Category Archives: Uncategorized

Life with a donate button

There are a number of ways of putting a donate button onto a blog. I’ve looked at two – if you upgrade your paypal account to a business account, you can have a paypal donate button. There’s also this – which is free, and I’ve chosen to go with it. I can recommend it as an easy thing to set up, although it does require you to have paypal.

So, what happens when you donate to me, or to any other creative person, be it via this platform, paypal, patreon etc?

First up, donations are a huge validation. We live in a culture where money has a massive role, and is linked, whether we like it or not, to sense of worth. Most creators don’t earn much for their creativity, and small donations can be very powerful as a consequence.

Secondly, that thing about creators often being relatively poor. You may be helping buy a person time when they don’t have to work on other jobs. You may help them pay their bills or buy food for that week. If enough people donate, you may be moving them from their former employment towards doing the thing you love them doing, full time – Patreon is an especially good platform for this. If you want more of what a person does, this can be a way of helping make that possible.

Donations can help a person save up to cover costs – that might be studio time for recording, new equipment, courses, research materials, print runs and so forth. It might mean under-writing the cost of going to events – its hard to get seen and build an audience if you don’t do events but transport and accommodation aren’t provided for free if you aren’t already a big name.

Donations help a creator take risks. If you have to make every creative venture pay for itself quickly, and for your time on it, and cover your rent, then its hard to take risks. Getting a big, original project moving takes time, and involves risk. You can help make magic things happen.

The idea that creativity should happen for love has serious implications. It means creativity is for the independently wealthy, those who are financially supported by a partner, the already successful, and those well enough and with the energy to work a job and work on their thing in their spare time. The idea of creativity just for the love of it is an idea that excludes a lot of people from creative options and keeps creativity for the rich and privileged and I am not cool with that. It might be different if supermarkets gave away food for the love of feeding people and landlords made homes available for the love of sheltering people, but that doesn’t happen.

Donating to me, specifically will help me with study and research. It means I can keep Tom from having to take on paying gigs for illustration so that he can put his time into our projects instead. It helps me afford the time for unpaid work – which most often means supporting the creativity of people who can’t afford to hire a publicist.

You can support me on Patreon if you’re inclined to make a regular donation –

Or I now have this for one-off donations (there’s a permanent button on the right hand side of the blog)

Buy Me a Coffee at


If you’re wondering whether to donate or not, let me add that I’m debt free, and can afford a social life. I don’t have to choose between heating and eating. But train fares for events terrify me. If that suggests you are more marginal than me, please don’t donate, look after yourself and enjoy what I’m giving away.


Poem: Sometimes by Meredith Debonnaire

I’m a big fan of Merry’s poetry.

Meredith Debonnaire

This is relatively new – a few months I think. I really like reading this one out loud – it’s got an urgency that sort of builds (I think).

In the night I can hear the echoes
of a river that never ran through this street
and the creaks of the not-boats drifting like leaves along it.
in the night I can  hear the pigeons
squabbling and doing magical mundane pigeon things
six feet above me on the roof
I don’t sleep,
because to sleep would be to admit another day is coming.
The river is full of secret nighttime commerce,
happening quietly around and beneath the loudmouthed drugdealers
I heard from beneath the sounds of my neighbours’ party
mingling with the deep voice of some beast
who stalks me, curious, and is interrupted by Basshunter again.
I try to keep moving
like a shark

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Of dustcats, lullabys and singing snails

Here’s something I’ve been working on recently, which Tom has blogged about over on the blog that deals with all things Hopeless Maine. It’s not so Pagan, more cute and silly, but I suspect some of you of being susceptible to cute and silly, so, here we go…

The Hopeless Vendetta

Hello people! (and others)

We have begun a thing.  We are making and publishing tiny books. Our first one (Lullaby for a Dustcat) took about two months from concept to having it out there among you. This is *Very* exciting for us because it creates a more immediate relationship with the book, as an act of creativity, and with all of you. (Yes, we love our publisher, Sloth, who brings out the graphic novels, but one a year is the limit there) So, Nimue and I will be making more of these. Probably three annually.

