About Bruce’s Writings
Right from its inception Movie Monday empowered me. It was a kind of platform. Soon I had a bit of a track record from which to write letters and thoughts about being personally on a new course.
I had gone from being a humbled patient, disabled by bipolar disorder, to one who got this amazing opportunity to be a “movie mogul” with my own theatre in which to share my choices of films. I was running my own autonomous program, a provider. After a while had my own key!
One of the first things I wrote after the premiere event was a letter to the hospital requesting booking the theatre for Mondays for the year and a half (Writings 1993 6).
Early on I started using the backs of the programs to publish thoughts about my recovery, about MM’s possibilities, about what I was discovering about film as a catalyst for sharing ideas on many topics; often mental illness, but about all sorts of human experiences. That’s usually the essence of an engrossing filmed story – how people react to challenges. They could be considered part of this “Writings” collection.
I expressed in some of my letters, and even more boldly in “published” pages, my frustration with the formal mental health system not being as responsive and engaged as they should have been with “consumer initiatives”. (“Challenge” 1993 12 – which got me into a very uncomfortable “ambush” meeting with managers, “Rabbit and Fox” 1997 11 and “Partnership Problems” 1995 11)
Weekly I was seeing the effectiveness of my program and the similar outreaches of my peers. I attended round tables as the “MM guy”, sitting with EDs of various mental health agencies and psychiatrists, which was great, but few other “consumers of mental health services” attended.
I was writing (and also phoning) a lot to get previews and rights to screen films, to organize guest speakers – I had a reason and a position to make these connections, to draw others into my process. (eg. 2 letters: Helfgott 1997 10, Rick Hansen 1999 ) Not all worked out but I had the audacity to try. And many were fruitful.
I wrote a lot and I kept Xerox copies of a lot of my early hand-written correspondence as I felt what I was doing was substantial. Here are some samples of those writings…
To keep track of events; how many came, how much donated, and other details and impressions – I wrote on a sheet of foolscap after each event, 3 examples here of consecutive events in June 1999. Not all as chatty as these but a good sample of varying success of events; thoughts at the time, an anniversary and a lowest ever audience, then a good audience again: (1999 6-1 to 1999 6-3)
Also included are a couple of samples of Coordinator’s Reports for AGMs (2003 & 2018) that list a bunch of the years events and initiatives. Again I was enthused about what my thrifty little program was accomplishing.
Looking back now from 71 years old it is great to see my enthusiasm and energy that went into MM. It was a quest to make every Monday night something special and hopefully to spread the idea.