Our borough council had £69k to spend on community projects. It decided to allow the "voters to voice their choice" through a participatory budgeting exercise. Over thirty groups were asked to put in bids for up to £5000 each, and one very hot Saturday, they were to present their ideas to an audience of bona fide residents who would decide on who would get the dosh.

I went along because I am involved in a number of the organisations hoping for some of the funding. I expected to be bored out of my mind. I was not.

Yes, it was hot and stuffy, yes it was a very long day. However, besides the passion, energy, commitment and sheer ingenuity of those vying for the cash to do something positive in their communities, any irritation or discomfort evaporated like sweat off a donkey's bum. I was impressed and inspired.

I am willing to take bets that the number of people in the audience who were not already keenly interested in people action and/or involved with one of the groups, was negligible. The voting, done after each presentation, was very tight, and, in the end, most agreed it was often the quality of the presentation which won. If presenters mumbled or didn't engage with the voters, then they lost points. Near the end, when my spirits were beginning to flag, a cheer-leading group hoisted a young slip of a thing up on a human pyramid nearly to the library's roof, and, against my logical judgement, that gave them an extra point on my paper. And I swear the man from the yachting club got his support because he was good looking and tanned (not from me, I hasten to add).

I was interested in my own process in making decisions. It is easy to criticise funders for not "getting it right", yet I will admit to being swayed by the ephemeral and to voting tactically, to ensure the projects I really wanted to see succeed got most of my votes. I also voted down projects which were perfectly good because I had already supported another for the same cause, such as youth or sport.

I was aware of being part of Cameron's "Big Society" (although this participatory budgeting exercise was made possible by the former government). And I wondered how we would cope with decisions more complex than allocating £2000 here and £3000 there? I'm quite happy telling the government how not to run the country, but am I capable of coming up with a workable alternative?
It's been fifty years since Harper Lee published her seminal novel, To Kill a Mockingbird and I watched an excellent documentary about the author, the book and its influence on BBC4 the other week.

Do I admit to knowing the book only through the film with that powerful performance by Gregory Peck? (Interesting - or maybe thank goodness - there hasn't been a re-make). I used to see a lot of films - I am more selective and less tolerant these days - yet it is scenes from certain ones, such as To Kill a Mockingbird - which still have the force to flicker into my brain as if I had viewed them only yesterday.

Though, according to the documentary, Harper Lee had set out to be a writer and was, by all accounts, a good and a focused one, To Kill a Mockingbird was the only book she ever wrote. After its publication and the storm that produced, she stopped writing (at least for a public audience). "I've said all I have to say, why say more?" was apparently her explanation.

This is not a sentiment I can quite get my head round. Not only do I feel I need to keep repeating myself - is anybody listening anyway? - but I also feel I have more and more to say the more I write. And what about the process of writing? The pure joy and satisfaction of taking and distilling an experience, a feeling, an idea, into words and sharing that? I can't imagine that ever becoming stale for me.

Still, I have never, up to now, experienced the sudden and phenomenal - perhaps over-whelming - critical success Harper Lee did. Perhaps, in some ways, I've been lucky as, at least, I've been left with my writing.
Am I letting time slip by? Should I be pushing myself to do more? Or does creativity need dips - pauses? Sometimes if I do force myself to write, I will enjoy it and produce something satisfying. At other times I can nail myself down (as one of my friends puts it) and nothing comes and I feel a failure. Yet I won't know until I try. And my process seems to require a lot of musing, along with many breaks. I wonder if this is laziness, procrastination or necessary? It's a funny, slippery quirk, this thing I call creativity.

Titles have been exercising me this week. It came up at a get together I had with a couple of writer companions. How to choose a title for a poem, to say just enough but not too much. And then Daniel Stern dedicates a whole section to how he came up with the title for his book The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life (WW Norton & Co, New York, London, 2004). Personally I think he made a mistake in not sticking with his first thought, "A World in a Grain of Sand". This would also have gone perfectly with the cover illustration, sand sifting through an hour glass (though, presumably, the cover was the last thing to be decided on).

I wanted to give a title to the small research project I have embarked on, but found myself stumped. It is looking at the writing journey - an over-used phrase and title if ever there was one - and is bringing out themes around potential swamped and then re-discovered. Re-surfacing has come to mind, but could indicate a treatise on tarmac, whereas Surfacing, I'm fairly sure, has been used for a novel, perhaps by Margaret Atwood.

I have had better luck finding a title for the series of novels which I'm pretending I am not writing: The Art of... The Art of Surviving I have already, and I am starting on The Art of Leaving. The possibilities are endless, which I guess is what Sue Grafton thought when she started on her A is for... crime series.
Two stories in June's Therapy Today caught my eye. One was a news item which quoted the World Health Organisation as saying that neurological and mental disorders are the leading cause of ill health and disability globally. Voluntary organisations apparently find it hard to raise money for mental health projects because pictures of people suffering from mental distress don't tug at our heart strings enough.

At the end of the piece there was the statistic that half of all countries in the world have one psychiatrist per 100,000 people. And I wondered if this was really a worrying figure. Many societies outside of the West have very different attitudes to mental well-being to ours, and I have read the suggestion that some are more enlightened, more tolerant, more empowering. Perhaps, just possibly, psychiatrists and Western style mental health "solutions" are not the answer everywhere.

The second article was right the other end of the journal giving the results of a BACP professional conduct hearing. A complaint about a practitioner had been made because he had commented on a social networking site about a client in such a way that the young person could be identified. There seemed no doubt that in this case the therapist had been foolish and broken his duty for confidentiality. It did make me sharply draw in my breath, however. I am exceptionally careful about, and sensitive to, confidentiality, even so, would one day a client's identity seep into something I was writing and leave me quite rightly vulnerable to a complaint?