Babich from Active Locums, is as taken with the Camelot Lounge as we are – she’s keen to do it all again next year, and so are we.

I’ll be back with more detail on the performers and performances when I catch my breath. Howard tells me he has some great photos.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Our Shows are Formidable!

Life is full of surprises - not least of which is the kind of thing that goes on when doctors take to the stage.

Performers Night this year will again be at the wonderful Camelot Lounge in Marrickville and will feature, among others, the notorious Dow Jones and the All Ordinaries as well as a return visit from the Westmead Hospital film makers - this time the psychotherapists' dream team. By special request there will be a return performance by last years highlight Isabel McTigue and her flaming hula hoops. New acts and old ...at Camelooooot. (Doesn't it just make you want to burst into song!)
Camelot Lounge Cnr Railway Pde and Marrickville Rd Marrickville
Thursday 4th September - BE THERE!

Friday, 22 August 2014

half way to istanbul

Since joining a poets group several years ago my previously erratic poetry output has become much more regular and more satisfying.
I wrote this poem in April 2013 on a plane on my way to a conference in Istanbul via Seoul. It was a time when the North Korean leadership was once more flexing its nuclear muscles. 

half way to istanbul

across the misted plain
a cumulus castle presses
ragged battlements
against a fiery sky 

to the north a dragon
bigger than the castle -
bigger than the mountain
on which the castle stands -
rears up and
roars at the setting sun

the cabin lights dim -
down below
liquid lines of headlights flow
across the darkened landscape -
wing tips rise
anticipating home
for some this journey ends
in warm beds
in this land of grace
but for the rest
stiff necks and swollen feet
come with us
as we flee towards the sunset
out of dragon’s reach

Friday, 15 August 2014

Musicus Medicus and the NSW Doctors Orchestra

by Dr Cathy Fraser

Reflecting my limited Latin learned by slow osmosis during my medical and musical studies, “Musicus Medicus” is the name I came up with when I founded the NSW Doctors Orchestra in 2004. We now have about 250 members who welcome the opportunity to combine their work in medicine with their ongoing interest in and passion for music. At least once a year, 60 to 80 doctors and medical students from all areas of NSW come together at one time to play in the orchestra with general practice and all specialties represented. Apart from the hard work and fun it’s also a great chance to catch up with colleagues from a variety of fields of medicine. We like to think we’re promoting a healthier life-work balance at the same time as having heaps of fun making good music.

Musicus Medicus supports both the arts and medicine by donating to the Sydney Eisteddfod as well as to a different medical charity of our choice each year.  The Eisteddfod has served as a launching pad for many of the musicians in the orchestra as well as many of the professionals who join us as soloists.  We fund the NSW Doctors Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship for young soloists aged 16 to 25 years of age. In addition we support the Young Virtuosi Program run by Fine Music 102.5FM. 
The medical charity this year was the Day of Difference Foundation, which aims to reduce the incidence and impact of children's critical injury in Australia. Founded in 2004 by Ron and Carolyn Delezio following the tragic and highly publicised accidents of their daughter Sophie, the Foundation's pioneering 6-year Paediatric Critical Injury Research Program is building evidence to deliver improved outcomes for critically injured children and their families. 
You can find Musicus Medicus on Facebook.

If you’re interested in joining us or supporting us, check out our website www.nswdo.net.au

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Invitation from Dr Richard Wu

Richard Wu is Sydney-based psychiatrist with an interest in painting, psyche and the neuroscience of creativity. He is a contemporary Chinese Ink Brush painter and has developed a psychological model of understanding Chinese painting about which he has lectured internationally, in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. He is a longstanding supporter of Creative Doctors.
Richard would like to invite you to a free talk he is giving on the history of Chinese classical art on Saturday 30th August at the China Cultural Centre in Sydney which he promises to be accessible to people who are interested in the subject but without much prior knowledge. The talk promises to be "a brilliant visual journey accompanied with stories of dynasties and individual cultural icons, and their creative endeavours, from 300 A.D. to the dawn of the 20th Century".