They really are tiny books. A6 size, which means that they can be sent instead of greeting cards in the same sort of envelope. They are very young-human friendly too.

This has also been made possible by Nimue’s Patreon people.  One level is that of Dustcat and she writes letters to them. (as though they…

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Resolution time!

I like the end of year opportunity to check in with my previous year’s resolutions, see how I did and set some intentions about how I wanted to move forward. So, this time last year my goals were as follows:

Improve my stamina so that 2 hours of fun stuff (walking, dancing) does not challenge me at all.

Remove the mute button, and be as I am with more people more of the time.


Write songs. Even if I only sing them twice in public, before I go off them, I want to do more of this.

Cause more fun stuff to happen.

Pick up some new skills (maybe craft skills, I don’t know, we’ll see what comes along).

How did I do? I can’t count on being active for two hours, but the likelihood of being able to be more active without taking a pasting has greatly improved, so good enough, and more of that in the future.

I don’t know that I’ve got very far with removing the mute button, although I’ve successfully cut down on the time I spend with people I feel obliged to mute around. So that moves things the right way.

Ceilidh – total fail. That’s not my fault, the local dances keep happening on nights when I’m already doing something else!

Write songs – win. I’ve written a couple of songs I really like this year. I feel more confident in my song writing.

Cause more fun stuff to happen. Win. And also, I’m spending time with people who cause fun stuff to happen so it isn’t all coming from me.

Pick up some new skills – well, I’m learning things about making small films and I went to a couple of writing workshops, so, good enough there. I also learned a fair bit about ecolinguistics.

What’s next?

High quality sloth – not just down time, but really good quality downtime with better sleep, better soul nurturing stuff, more happy stuff, more good. Not being so tired that I can’t have good down time.

More local events. Because travelling to do events is a lot of work and the trains are silly.

Making more time for my creativity, more time for creative collaborations and more time for spaces where I can happily share creative stuff in an un-pressured sort of way.

Being much more guarded about my time, energy and resources and being willing to be more selfish about what I need for me, and more willing to say no to people. Saving my energy so that I get more opportunities to say yes to good things that I actually want.

In which we are associated with the Skelton Crew

This one comes from the fictional side of my life, Hopeless Maine has some cool stuff going on that might be of interest. You may not be shocked to learn that tentacles are involved…

The Moth Festival

Hello people! (and others)
This is going to be longish-apologies.
When we started Hopeless, Maine, more than ten years ago, we decided that if it took off (and there was much daydreaming about this. We haven’t got to the “riches” end of the spectrum, but this was definitely a “rags”time for me) We decided that there would be no mass produced tat associated with the story. (Sal would be cross) We thought maybe we could invite crafters and other makers to make things and mention where the things came from, sort of a thing. Moving ahead in time to last year, I spotted a company who was making *very* cool lovely things in limited editions around some comics I very much admire (Hellboy, BPRD, Locke and Key etc.) These are the sort of things that would be kept and treasured (and not end up in landfills) So, I sent…

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Fluffy doom!

This year, craft and writing have collided for me as Tom and I explore the possibilities of a Hopeless Maine arts and crafts movement. Making things for a fictional island has a definite charm. I’ve been using the approach to rag rugging featured in this blog for some years now (strips of fabric pulled through the hessian backing) . With this piece I was pretty much at the limits of what the form can do – if you click through to the original post, you can see the difference around the teeth between the back and front.

The Hopeless Vendetta

The Hopeless, Maine arts and crafts movement is go!  See the fluffy doom!

We are preparing for an immersive Hopeless, Maine exhibit this Autumn, and are making sculptures, Painted trays (Hopeless, Maine willow pattern!) and now, this fluffy taste of doom- The gravestone skull rag rug! The design is based on the skull motif found on New England slate gravestones. Nimue has made this because she is a genius and made of gothic win (and dark puppies) Below the back of the rug of doom, as it shows how it was done, and also looks rather like a grim mosaic.

Hoping (as always) this finds you well, inspired and thriving.

