Tuesday 16 May 2023

What Lunar did next (and where to find her)


Hello, hello! It has been so very long since I wrote to you all here, although I have thought of you, and your love and encouragement, many times. This interweb place can be awfully cross and shouty, but please do not imagine that your quiet kindnesses go unfelt. They are a powerful medicine.

This post is really to redirect you to the places you can find me these days.

The main place for longish form writing on my daunted but continual attempts to live a joyful, creative life is on my Patreon. It's not free, but the blog-type posts are all accessible for £1 a month and it's probably the best place to have a conversation with me.

There's more if you want it: book reviews; shortish essays on the practices, books, podcasts, thoughts, whatever which truly help me live creatively; discounts off my art and writing tuition; writing dates; editorial help; plus more if you're wildly generous.

But this isn't a sales pitch. You can find me for zero pennies on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I still have my Etsy shop for art, and I also now have a RedBubble shop too, which prints my artwork onto a world of giftable and practical things.

And for those good souls who held my virtual hand as I navigated my first years as a mother and then as a widow, I will quickly tell you that life continues to throw spanners in the works (mostly medical, and all for me - the girls are fine), but life is also very good.

We are still in beautiful Chagford, although much closer to the river now, and I am still writing and painting and hanging out with trees.

7yo is made of springs and giggles, with a surprising ferocity when crossed. She dangles off trees, loves her streetdance classes, plays endless board games, and writes stories in her special notebook.

13yo is in a lovely secondary school (after a false start in an unlovely one) where she can still do forest school. She is loving musical theatre and playing piano and draws with more skill than she will believe. I see Thomas in her sometimes, and that is a healing thing, but mostly she is her own gentle, wonderful self. Teenagehood hasn't gone beyond eyerolling and living in her bedroom yet, and only recently she came home covered in mud from rolling down hills with her friends, so I feel we're both getting off lightly.


Do please reach out and find me. I would be delighted to reconnect with you - or to meet you, if you are new here.

Thank you all,


Thursday 31 October 2019

That text message

On this day, thirteen years ago, I babysat my friends' twins. My friends came home late, jolly and keen to continue the party. What's a girl to do? Drink too much wine, is the answer. Except, although it definitely felt like too much wine the next morning, I now think it was exactly the right amount.

Stumbling home I realised I'd received a text from Thomas. Nothing unusual in that; we'd been friends for years and had been in regular contact since he'd moved to Wales to study a couple of months before. I was very pleased to receive this text. I was very pleased to receive every text from Thomas. In fact, I had been trying to conceal how very much I was missing his presence in my life.

I'm blaming/crediting the wine for what happened next. I sent this message:

'I think I'm in love with you.'

He replied:

'If you say that again I'll have to come home.'

'I am in love with you.'

Cut to me loitering by the bus stop, feeling slightly terrified and weirdly shy, waiting for this scruffy, leggedy, joy of a man to come home, where he had always belonged, by my side.

Samhain blessings, everyone.

Tuesday 8 October 2019


It's been an intense week.

I can now drive round a roundabout, even a complex one with weird lane changes or traffic lights or an overturned trailer of hay or all of the above, without breaking a sweat. I mostly even take my intended exit. So now my driving lessons comprise two hours exploring the shortest, blindest, deadliest slip roads known to West Devon. And then, when I am so tired I can barely think, I drive through Chagford and run the gauntlet of horses and double-parked delivery lorries and roads created for tinners' sleds. Ah, the joys of rural life :).

The final year of my degree's up and running now. I am jogging alongside trying not to look winded yet, although the truth is I'm already developing a stitch and when I peeked ahead at the essay questions I almost fainted. But everyone and their dog's running now, it seems, so this is my version and I won't quit until I get to the finish line, whatever state I'm in by then.

My little job has begun, which has already meant I got to have coffee with Terri Windling and Ellen Sherman while they discussed writing. (Tilly was of course in attendance, but chose on this occasion not to join in the discussion.) At one point Terri mentioned the Jean Rhys quote:

'All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And then there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.'

and I realised that's part of why I'm loving this work. Jean Rhys is talking about one's own writing - and, next year, yes with a hallelujah on top to that - but it's how I think about assisting a writer and artist too. I may not be pouring my own words into the lake, but I am removing obstacles so other words and art can get there. It seems a very humble thing, but actually feels important and deeply satisfying.

I feel Rhys has set the bar uncomfortably high for 'trickle', so I'll say I've added a puddle-splash to the lake. It's just one poem, but it's my poem and I'm proud of it and it's (soon to be) published, so I'm very happy about it. 

Meanwhile, there are still those girls to raise. 3yo is having a dressing-up phase. Here she is on the way to collect her sister from school:

and I am feeling quite emotional about 9yo's decision to learn the fiddle. I've bought her a half-size one, but I still have Thomas's and it would be a wonderful thing if she could play it one day.

Last Friday was the ten year anniversary of our wedding.

I manage these powerful dates a little better each year. We were given some homemade mead as a wedding present, to be drunk in 2012. We had planned to celebrate our second wedding anniversary with it, but of course that didn't happen. It has just been standing miserably at the back of the teas cupboard all this time. So, as our women's group gathered so near my anniversary, I risked the possibility of explosion and/or poisoning and opened it. It didn't explode and it was surprisingly drinkable (in tiny quantities - it's definitely potent!). Even 9yo had a sip, and although she pronounced it 'disgusting' and went back to elderflower cordial, I'm glad she tried it because she was at the wedding too :).

I am definitely not a writer who can work whilst drinking alcohol, but I'm raising a virtual glass of this mead to love in all its forms and to the next ten years. Cheers!