Saturday, 9 August 2014

More About Us

Medicine is a hard taskmaster and can be all-consuming if we let it –  sometimes at the expense of our health and our relationships, but also at the expense of our talents. Medical students and graduates are often people who had to choose medicine over other possibilities for which they were equally well-equipped  - music, art, sport, the humanities generally.
 In 2010 a small group of Sydney doctors were disturbed by the imminent demise of Dr Tony Chu’s Creative Doctors Network. Tony, an actor and filmmaker, had run the Network with great enthusiasm and success for several years, providing support and encouragement for doctors who needed or wanted to rediscover their creative selves. Circumstances prevented him from continuing to do so.
Several of us decided that we couldn’t do without the network, providing as it had the impetus for us to reignite or expand our creativity.
Marg Gottlieb, Howard Gwynne and I got together with Judith Babich of Active Locums, who had also sponsored the CDN and was prepared to continue sponsoring our activities, to come up with something to keep the creativity bubbling.
For the last 3 years we have organised three functions a year, one each for visual artists, writers and performers, to help them network with likeminded doctors, provide them with a venue to display their works and  to encourage others to renew their interest in creativity for their health’s sake. (There is actually an evidence base for this idea and, if you insist, I will talk about it another time)
This blog is a natural extension of what we’ve already been doing. We’re hoping everyone will enjoy it and contribute

One of Our Performing Doctors at the Camelot  Lounge in Marrickville, Sydney
(not what you expected is it?)

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Sex on Thursdays

Short Story

Sex on Thursdays 

Jan Orman

"Have you noticed how much happier Dad seems to be these last few weeks?”
Bill looked up from the paper with the blankest look he could muster as Myra bustled in the door with the groceries. “You must have noticed! He’s even shaving and he told me today that he was planning to go back to bridge.” Bill smiled to himself but said nothing, not trusting himself to speak. She was used to his silence so she just carried on.
“I have to say I don’t know what I think about it. On the one hand I’m really pleased – it’s time he tried to have a life without Mum – but on the other it feels wrong. Part of me thinks he should grieve for her forever."
That’s what he’d always loved about Myra. She was totally honest and full of very human contradictions. Who, for example, seeing her sweet face, her soft white curls and her plump matronly body, would ever believe she liked sex so much! Bill could only count his blessings on that score.
“At least it gets me off the hook a bit” Myra sighed. “I might not have to visit quite as often. My garden is a mess - I need to fix it up before Christmas. I think some of my friends have forgotten what I look like.”

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Margo Hoekstra - Sculpture and the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio

There's something new for the Visual Arts page!

Margo Hoekstra started studying sculpture with Tom Bass in 1983.She continues to make sculpture at the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio and is represented by them. She has been honorary chairperson of the Studio School since 2003 and has been the driving force behind their program development.
In her spare time Margo is a Sydney General Practitioner.

Wind Rider - Margo Hoekstra 2009

Monday, 4 August 2014


Here we go! Launch Day for the Creative Doctors Blog.
I'm struggling a little with the technology but it looks like we are up and running. Welcome everyone -thanks for dropping in to see us.

Just to get us started I've posted some beautiful pictures here and under the Original Visual Art tab by Organising Committee member Howard Gwynne. You can see more of these on his personal blog at www.howardgwynne.blogspot.com and there will be poetry from Margie and Jan coming soon. Jan's new story "Sex on Thursdays" can be found under the "Original Words" tab

If you are a creative doctor and would like to send us a contribution to the blog please do so.

If you have any strong opinions or personal stories about the value of creativity to mental health (or health generally) we'd like to hear those as well.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Photographic works by Dr Howard Gwynne:

the colours of anxiety

The figure (both of us) is small, jittery and red; the world around is big, overwhelmingly full of energy and colour and demanding attention.  The colours are bright, but intense and shrill - like a fingernail scratched on a board.  The puzzle of anxiety is its full of impending happening – the ingredients of life are there in over abundance - like a juggle with a hundred bright balls in the air at once and all about to crash down in my shaking, grabbing hands.

 the feel of depression

The bent over, downcast, slow moving figure surrounded by blowing greyness reflects the hopeless, insomniac, worthless, slowness, symptoms of depression. But more than anything the picture captures the trudging sense of emptiness and unrelenting bleakness that GPs and the families of the depressed see and live with. This is the perspective of incomprehensible endlessness rather than the depressive’s walled prison.

Friday, 1 August 2014

About Us

This is a blog for medical students and graduates with a creative streak.

We've found quite a few talented people in the years we've been running events for Creative Doctors. The world may have been a richer place if they had all decided not to study medicine!

Who are we?

We are Marg Gottleib, Howard Gwynne and Jan Orman. We are all Sydney GPs with an interest in mental health. We try to be creative ourselves but we also try to support the creativity of our colleagues by providing space for them to share the fruits of their creative labour.

Why do we do it?

We are convinced that creativity is good for your mental health and that doctors with good mental health are good for their patients.

We have three functions a year - one for writers, one for visual artists and one for performers.
Judith Babich of Active Locums sponsors these functions and all are welcome to attend to see and hear what these talented practitioners do in their free time.