Forty by forty

In some ways lately i’ve been closing my world down, removing myself from situations and people that exhaust me or erode and damage my boundaries, which has meant i have had a lot more space and time and somewhat more energy than i’ve been used to and not knowing what to do with them. I thought doing the forty by forty challenge would help me focus my time and my energy into things that will be good for my life. I just turned 37 so this will take three years.

  1. change name legally
  2. sort bank account
  3. get a passport
  4. clean out back garden
  5. research and grow shade loving bee friendly plants
  6. grow wild flowers in front garden
  7. have ten herbs growing
  8. make two insect houses
  9. learn about classical music
  10. learn about the french revolution
  11. learn and do wildcrafting
  12. make a folklore/fairy tale/myth jewellery collection to sell
  13. learn 18 new craft techniques and sell at least one of each product
  14. build up to selling at 12 markets a year
  15. get good enough at candles to sell them
  16. learn to use sewing machine and make useful things with it
  17. learn 30 main meal recipes
  18. learn 30 side or snack recipes
  19. learn 3o deserts or treat recipes
  20. learn 10 each of the above vegan versions
  21. sort out kitchen
  22. sort out workroom
  23. write 100 new poems
  24. submit to 20 publications
  25. spend three days a week off line
  26. have one of those days with no screen technology at all
  27. only buy one book a month
  28. pay off library fine and sort library card
  29. create and practice a ritual year system
  30. learn trance/journeying ect in a controlled way
  31. spend six hours a week on spell craft
  32. read and work through Kindling our Stars
  33. make 20 bath and body products that work for me
  34. blog twice a week
  35. do 3 hours deep journaling a week
  36. find or make a group to clear up the rubbish in the woods
  37. find a local volunteer position
  38. work on increasing stamina and better spoon stewardship
  39. engage in one long form of communication a week (letter, long email, long phone call, coffee)
  40. have people over once a month


The first thing, not even remembered,
but carried in bones, written in neural net-
works, dripped through hormone pathways, was that
there was never enough, not enough touch,
love, words, silence, meat, milk, warmth, survival,
for a brain to build its own roads.

The next thing, remembered but not spoken,
was too much, too much rage, erosion,
noise, touch, that ripped up the roads, left them
impassable. These have been borrowed roads for so long,
those who built them have been emptied, emptied,
endlessly into the fissures and hollows.

This last thing. A path built with just enough
words, warmth, touch, silence, survival,



I was the one who taught you to

who taught you to

we were

around and through

We were disney films

bubble games
aniseed balls

we were
shakespeare in silly voices

but you decided to be the good girl
an “all my friends are normal except you” girl
an “if only you put more effort in, walked better, didn’t look so butch, at least tried” girl

and when i changed my name
to the hard male sound

you told me all vicious, unnecessary jokes they made
like i didn’t already know i was the wrong shape for your world

seven years in
your rage at me not being girl enough to wear a dress
at your hetero-patriarchal consumerist lamp post pissing contest
left me lost and cold

A decade later

when i finally realised that you would never make a place for me

That you’d decided I was inconveniently
crippled and queer

I said to her

“we love them more than they love us, those straight girls, and they disappear into their whitebread lives without us, they empty us out and leave us on call, waiting for nothing

we would joke about running away to join the circus

me not realizing this genderqueer, limping, woman loving, arm scarred, given away, crazy girl

was your circus