Clare Viner, our in-house story generator and fabulist, continues her series of blogs with reflections on her preparations for Saturday’s first Connecting the Culm storytelling event.

This week I’m getting ready for my first ‘Connecting the Culm’ Storytelling Event. It’s at the Walronds Community Centre Cullompton, this Saturday, 25th September 10am- 1pm.

….I’m excited…and nervous…I’ve created 3 x 30min sets of stories about the River Culm and the Culm valley. The first is ‘Why the Dragon hides his treasure’, the second, ‘Fishing for healing with Magic and Wolves’ and the third; ‘Finding the way Home, Dove woman and Joan the Wad’.

This is the result of several months of researching and wandering the Culm – what an incredibly rich and wonderful experience! I want everyone to fall in love with the Culm as I have. You can read about some of my wanderings in earlier blogs.

It’s completely free, funded by West Country River’s Trust and the ‘Connecting the Culm’ team.
Be lovely to see you!

Stone arched bridge over a river


Suzie Crockford put this poem, by Frank Lamotte, on her fb page recently – it links with my stories; it seems that changing forms, the changing forms of the earth, the waters and of ourselves has been going on for a very long time!

“My Ancestry DNA results came in.
Just as I suspected, my great-great grandfather
was a monarch butterfly.
Much of who I am is still wriggling under a stone.
I am part larva, but part hummingbird too.
There is dinosaur tar in my bone marrow.
My golden hair sprang out of a meadow in Palestine.
Genghis Khan is my fourth cousin,
but I didn’t get his dimples.
My loins are loaded with banyan seeds from Sri Lanka,
but I descended from Ravanna, not Ram.
My uncle is a mastodon.
There are traces of white people in my saliva.
3.7 billion years ago I swirled in golden dust,
dreaming of a planet overgrown with lingams and yonis.
More recently, say 60,000 B.C.
I walked on hairy paws across a land bridge
joining Sweden to Botswana.
I am the bastard of the sun and moon.
I can no longer hide my heritage of raindrops and cougar scat.
I am made of your grandmother’s tears.
You conquered rival tribesmen of your own color,
chained them together, marched them naked to the coast,
and sold them to colonials from Savannah.
I was that brother you sold, I was the slave trader,
I was the chain.
Admit it, you have wings, vast and golden,
like mine, like mine.
You have sweat, black and salty,
like mine, like mine.
You have secrets silently singing in your blood,
like mine, like mine.
Don’t pretend that earth is not one family.
Don’t pretend we never hung from the same branch.
Don’t pretend we don’t ripen on each other’s breath.
Don’t pretend we didn’t come here to forgive.”