Rambles, Sage and Fairies

Hello from the hopeful side of winter!

A quick little update on my latest writing endeavours:

15ec9b_4cf5015e875c4549a5108ba9eb8e4ca7~mv2_d_2480_3508_s_4_2I recently published a short article about the Capital Ring walking trail in the February issue of New Nature Magazine.

This is a wonderful online publication that showcases young nature/wildlife writers and photographers. I thought it would make a great home for my thoughts on the Capital Ring, which is a 78-mile long walking circuit around the outskirts on London. This trail is split into fifteen sections, and over my two years in London, I’ve now managed to walk nine of them. I’ve been amazed at the convergence of urban and wild along these trails, which was what I wrote about. You can read it on page 18 of the magazine here.

CaptureI’m still blogging regularly for Dragonspace, a magical little shop on Granville Island in Vancouver that I used to work at. Their online store has really taken off, attracting visitors from all over the globe. I’m writing fortnightly about subjects like fairies, Pagan rituals, the power of burning sage, dragons in pop culture, and a few other mythical and metaphysical subjects. You can keep up with them here.

I’ve also been commissioned to write some children’s short stories for educational resources, and I’m really enjoying it. I forgot how fun and challenging writing for kids can be, but it definitely puts me in my element.

Nature and magic are fast becoming my writing specialities.

I’ll be on the hunt for more commissioned writing opportunities over the next few months, so please feel free to drop me a line if you have a project you think would be a good fit! (It doesn’t have to be about nature or magic – I’m also interested in culture, entertainment, history, travel and more!)

Until next time,

Kahli xoxo

 

 

 

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I Said I’d Chill Out This Year…

…and I have. Kind of. My focus for 2017 was meant to be working hard in my new day job, enjoying London, spending time in nature, and finding an agent for my recently finished YA novel ‘The Arcade’.

I’ve been doing all those things. But I’ve also taken on two small writing projects on the side, because I can’t help it! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Blogging about magic
Back when I lived in Vancouver in 2011-2013, I worked at a shop on Granville Island called ‘Dragonspace‘. It was, and still is, a dragon shop. That is, it sells dragons and other mythological, esoteric, Celtic and fantasy-related items. I love that place. I still think about it all the time, and it will always be a second home for me. So when my old friends there contacted me and asked if I’d want to write the blog for the recently launched Dragonspace website, I had to say yes! Writing these kinds of features does not feel like work at all, and I can’t wait to do more. You can read what I’ve done so far, and check out our beautiful inventory, here.

Road-tripping, in fiction and real life
I’ve written a ‘social story’ for LongShorts, a digital platform featuring stories told through a social feed by fictional characters (as if you were reading the characters’ Twitter feeds). My story is aptly called ‘Road Tripping’ and is about three unlikely road companions traveling through Western Canada and the troubles they’ve left behind. You can read a preview here, and the whole story via the app. I’m in the process of writing Part II at the moment.

I also went on a real road trip last weekend to the Jurassic Coast and Cornwall. We went fossil hunting along Charmouth Beach, drank until 2am in a campsite bar with Cornish locals, spent Easter Sunday at the famous Roskillys Farm eating as much clotted cream ice-cream as we could fit, admired the turquoise waters of St Ives, visited the breath-taking Tintagel Castle of Arthurian legend, and had lunch at Rick Stein’s bistro in Padstow and then saw Rick Stein himself in the deli! I think when you’re an ex-pat in London, you always feel pressured to see as much of continental Europe as possible, but England has so many treasures itself and I love discovering them. They might not be as exotic, but they’re delightful.

Agent Hunting
I’m still seeking an agent/publisher for ‘The Arcade’. It’s the first book in an intended YA trilogy, and is a low-fantasy story with environmental threads. It’s set amongst a network of utopian islands (modelled off the Canadian Gulf Islands) that come under threat from a sinister outside force. More info readily available to anyone who might be interested!

Meeting New People
Tomorrow, I’m hosting my first attempt at a London Meetup group, focused on Walking + Storytelling, at Hampstead Heath (my favourite place in London) – details here. 

