Clearing Space for Subversive imagination

Stefan Eggeler illustration for Gustav Meyrink’s Walpurgisnacht

My newest workshop, Reclaiming Our Monsters, pushes boundaries and clears space for subversive imagination. There are still some spaces left–tickets available at Eventibrite. April 30th, 7pm GMT via Zoom.

This workshop is driven by feminist ideas, reworking the monstrous into new empowering guises. It’s also a way to explore folk horror as a wider genre with space for women and non-binary people.

April 30th is the second Halloween of the witches’ calendar. The veil is thin, the dead walk among us, werewolves are born and all good witches fly to the Brocken. 

In films, TV and books I’ve always had sympathy with the demonised feminine. I drank up the power in these images, and it has served me well. Not that I’m older, I realise this was a kind of crone-medicine. The crone embraces a lived duality: she knows what she is, are even if the dominant culture and history says she’s extraneous, voiceless and grotesque. 

There is a lot going on in the world right now that is truly monstrous. In times of upheaval and uncertainty, what messages do we amplify and share? What realities do we tend? Writing through disaster capitalism and the death throes of patriarchy isn’t a hobby or pastime, it’s a mode of survival and resistance.

How do we know who we are? Write must it—Write it out like the Cailleach on a night raid with her retinue of the dead. Writing it out like a spell, like a draught of blood. 

From where I stand writing may be my only power against the forces of destruction that envelop us. It is the sword I have sharpened over decades in the forge of my own raging intellect, my furious imagination. 

Teaching is my vocation. It’s a devotional work for me and something I’ve done in and outside of hallowed halls of academia and on the streets and in community centres. I’m thrilled that technology, though far from perfect, allows me to teach others online across the world. 

In this two hour workshop we’ll explore the monstrous through an intimate, personal perspective. We’ll embrace the persona of the outsider, the not-quite-human, using subversive world-building, and writing through the eyes of the cursed, the spellbound, the exiled. You’ll need pen, paper and a six sided dice. Join us!

Reclaiming Our monsters: A writing workshop

Online via Zoom, April 30th, 7pm gmt Tickets are £25 available from Eventbrite

In this two hour workshop we’ll explore the monstrous through an intimate, personal perspective. We’ll embrace the persona of the outsider, the not-quite-human, using subversive world-building, and writing through the eyes of the cursed, the spellbound, the exiled. 

April 30th is the second Halloween of the witches’ calendar. The veil is thin, the dead walk among us, werewolves are born and all good witches fly to the Brocken. 

Let’s celebrate and write stories together. 

For this workshop you’ll need a pen, paper and a six sided die. 

 This workshop is driven by feminist ideas, reworking the monstrous into new empowering guises—but also a way to explore folk horror as a wider genre with space for women and non binary people. Every workshop I design is an offering of community, creative fuel and fire to the writers and makers around me. And this one is GONNA BE HELLA FUN. 

Enroll now.

“The Bell that Never Rang” — September’s New Moon Tale

Every month I write a new fairy tale based on an old Scottish tale, and I share it with my Patrons on Patreon. This month’s New Moon tale is “The Bell that Never Rang” It is a fairytale laid over the psychogeography at the centre of Glasgow. I have always loved Glasgow. Tourists may visit Edinburgh—and it is a lovely place—but if I had to choose a city that is the heart and soul of Scotland, it would be Glasgow. “St. Enoch” is a name you see in the city, and I always assumed it was the name of some random, male Christian saint who converted the Picts. But Enoch is a woman—the first recorded rape victim in Scotland. In this tale, I’ve shifted the “facts” of the prism of her life to let the light through another facet.

Her sacred places were many in the city and they are all now lost, renamed and buried under shopping malls and roundabouts. She was the mother of the founder of Glasgow, Saint Mungo. His name is perhaps more famous now because of the Hospital for Magical Maladies in the Harry Potter books, which is named after him.

School children used this mnemonic device to remember his miracles, and I have used one of them to name this story:

Here is the bird that never flew

Here is the tree that never grew

Here is the bell that never rang

Here is the fish that never swam

The image of Saint Tenu in the collage above is taken from an icon in the Mull Monastery by Friar Serafim.