Patricia McKillip & Alchemy: Towards a Language that Treats Nature as Sovereign

This weekend I gave a talk on the great Patricia A. McKillip at Once and Future Fantasies conference in Glasgow.

You can watch it here:

Doing this was an honour for me, not just because of the calibre of people in attendance, but because ten weeks prior, Patricia McKillip, one of the field’s best writers, moved on from the world of the living.

I never got chance to meet her, but there were people at the talk who had, including Terri Windling – herself a huge inspiration – who was a friend of Patricia’s and editor for some of her work.

I feel a close affinity for those writers in the field who lean into, and draw from, the mythopoeic tradition. I see them as close cousins of poets and nature writers – those who are reaching for the numinous without depriving it of mystery and danger.

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Support Me On Patreon

Patreon is an online platform that allows creators to get paid. If you like what I’m doing enough to part with a quid or two then you can do that by clicking on this link:

Support Ben on Patreon

Despite various privileges, an abundance of money has never been one of them. All the stories, essays, poems, podcasts and videos I share are the result of taking financial risks. It takes a lot of time and energy to do all this and at present it does not pay. This is probably why half my clothes have holes in. I’m not embarrassed about this but I’m not proud of it either. We’re building towards something here. If you feel moved to sling me a few quid and you can afford to do so then it will be massively appreciated. Thanks!

YouTube Channel Launched

Ill-advised because social platforms like YouTube are built on the precepts of addiction psychology. Will I become addicted myself? The way to tell is whether or not good quality imaginative work is showing up on this website.

Right now I’m working on short stories, a book of poems, a novel, and writing the best possible fortnightly newsletter I can muster. Many of these stories will also get to live as audiobooks complete with voice actors, music and ambient soundscapes, unless I get addicted to social media, in which case none of it will exist.

A Newsletter With a Difference

The word ‘newsletter’ is a bit dull, isn’t it? Talismans Against Boring Culture is more accurate for this. Think of them as little spells landing in your inbox – fortnightly talismans to guard against the drab mundanity of nine to five rhythms.

If you’re curious about what I mean by ‘Boring Culture’ you can read more here.

Every last one of these letters will be composed with care, passion, and a little trickster energy. They will be delivered to you for free on the first and third Monday of every month by Kenneth, the imaginary raven with the scroll in scroll in his mouth.

Read a sample at, made with love and built to last.