Writing as Therapy

Stroke Story

Twelve years ago my life was transformed in a most traumatic way by a massive brain hemorrhage.

My need for expression was strong from the moment I regained consciousness that horrible day. I suffered from apraxia, a motor-neuron defect of speech, which caused my words to come out jumbled., and aphasia, a word-finding defect. In the first months in rehabilitation, I could do little for myself; my dominant right side was paralyzed.  


As soon as I could sit at the computer at home, I began to work on the gardening newsletter I designed, authored, and published for my 55-plus community. Sadly, I could no longer garden and, to my regret needed to give up my cheery, colorful, and informative newsletter. 

My community supported me after the stroke, but couldn't provide the same service as I--with my many years of professional garden experience--could offer. 


I decided to take online writing courses and delved into the meaning and making of memoir. With practice and wonderful teachers, in 2016 I self-published "Stroke Story: My Journey There and Back."



A decade later, I published 'Coming To Terms," my chapbook that traces my emotional and physical recovery from a devastating trauma in Haiga (haiku and photo imagery), Haibun prose poetry, and essay.

Watercolor Leaves



Bad MountainWeather



Fog of voices

a cool white bed

"How do you feel? 

you are lucky--delayed ambulance--helicopter--

bad mountain weather"

This summer of bad weather

all I can is be

loss of worth and choice

in this place of respite

Through long, lost weeks, weakened

I work brain and body

in summer of no birds and gardens

until sky and mind clear


When sunlight sparkles red and yellow

and slanted daylight breaches my haven's notches

I speak, walk, in new strength

and drink from a chilly stream of courage


Laurel Ridge, Fayette County, Pennsylvania


Sarasota, Florida 

by Mary Ellen Gambutti

published Spring 2019 The Bamboo Hut












haiga of longing

If only I could gather

scattered rosebuds


If only.._#Haiga.jpg