Reading
And finally, I’ve obviously been reading a lot. Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels truly transformed me, and taught me how honest and jagged good writing can be. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle had me obsessed and reading in coffee shop lines for weeks. Ruth Ozeki’s ‘A Tale for the Time Being‘ and Eden Robinson’s ‘Monkey Beach‘ taught me so much about atmosphere and location as character. And Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids‘, Joy Harjo’s ‘Crazy Brave‘ and Bill Bryson’s ‘The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid‘ – all starkly different memoirs – had me absorbed in varying experiences of youth, privilege, and art, and gave me an unsettling realisation of how times have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

All in all, I feel at peace, frequently creatively inspired, and more comfortable in London week by week. More to come soon.

Kahli xoxo

My Pursuit of Green Spaces

I normally only blog about books/writing here, but I wanted to share my second big love today – nature and the outdoors. I’m no Katniss, and I probably wouldn’t survive a night out in the wild alone, but moving to a big smoggy city like London has made me realise how much I crave being around trees or general leafiness.

Luckily, London actually has an amazing range of green spaces within a commutable distance. I’ve been trying to discover as many ‘green’ day-trips as I can. These are my favourite places for woodland walks and field frolics so far (travel distance is from where I live in inner-east London, via public transport).

Hampstead Heath – 40 mins

Hampstead has a wonderful literary history, which originally attracted me to it, but its heath and woods and fields are prime terrain for ‘wandering aimlessly’. I went for a long ramble the other day and found Kenwood House, an old country manor with a history stretching back to the early 17th century. The whole area is perfect for jogging, dog-walking and just sitting back with a book, too. And John Keats’s house is just nearby if you fancy a visit…

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Richmond Park – 1.5 hours

Two words – wild deer. You do kind of feel like you’ve stepped into another world at Richmond Park when you spot your first lot of deer – both Red and Fallow kinds wander the space freely. My first sighting was of towering antlers poking out from the grass under the shade of tree. These guys were very handsome. Even at the height of summer, it’s easy to find a secluded spot amongst trees to picnic and feel like you’re lost in the woods, when really, the quaint Thames-side town of Richmond is just a walk away.

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Epping Forest – 1 hour

Epping Forest is an area of ancient woodland between London and Essex. I’ve gotten lost in here a few times before, once stumbling upon Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge from Tudor times. The forest covers around 2,500 hectares, so you can definitely spend all day walking, cycling or riding along the wooded paths. It’s no wonder the forest was once called ‘the lungs of London’.

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Highgate Wood and Queen’s Wood – 45 mins

We visited these woods on the day before Halloween and they were aptly spooky. It was very misty that morning and the shaded pathways were cloaked in silver fog, conjuring images of witchy gatherings and ancient rituals. These oak-hornbeam woodlands are said to be a part of the original wildwood that covered most of Britain about five thousand years ago.

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The Chiltern Hills – 1.5 hours

We explored this lovely area last weekend. I’d read that the Ivinghoe Beacon was an easy hike close to London, and there are a few different trails of varying levels you can take to reach the beacon. We did the Ridgeway Trail, which took us through vast green fields and butterfly reserves, past friendly sheep, horses and Belted Galloway cattle, over tall hills and through stunning orange forests. When we reached the top of the beacon, I marvelled at the beautiful English countryside around us. Apparently these trails have been used by merchants and soldiers for centuries, and it’s easier to feel transported to different times when you’re on the peak of a mountain or beacon.

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I’m excited to explore more of the lush green world around London. I just discovered the Capital Ring walking trails, which look like an awesome way of seeing a bit of everything without going too far out.

If you have any of your own recommendations, feel free to comment!

Kahli xo

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Calling from a red phone box…

Hello! I’ve done that thing that most Australian twenty-somethings do, and I’ve moved to London.

I’ve only been here for three weeks, but just like when I paid my too-brief visit to Portugal and the Netherlands last year, I’ve found myself gravitating towards literary places around the city. Which, in London, is kind of like using a metal detector in a bank vault. This place is so full of literary history and promise, it’s overwhelming (truly, it’s overwhelming…I’ve been bowled over by a horrible cold, but maybe that’s due to the persistent silver skies). I’ve only just scratched the surface, but here’s a quick photo journal of the places I’ve seen so far (click images for captions). More to come! So much more to come…