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Showing posts from October, 2018

Drinking the Moon

This week I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon on the advice of someone who told me it was lyrical, charming, amusing. The first few pages left me unsure, but I persevered, and was rewarded with one of the most beautiful story experiences I've ever had. I felt by the end that I'd been given a draught of moonlight and it had filled me with gentle and extraordinary magic.

This is the kind of book I wish we had more of in the world. Stacks of them. Boxes full. Libraries worth. It is built on a dark and heartbreaking premise, but is rich with love, soft love and determined love, sacrificial love and the kind of love that refuses to sacrifice. It is a book that changed my life.
How beautiful it was to read the experiences of mothers and grandmothers woven through a young woman's story. How beautiful to read of community surrounding the individual heroes, for better and worse. We need such stories desperately. As I type this now, I begin to wonder how much thought storytellers sh…

The Dance of Souls

I've heard there is a wind going through forest, but I can only dream it from where I am. And I don't mean only my little cottage on the plain, between three waters. I mean too my heart.

Life can be difficult, fraught with challenge and pain. But we are made for that, aren't we? We were given what we needed for this journey. But we weren't given all of it within ourselves - some bits were given to our mother, our lover, our teachers, our gardens, for us to draw upon. For this isn't a hero's journey, this life. It is a dance of souls. A weaving.

Graham Francoise

I think what turns difficult into unbearable is when we are disconnected from our sources of strength, gentleness, love, wonder. When we are left with just the bits given to us for our part in the weaving. We become unsustained. And yet the cult of the individual is pulling us away from each other, from the community and intimacy we inherently need not only for our economic requirements and our physical w…

The Wing-Hearted Queen

It is told, on the underside of leaves and in the shadow of the winds, that once there was a queen who had been a swan. She had lived on old waters and kissed only the tremulous reflection of the moon, before love, sudden and enchanting, made her into a woman. A beautiful, ethereal woman who broke the heart of a king.

deborah sheehy

It happened like this: a prince went fishing. He had become weary of court life, of jewels and people always bowing, fawning. So he took his horse, his fishing pole, a lunch, and went into the woods for some quiet.

The prince did not really want to catch fish. He was a kind-hearted young man and ate no meat. His true purpose in fishing was to have an excuse for sitting alone in the leafy, shadowy quiet and dreaming. He had the usual dreams for princes: cutting wood out the back of a little cottage, watching fresh-baked bread come out of the oven, drinking beer on the front doorstep while sunset coloured the land like roses, going to bed with a gentle-hearte…

A Hymn to Her

I have been hearing Her voice all my life, singing in the timbre of dirt-cozened insects and sun-stretched trees; murmuring beneath the words my mother spoke, and my nana, and sometimes even me. I was raised from birth in the pagan spirituality, but when I was about seven she came to me personally, and I have adored her ever since.

Although perhaps it was She who spent hours in my company when I was five and six, halfway up a tree, in the form of a little brown slater. And then again in a caterpillar's wistful body. And as a shadow beneath the river's weedy surface ...

Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Over the years, I have witnessed how her spirit and voice have grown stronger throughout the worldwide community. A new religion, drawing from the wisdoms and traditions of many ancient ones, has blossomed with astonishing speed. There has also been a great longing to learn from the traditions of people such as Native Americans, but sadly those groups cling to their heritage and are reluctan…

Kindness In Dark Times

For many people, this has been a hard week. One way I've managed, when I've spent too much time reading the news, is to reach inside tha pain and draw out the kindness and gentleness I wish others had. As someone said on twitter, it's hard to believe there really is fair in the world these days. To which I replied, yes it does seem that way, but if you can't see the fair at least you know you can be it.

Edmund Blair Leighton

Kindness doesn't look the same for everyone, every time. The best archetypes for kindness that I can think of are the old, sharp-fingered witches who strip light and shadow from life, certainty from men and women, until the true heart is revealed. And so I believe kindness to be an active force. We tend to imagine it as soft, tender, comforting. But when a monster comes roaring our way, we don't wish someone to hand it flowers, smiling, and sing it a lullaby. We wish for a hero with a sword. (Although perhaps he merely disables the monster …

Living Amongst Faeries

I reside in an edge space. The whole of my country really is an edge space in many ways. It is unsettled mountains, undrowned meadows, shores traced by two seas - one silver and gentle, one wild like the heart of some weed-eyed water queen. It is a ghost continent, a lost limb of Australia, a vast stone range eroded by ocean and rain. It is the rubble of fires and the waiting for more.

Perhaps this is why I have often met faery through my life. Or perhaps it's just me.

Reading this morning about this magical project being undertaken in England made me think of my faery experiences. I've written before about them - too many to detail as extraordinary; infact, that's what Suburban Magic is all about.

Really, the only thing that keeps me from saying it's completely normal to live surrounded by faery is that few other people think so. At least, they don't where I live. I have to wonder at the stubborn prosaicness of pioneers and their inheritors, considering how close …

Be Like A Heroine in a Film

After watching The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film yesterday, I found myself having the following thoughts. I knew the film would inspire me with its photography and settings even more than its plotline, which is why I watched it. I always go to books for story, but film offers me a diversity of other things as well.

I think sometimes I could contentedly be a writer in a boarding house room, with a bed and a chair and a desk ... like the heroine in a film ... and then I remember that I actually was. Aged nineteen or so, in the room of a big old house halfway up a hill. It wasn't as romantic as in a film. Being a writer in a cottage between the river and the sea is better, although I could do with more trees. And I have dreams of all the other cinematic ways, and in all the lovely places, I could be a writer, and who knows if I will see them happen one of these days.

But what I do know, from realising that I once had what I now think is charming: we make the stor…

When It Hurts

Don't give up at the moment of pain. Hold on if you can for the correction. For the universe or its angels to tip things gently back in your direction.

Louis Rhead

This is one of those things I can say but not so easily do myself, perhaps because for some of us who are sensitive or overthink things, pain goes on for a long time before the tipping point. But I believe it in theory. I believe that creation and destruction are the same thing, and that pain and peace are part of the great dance we do, dancing like wind with grass, sun with water.

At the same time, I also think we need to be kind to ourselves. Sometimes we just can't deal with pain. Or we could if we wanted, but we need to get some sleep, or we need to help someone else, and so we shut it down - we give up or give over.

And that's all right. The universe is benevolent, tending always towards love. How do you know that your giving up isn't actually a kiss on your soul from the divine, offering rest, a moment&…

Books That Changed My Life

Someone on social media this morning was talking about how Station Eleven changed their life. I loved that book more than I can say, and it made me think deeply about my own writing, but it would be extravagant to claim it changed my life. That got me thinking however about what books, if any, actually did change not just me as a writer or a person, but actually changed my life.

Certainly there are non-fiction books which have done so, especially Waldorf-inspired books like Beyond the Rainbow Bridge and School As A Journey. The biography, Nicholas & Alexandra, which I read when I was seventeen, drew me into a fascination with history which has not only stayed with me for decades but which guided my university degree.

When it comes to fiction, I am slower to think of literally life-changing books. I was blessed to grow up with classic fairytales and myths so there was really no improving on that. But I can say that Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger transitioned me from fairytales t…