You lie there awake, listening to the sounds on the roof. Something is on the roof, skidding over the slates. Back and forth it goes. They go. There is no sense in this scrabbling about around the chimneys, and yet you cannot be sure that there is nothing intelligent up there.
All you can do is hope that it is a donkey, again. There is no imaginable way that a donkey could be on your roof because there are no means by which it might ascend. You know this. You have checked extensively. But there has been a donkey on the roof before – you saw it with your own eyes in the uncanny half light of an early summer morning. The donkey looked at you and you expected it to speak, giving some pronouncement to justify its position or identity. It said nothing. How it descended remains as mysterious…
Highly recommended. Beyond Sustainability – Authentic Living at a Time of Climate Crisis – offers an insightful exploration of the changes we need to make at the personal and collective levels. It is part of Moon Books’ Earth Spirit series, and will be released on 28 April 2023.
Author Nimue Brown says that, “as a Druid, I’ve spent my adult life trying to live lightly. There is a great deal to learn about what is possible, and what’s effective, and this is always a work in progress and never as good as I want it to be. I feel very strongly about the need for real change and quietly rage about greenwashing and the ridiculousness of ‘offsetting’. Harm cannot be offset”.
The book is economical with words and rich in content. Its introduction reflects that “humans are increasingly a miserable species, caught in ways of behaving that give us very…
This may be a familiar experience, it may not, but I often find myself intrigued by the idea of ‘another perspective’. Everything I write, everything I read, everything I watch, the world it self and every aspect of life in fact can always be viewed from another perspective.
This included my own past. Something I suspect we all feel at times. there are things I did in the past that had I done something even slightly differently would have changed everything about my life. Events I view now from a different perspective, because I am no longer the person to whom those things happened. I am not my teenage self… So my perspective on the events of my teenage years are not something I look back on now with the same thoughts and views as I had at the time.
As for those I interacted with, how they view those…
I’m not a great believer in self-help books… I always find them a suspicious offering. I suspect the only selves ever really helped are the ones selling the books. Which is ultimately the point of them, to make money. It follows that if the point of the ‘self-help’ book is to make money then such books need a ready made audience of people who feel they need help, and that such help as they need can be found in a competitively priced paperback…
If your goal is to sell books to people who feel the answers to there problems can be found in a competitively priced paperback, then actually having the answers to their problems in said paperback would negate your audience for your next compactivity priced paperback.
So if your goal is actually to help people through useful advice and disbursed wisdom, the kind of publishers who make a…
There have been a few people in my life who found me problematically aggressive. In all three cases, this came up around my being distressed, and that distress being read as an attack from which the person then had to defend themselves. My experience, in each case, was of being upset, and then having to deal with someone acting like I had attacked them. It’s not a helpful situation to be in.
One consequence for me was learning that expressing distress was likely to only make things worse. If something hurt or frightened me it was better to hide it rather than risk the escalation and further damage. That was my experience in my first marriage, where making me tolerate the intolerable was very much the name of the game. I was always the bad guy, always wrong, always to blame and was told explicitly that when I was upset I got very nasty and aggressive. I tried so hard not to do that, but never was gentle enough about how I cried if that was at all visible.
I’m not sure what was happening with the other two people who did this. Possibly they knew that anger would be a fair response to what they’d done and so inferred it where there was none. I don’t tend to get angry, I tend to get upset. Any anger I have normally goes inwards, which is problematic in different ways.
I suspect I’m not an easy person to read, emotionally. I know I don’t express pain in ways that register with other people. I can describe pain or distress calmly even when in the thick of it – which when I was giving birth meant I got no pain relief! So, I’m not surprised if I confuse people around making sense of my emotions. I don’t throw things or break things, I don’t swear at people or verbally abuse them when I’m upset, and I’ve checked with Tom and he says I am not a shouty person. So it’s difficult to know where this impression of anger and aggression is coming from, because I’m fairly sure it isn’t me.
Tone policing is an issue that comes up all over the place. It’s the unsavoury trick of making the delivery of the message more important than the message. I see it used a lot to shut down ‘angry’ black women who are talking about racism. The classic response is white-woman tears and expressions of fear about the threatening tone of the person complaining. It’s a way of shutting down conversations and treating the person who has been wronged as though they are the aggressor. This protects the person who messed up from having to apologise or make any real changes. It can even serve to validate the harmful behaviour that started the whole process.
Have I been experiencing something similar? I honestly don’t know. I think all a person can do with this is look to their own behaviour. It’s useful to think about the situations in which we think other people are angry. It’s also good to ask how we deal with justified anger, and whether getting things right is more important than defending ourselves from criticism. We all make mistakes. Wanting a free pass to make mistakes and be exempt from consequences is a really toxic way to behave.
For reasons, that have never been explained to me, at Pudsey (the small town between Leeds and Bradford and somewhat merged into both these days), in the large park behind the swimming pool, just up past the aviary, this is, and has been since my childhood and probably before, a old traction engine.