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Some fascinating thoughts about how we make sense of reality….


“We usually describe the world in terms of trees, mountains, rivers, clouds, cars, houses, people, and so on. But a chemist could say: ‘No, this is not how things truly are! The world is basically composed of molecules which are ceaselessly combining one with another at random’. However, a physicist would reply: ‘Not at all! Reality is actually made up of intermingling fields of energy/matter where the dance of waves/particles takes place ceaselessly’.

“Who is right? Who is wrong? All of them are clearly mere conceptual descriptions that can just supply a relative view of reality. We do not actually live in ‘reality’, but rather in a description of it, that is like a ‘bubble’ of concepts and words all around us, which in time builds up a fictitious view of ourselves and the world. Even non-dualism (as any other -ism without exception) is just a conceptual description of…

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A prayer

Do not speak the names of killers.

Let history forget them.

Let us not talk of the causes

For which they claimed to kill.

All their acts were betrayals

All their words were lies.

Let us silence their hatred.

Let our silence be a refusal

Of everything they stood for.


Let us speak of the innocent dead.

The honoured and beloved dead.

Let us name them and remember

The lives they led, the causes they cherished.

Lives greater than their killers aspired to.

Let us share our grief and anger now,

Blaming only the guilty,

Whose names shall be dust.

In time, let us rejoice in the memories

Of those we have loved and lost.


Let us speak the names of healers,

Of helpers and comforters.

Professionals brave in the line of duty.

Let us remember the fortitude of the many,

The courage, integrity and grace,

The best we can be.


Do not speak the names

Of those who discard their humanity

In the name of hatred.


(One of the things I learned while working on When A Pagan Prays, is that prayer itself is sacred expression, and there are no inbuilt assumptions about where it might be directed. You can pray to anything, or anyone, we can pray to each other. That fascinates me.)

Bard of Hawkwood 2017

I had the honour of judging on this year’s Bard of Hawkwood (that’s me second from the left when you get to the image). They were all brilliant in different ways and it was not an easy decision. It is a question of considering literary merit, performance on the day and what the bard will do if given this platform… there were three of us judging and I’m very happy with the choice we made and with what the winner is already doing off the back of this…

The Bardic Academic


IMG_20170501_142057 Centre – Madeleine Harwood, Bard of Hawkwood 2017

3 years ago I set up the Bard of Hawkwood contest to promote community creativity. This, along with Stroud Out Loud! – the monthly spoken word showcase I founded – offers a way for budding bards to hone their fledgling talents in an inclusive, supportive way. It is not the only way of doing things but it works here in Stroud and the Five Valleys, where there is a wealth of local talent and traditions of artistic heritage, alternative lifestyles, radical thinking, and grassroots activity. The Bardic Chair tradition and revival is something I have explored in my book, The Bardic Chair: inspiration, invention, innovation (1st published by RJ Stewart Books in 200, a new edition of the book is forthcoming).

RJ Stewart Books, 2008

The revival of English Bardic Chairs is largely down to one man, Tim Sebastian. The Arch-Druid…

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Things I’m doing

Aside from this blog, I have a number of projects on the go at the moment…

I review Pagan and spiritual books for Spiral Nature –

You can find my Pagan books here and this is my Amazon page which has the fiction on it, and here’s the graphic novel.

I write a monthly column at Sage woman blogs exploring alternative ideas for the wheel of the year.  You can read that here –  I also do a monthly post at The Pagan and The Pen listing new Pagan titles.

Back when Hopeless Maine first came out as a webcomic, we used to do a weekly newspaper for the island. It was a project that got a lot of reader involvement, so, this year after having had a bit of a break from it, we re-launched as a community project. People who want to write stories, or song or poems, share 3d creations, artwork, photoshoots in the style of Hopeless Maine are welcome to do so. You can find that at

I’ve got a few videos up on youtube, you can find those here –

I’m @Nimue_B on Twitter and my facebook is You can also find me on Pinterest, Ello and Linkedin if you’re really determined. I tend to accept friends requests.