All my life I’ve been trying to save the world, but it insists on going to hell in a hand-basket in spite of all my efforts.
I’m not giving up….
How can we haul ourselves out of climate chaos, war and violence, abuse of women and children, treating people like things?
I look for ways of working, in three areas:
How can we grow loving, confident young people, so we can link arms? I think we need to nurture strong connections between mothers and babies. One way of doing this is through breastfeeding: other ways involve holding and carrying babies, listening to their body language, helping them express their feelings and thoughts.
The breastfeeding relationship needs support from all of us, as well as skilled help in the early weeks and accurate information. It’s not always easy! I help mothers learn to breastfeed their babies – as a volunteer and as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It makes me furious to see women not getting the help we need to enable this normal human function – and big corporations profiting from our doubts and fears! That’s one reason I’m still working in this area even now I’m a granny. Find more about breastfeeding here.
I love facilitating groups of women who work together to help and support each other. In circles where we listen to each other with warmth and empathy, we change. Acceptance of our struggles gives us breathing space, so we can take the next step. As we give each other a hand on the way, we develop those vital muscles of compassion. I must be addicted to oxytocin, the tend-and-befriend hormone. I reckon it should be pumped into every corridor of power in the world…. To humanize stuffed suits!
What about when we stab each other in the back instead of supporting each other? It does happen…. Women are not always sisterly to each other! It’s really interesting to find out why. I like to dig down among roots, to see what got twisted, how we can grow ourselves back to health.
Researching for my forthcoming novel The Swan-Bone Flute, I looked back in history for a time when reverence for nature changed into exploitation; for the beginnings of the mind-set that’s ruining our beautiful planet. I found them under my feet: in the land where I live in a fen-edge village in Britain. Post-holes have been excavated showing where Anglo-Saxons built their homes, near a spring of clear water, between a wilderness of swamps and dense forest. Their lives changed from tribal groups to feudal relationships, even before the Norman invasion. How, why, when?
It’s a good thing I’m writing fiction, because these questions can’t be answered exactly. My apologies to the people who tried to teach me history and social and political science at university – this is not your fault! It’s a story….
Can the women of the settlement of Wellstowe defend their totemic deer and stand against the incoming rule of the fist? They will have to set aside differences of class and race – can they heal their quarrels before their thane marches in to take over their foremothers’ traditional gathering of the moot? The travelling storyteller helps them find ways to connect with each other and weaves tales of wisdom from the deep past. Magic raised from the fen itself may help them – if the slave girl dares to grasp her true power …. read more
Watch out for more about the later novels in the Music from the Bone trilogy: The Antler Mask and The Dolphin-Rib Harp.
As a story-teller, I seek out the truths in old tales that empower women and girls. I look for the moment of transformation in a tale: when compassion changes the ending. I find stories where women forge strong friendships, or travel into danger to help each other. If you’d like to hear more, or book me to tell to your group, see the Storytelling pages.
In this website, I hope you can find nourishment for your passion to help – whatever ways you work to protect women, justice, and the earth.