In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Fable 15 – Jane Smith Goes to the Doctor


This short piece explores the experience of being trapped in a category. Here is a link to it. In this case, the category is a medical one, medicine being a benevolent discipline which means only well. Yet still it can be painful and debilitating to be put in a box, even a benevolent one, and coping strategies are needed. The piece becomes a short reflection on what is fact, how to establish fact and how to preserve it.

This is the fifteenth of sixteen essays called “Fables and Reflections.” The series has been commended by Iain McGilchrist, a psychiatrist who is also author of an important book called “The Master and His Emissary—The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World”. This is what he has to say about the Fables : “When I wrote a book about the structure of  the brain and its influence on culture, I did not expect for one minute that it would inspire artists, poets and musicians in the way that it has. I find it deeply touching to be asked by Rogan Wolf to write a brief forward for these clever and  insightful  prose poems – for that is what they are. He feels my book provides a fitting context for them. But their beauty and the imagination that created them are all his. They are full of wisdom that we need very badly to hear. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do..”

Each Fable takes just a few minutes to read. I am uploading them one at a time, every month or so. The idea behind this approach is that people running all day just to keep up, are more likely to read them in short doses and at intervals.

But for those who prefer them all at once, here is a link to the sixteen together.

The series was written in a time of pause after a working life in mental health care. But it is not specifically about mental health. In some ways it tries to offer a few sign-posts for times in which it seems particularly easy to get lost. Above all, perhaps, it explores the issue of what makes community healthy, what secures connection, how are we to live in the world in such a way that neither our neighbour nor our world suffer that we may briefly thrive ? In a sense you can say that, in exploring the constituents of community here, and at this time of strain and fragmentation, frantic materialism and crude zealotry, the series asks and discusses what are the binding and redemptive skills of true human connection, the skills of being human, the skills of love.

The series is soon to be published in book form.

If you find value in “Fables and Reflections”, please send word of them to people you know who you think might want to read them. You could simply pass on this blog address, or, alternatively,  I am happy to e-mail them individually as attachments to people who would find that easier. I am already doing that for some people.  I would also be happy to send hard copy versions by surface mail.  If that is your preference, just send me your address.