Monday 23 September 2019

Fast slow worm video

I'm not expecting this video to break the internet or even be of great interest to anyone. Really this is just me playing with tech and choosing a video which has the great advantage of not displaying my face. It does have a  very handsome young slow worm and 3yo cutely finding it a 'home' (it was a leaf), which was rudely spurned.

Enjoy :).

Thursday 5 September 2019

One good thing

The ticker tape streeling through my mind in various shades of urgency does not stop. I need to just accept that it has not and will not ever stop. Except, of course, it might. But for now, while there's just me and the girls and the meals to prepare and the house and the garden and the study deadlines and the driving lessons and and and and See? Endless streeling which can quickly become strangling if I don't keep snipping at it like it's some enchanted forest of briars with something worth having in the centre. There is nothing in the centre. All this effort to snip off this task and that task, get as much done as I humanly can...if I could magically make it all done; then for one shining, bleak moment I would have nothing. And I've never liked nothing. I've done a lot of workshops but they've never won me round. (It's the hen thing again.)

So I am left with the doing, but a deep need to be doing less frantically and more gracefully. Maybe I could go at my ticker tape thicket with a scimitar instead of shears. Maybe I could stop sometimes and look back at all I have actually done. I get so determinedly focussed on what I have yet to do that I forget I have achieved at all.

I have raised an exceptionally lovely human all the way to nine and a half. Here, she is industriously making granola balls for everyone at the outdoor skills camp the following day, wearing her Dada's T-shirt which has been her nightie for seven and a half of her years. I have just confiscated the maths workbook she was doing in bed by torchlight. Kids these days...

And another wild and wonderful human all the way to three and a half. Here she is on her daily forage for breakfast, still in her onesie :).

I have, through both luck and judgement, come to this spectacular place to raise myself and my children:

So far so loved-up and homely, but what gnaws at my bones is the writing I have not done. And I don't know why, when it's the one thing which brings me OUT into the world with a ferocious courage I can barely believe when I am unwriting. Yes, the time lost feels like time unwriting work which now will never be. It is a tragic loss, if only to myself. Every circumstance I could stutter in mitigation matches that of someone who just wrote anyway.

'Tis as 'tis. No more unwriting. Poems have been coming, which is new and surprising. I have sent some of them out with sturdy boots and knapsacks to see what they can make of themselves. The final year of my degree starts very soon. It mercilessly chomps at my time, but also makes me read good writing deeply and so fills the wordwell. And a tiny but perfectly formed job has been placed in my hands. I keep looking down at it like it's a bird's egg. It feels fragile; it has not yet begun; it may only last a short while. Terri Windling has asked me to be her assistant. We will discover the exact shape of the role as we go, but basically I'll do some of the non-creative work which is intrinsic to the business of writing and editing. I'll learn a lot and get to spend time in the happy company of Terri and the famous Tilly.

Sometimes you just need to achieve one good thing:

In the spirit of which, I have cut my own hair. Again. So here I am looking very pleased with myself despite 3yo quite painfully getting her foot caught in my earring. And, yes, I do know filters exist.

Friday 16 August 2019

On hens and enlightenment

Terri Windling recently wrote a blog post which included Parker J. Palmer's thoughts on 'the admonition to 'keep death before one's eyes daily''. I started to write a comment but it became too much and so I returned, the prodigal blogger, to share with you my thoughts on death and enlightenment, through the medium of hens. (Did you miss me?)

There was a time when death was 'before my eyes daily'; I couldn't escape it. Perhaps it is a lack of courage in me, but when I lived with a moment-to-moment consciousness of my mortality and that of all the people I love; looking to the future became impossible. I literally couldn't plan, even a daytrip, even a meal. Life was difficult. And terrifying. 

I think of that time when people talk of 'being in the moment': I just couldn't make it work in my actual practical life. I was like the chooks I cared for when I lived in a commune. One would suddenly flutter over the gate. She'd peck about for a bit, then notice how far she was from the others. Bocking in alarm, she'd hotfoot it to the gate and flap and fluster there indefinitely, living quite perfectly in the moment, having forgotten that with just a short run-up she could easily fly back over the gate, and not possessing the imagination to plan that in her future. Eventually I would walk pass and scoop her up, mutter some insulting words of endearment and chuck her back over. By the time she'd landed she'd have forgotten there even was a gate. 

There is a real wisdom in letting go of the constant planning and organising and controlling the minutiae of our lives. I get that. And a lot of the past is best forgotten just to free up a bit of brain space for poetry and PINumbers.

But the years I spent at the gate, so close to death I saw it every time I blinked, they remind me to keep life, too, 'before my eyes daily'. I like to plan good meals for my girls, and it is a blessed relief to be able to imagine them older than they are now so we can plan many happy days together.


Sunday 4 February 2018

Working for Love

The third essay's been handed in and the house isn't a total hazard to the senses, so I've snuck in a bit of actual earns-me-money work! Specifically, four new cards:

'Moon and Roses' (bring your own Becherovka); forever shining in full bloom:

('The Rising Moon' card to the right is taken from Danielle Barlow's wise and wonderful 

Finally an 'I'm Loving You' Valentine's card. Apologies to those who have been asking for this for ages:

and a couple of Thomas's prints which have also been requested as cards:

the ever-popular Bagpiping Angel:

and 'The Last Human', which is my favourite because it is full of such faith in humanity:

See, I don't just muse about Victorian gothic texts and desperately try to keep up with all the new ways to do maths homework and help small people blow the noses of inanimate creatures. Sometimes everyone else goes to sleep and I do some actual work! I love those times :).
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