Creative writing helps Mansfield Woodhouse man through pandemic struggles

The struggles of lockdown and the pandemic tempted a Mansfield Woodhouse man to turn his hand to creative writing as a means of therapy.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:08 pm

And so successful has he been that he now has his own website, showcasing his thoughtful work.

Chris Clay, 29, holds down a key job, working for the NHS in the laboratories at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton.

"Through the pandemic, we have dealt with all the coronavirus blood samples and swabs, so it has been a bit of a rough ride,” he said.

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Chris Clay and his wife Jasmine, 25, who is a big supporter of his writing work.

"With my job, I found it difficult. My wife, Jasmine, also had to work from home, which she found a real challenge, as it has been for thousands of people because it is so alien.

“We have no children, we couldn’t see family and friends, and I was out of the house a lot because I work shifts. So you can imagine the stresses and strains.

"All that played a large part in me starting to put pen to paper.

"I saw it as an outlet to release my feelings and frustrations, while balancing it with my career in the NHS.”

Chris Clay at Hardwick Ponds, next to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, which is one of the places that has inspired his writing.

The themes for Chris’s writing are largely drawn from nature, landscapes and scenery in the Mansfield area.

For instance, ‘Ode To Sherwood’, focuses on Sherwood Forest, while ‘White Horses’ uses water as a metaphor and came to him while he was walking along the River Maun.

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Chris, who is originally from Edwinstowe, added: "I have always been a massive reader, and I like to think of myself as a good orator.

"But writing is something that only came to me during lockdown last year.

"I saw it as a way to process my emotions and what I was feeling and, at the same time, to potentially inspire other people.

"I am trying to convince myself and others that the good times are coming back round again.

"I firmly believe that producing visual or literary works has helped me manage throughout this pandemic, and I hope it can bring a smile to the community too.”

So far, Chris has written six pieces. Most are in a poetry style, but one is an opinion piece on shopping habits in which he asks: “Can the high street be saved from the big, bad Internet?”

They can all be found on a website,, that has been set up for Chris by a friend.

He plans to continue his writing and hopes that, one day, his work can be professionally published, or even displayed at local landmarks.

He said: “It would be good to think that when people visit local places, they would be able to correlate with my work and understand the metaphorical meaning behind it.”

Chris considers ‘Ode To Sherwood’ to be his best piece so far. Here is an extract from it:

When you cannot see the wood amongst the trees, remember Robin and his band of men, yearning only for life’s necessities. For the wild place can give us peace and thought, even when the mind is fraught.

So take a deep breath as you face the Major. We must think not of the danger as each fallen branch has met its end. The Forest will being new life following the morning sun’s tend.

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