Not a working one, I should explain, it’s fire box has long been welded shut, the many levers disconnected from such interesting things as breaks and gear boxes. The wheel doesn’t turn the cumbersome front axil. The great steam whistle to warn people ahead that this great lumbering beast of the industrial revolution is ponderous heading towards them has long been detach. But then the great lumbering beast hasn’t moved for over fifty years or more.
Instead of its original intended purpose it has been a climbing frame, and well of possibilities the imagination of children can…
The last of the autumn colour, torn down by storms. Green amidst the turning tones, because autumn was late this year.
A bright, sharp, wintery day with the sky an intense blue.
I tried taking a selfie, but I look so tired, my eyes shadowed, my nose red from the cold air. Sometimes I am ok with myself as a scruffy goblin, sometimes my face makes me sad. The day I took this photo was a sad-face day. My shadow makes me look as though I am wearing a long, fabulous dress under my bulky winter coat. I wasn’t, but the illusion is charming.
Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster. My name is Nimue Brown. I herd eldritch, tentacular creatures and soothe dustcats professionally. I’m here having learned about the flesh eating birds and the Sugar-Zombies. I know the general intention is to keep the flame burning, bring comfort in the darkness, and resist the terrifying monsters.
But, terrifying monsters? Excuse me while I rub my hands together in wild and abandoned glee. Would I lick a Sugar-Zombie? Yes. Yes I would.
While others are armed for the fight, I’m primarily going to protect you through the medium of distraction. It’s surprising how many unspeakable entities like to pose for a camera and a quick bit of portraiture. I’m hoping for interviews as well. Everyone gets bored with tearing the living limb from limb sooner or later, and hopefully I’m late enough to the party for that moment to have arrived! Failing that…
I first met Connie Reed as a Druid blogger many years ago. So, when I heard she’d started writing fiction, I asked her if she’d like to do a guest blog here. If you like your fiction with a dash of Druidry, this may well be for you!
Over to Connie…
In the beginning there was the world, and it gave me nightmares. It wasn’t a nightmarish world although it was a dangerous one, on the contrary it was a very wonderful world. The nightmares came from how we arrived there. This world I dreamt of was our future and the trip was brutal.
The idea for this world stayed with me and I wanted to write stories about it but I was never sure which story to tell first – past, present, or future? Who should I focus on? Which characters should I highlight? Eventually I did what all authors must do and nailed down the Who, What, Where, When, and How. I had my story. I outlined it. I began to write. I broke my tale into five parts. Four are written, one is in progress. Each part is two novels. I’ve accomplished a lot, have more to go, and I’m enjoying the whole process. I’m pleased with how the stories have turned out, those who’ve read them keep asking for more. I consider this excellent progress.
It’s also been a wonderful learning experience about how a story can take you to completely unexpected places whether you are reading or writing. I had intended to merely create a fun read. Action and adventure. Swords and sorcery. Friends and lovers plus good guys versus a variety of bad guys, you know, the normal stuff: cue dramatic action movie music! We all win and go away feeling happy, etc. Basic story. And yet, although I was aiming for a simple adventure, the harsh realities of the world I was creating insisted there be more depth. A number of my characters brought their faith into the equation, the local military got more involved as events progressed, love and family complicated things. I even created a religion – a nature based, elemental religion. It’s only part of the background noise, but I was surprised at how easily it wove itself into my story telling, making itself an important part of events without my actually planning for it.
Without giving too many spoilers, the tale I’ve chosen to tell is of a modern woman who is tossed into a drastically evolved future and what she learns there will help her survive her own swiftly changing present. In the first part of the series she is lost and unaware of what is happening, as the series progresses, she gains more awareness. As Lori struggles to make her way in Eaglefall, she gains friends and allies who help her try to find herself. She becomes embroiled in misadventure in the capital city of Riverton as local mafia and dark mages plot nefarious deeds against the kingdom.
Crime done in the name of greed – for money and power – threatens to disrupt human civilization as well as upset the very balance of nature itself, something which has attracted the attention of the mysterious Live Oaks. Lori, of course, finds herself tangled up in all of it. Her quest to save herself becomes a matter of life and death for many of the non-human tribes of the kingdom as well as the well-being of the intelligent Trees. Saving herself takes a backseat to protecting her friends and the people she grows to love, and she becomes aware of how the actions of a few can upset the balance of nature and threaten everyone.
My first two novels, parts 1 & 2 of Book 1, are now available on Kindle, ebook and paperback. Both are currently available free to read via kindle unlimited. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of bringing this series to life and I hope readers will like the characters and adventure. And for those worried about human impact on the future of our planet? Well, I’m sorry. I went ahead and destroyed the world later in the series, but this is a tale of bringing it all back to life again too, better and balanced. I hope you approve of my vision of a re-evolved Earth.