When I started druidlife it was as a column over at thewww.paganandthenpen.wordpress.com and eventually I took the plunge to go it alone. But, I started with the idea of writing about my life, as a druid. Somewhat nervously. Rather expecting people would drop round to tell me I was doing it all wrong, that I shouldn’t be calling myself a druid etc etc. It wasn’t entirely paranoia, the journey to here has been an odd one.
But there hasn’t been much of that. One troll, who was a personal troll and not some random internet acquisition. Not bad going really, some 300 and more posts on.
When I’m writing the non-fiction, I’m very conscious that druidry is a big, diverse thing full of people who don’t agree with me. I like this about druidry. It keeps us all on our toes. But it means that if I venture a ‘druids do this’ then I risk putting a misleading thought form into the world, and I also risk the manifestation of angry people who want to correct me. My main strategy is to focus on what I do. I use phrases like ‘some druids’ and ‘druids I have met’ and other such ways of leaving room for all the stuff I don’t know about and all the people who do it differently. Years of feedback have taught me, I think, to be careful about my exact phrasing. I’m very grateful to all of the people who have poked and prodded, reminded me of the diversity and generally kept me straight. I still have moments of making generalisations, or not being clear enough in what I say… it’s a work in progress.
Blogging is one thing. There’s a temporary, fleeting quality to a blog that makes me feel ok about it being a work in progress. Books have a far more permanent quality to them. Stepping up as a blogger, I’m just a druid writing about life, but to be an author is far more about claiming some kind of Authority. That makes me nervous. Now, book the first was fairly easy because I was writing off the back of years of experience meditating, running groups, using meditation in ritual and workshops and so forth. I knew what I was talking about, I knew the subject hadn’t been covered by anyone else, I felt fairly easy about sticking my head up and going ‘oi, world, I know some stuff that might possibly be helpful’. And so Druidry and Meditation was born. Book the second will be out in November. It’s got history in it, and I am not a ‘proper’ historian. It’s got all kinds of reflections on what it means to be a druid, where we’ve come from, where we might be going. I’ve tried to hold that open, inclusive blog voice, but I have a lot of strong opinions, and there’s every chance people are not all going to like this one.
But all this pales into insignificance when compared with what I’ve just done on the fiction side. I’ve got a novel with comedy Druids in it. I’ve tested it on some non-druids and they liked it. But, basically, I’m taking the piss. What I’ve written bears some resemblance to the sillier bits of our history and almost no relation to what we modern folk get up to. I think. It’s going to be interesting if I turn out to be wrong on that score!
The thing about druid books, and druid blogs is that I can assume the audience is probably more pagan than not, and knows me as one small voice amongst many. Fiction works in very different ways. I can’t make the same assumptions about the audience, and, I’m taking the piss.
I gather there are some druids who go in for excommunicating other druids (don’t ask me how that works, it’s not my idea of how to be a druid). But, I find myself asking, have I gone too far? Will I get excommunicated by someone? And if so, is it going to be the history, or the piss taking that lands me in most trouble?
Watch this space…