Permaculture Writing with Maddy Harland

by | January 04, 2023 | Permaculture Podcast | 0 comments

Have you ever wanted to become a permaculture writer? Listen in to learn the niches waiting for permaculture writers and insights from our guest’s decades of permaculture writing, editing and publishing.

I am delighted to welcome you to a the first of our special Permaculture Writer’s Club series on the Sense-making in a Changing World podcast. This podcast is an initiative of the Permaculture Education Institute. We teach permaculture teachers around the world and host global permaculture conversations and learning communities.

Who better to launch the Permaculture Writer’s Club with me than Maddy Harland – writer, editor, publisher extraordinaire.  I love when I get the chance to catch up with her.  Maddy is the cofounder and editor of the brilliant 30+ year old Permaculture Magazine and co-founder too of Permanent Publications – THE major contributor of permaculture books in the world.

Maddy is also an avid beekeeper, no-dig gardener, forest gardener, walker, nature lover and a mother of two amazing daughters. She is a visiting Knowledge Exchange Fellow of the Institute of Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester in the UK and through her publishing company, a recipient of the Queens Award for entrepreneurship “unfettered dedication to promoting sustainable development internationally.

Maddy and I talk about what kind of writing we need in permaculture now & how we need more diversity of permaculture writing, more writing about fair share and good writing that opens the conversation about what in the world that is possible – signposting what the future might look like and describe a diversity of practical climate adaptations for all the different regions of the world, and all different contexts.

PODCAST HOST: MORAG GAMBLE

This show is hosted by speaker, filmmaker, humanitarian, author, global teacher of permaculture teachers and Permayouth mentor, Morag Gamble of the Permaculture Education Institute.

This podcast is an initiative of the Permaculture Education Institute and our Permaculture Educators Program – teaching permaculture teachers on 6 continents.

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Full Transcript Below

 

Morag:

Thank you, Maddy, for joining me for our very first Permaculture Writers Club exploring the world of writing in Permaculture and I’m so thankful for you to join me in the session today because this is something that you’ve been doing for decades, writing yourself, but also nurturing writers, and creating the world’s biggest permaculture specialist publishing house, which is an extraordinary feat. You’ve published well over 100 books and you’re about to publish the 114th issue of Permaculture Magazine, which is also a 30 year project. So you’ve been writing and editing and publishing for decades now. So what I really would love to explore in this series of conversation is how it is that we can further amplify the voice of permaculture into the world through writing? We also talked before, we opened up the recording about other forms of communication to whether it be illustration or songwriting. In your decades of experience in publishing permaculture, where do you see the gaps and that you feel that we need permaculture to be going in terms of writing and communication? What is it that we need to be focusing on as writers and communicators in permaculture today?

Maddy:

We have this principle about diversity and we always have to have a concept of diversity in terms of output in publishing. So we may have done well over 100 books. I don’t even know how many it is because we haven’t counted for a few years, but we know that we’re only one expression of output, which is very much through the lens of Tim and Maddy Harland and our associates and collaborators. We always had a thing about diversity and editorially was that it was really important that we didn’t have too much jargon so that we create material that someone who’s concerned about the world and wants to know the practical things that they can do in their life could pick up a copy of permaculture magazine and it wouldn’t be an academic journal and it wouldn’t be over specialized or, fundamentally, a bit irrelevant to where they are in life. So we’ve always tried to make sure that the contents are not just for farmers, not just for eco villages, but it’s also for people living in an apartment, in an urban area, or in the suburbs.

So each issue has lots of different types of subject matter. We always wanted to also push the envelope a bit and make sure that there were thought provoking and perhaps slightly triggering articles sometimes to make the reader question some of our unconscious beliefs as well as our conscious beliefs. In terms of niches in books, there is always room for very practical DIY how to material. I don’t think there is enough in the world about how to do stuff, what are the ideal dimensions of a tree bog, to a particular type of compost that you don’t empty that creates nutrients for trees, how tall should the platform be, how do we build it, do we need to vent it like you would do for chamber or these kind of really practical things, what is a really easy design for a solar shower and who’s built one and how well does it work, can we build one of these without scolding ourselves when it’s really hard. Just basic simple stuff. Good garden designs, good guild designs. We haven’t finished being practical, we may have been publishing books for 30 years but we’ve got so much more to be said and learned. We’re just scratching the surface of our real practical knowledge and different climates. We’ve got to design, and you were saying earlier, as the climate changes as these rainy temperate regions where I live become drought ridden or flood ridden, we’ve got to up our resilience design and there’s so much that we can learn from other people in other countries who’ve already encountered many of these problems in much more fragile landscapes.

So, I think there’s a whole piece of work around climate change and resilience and what to do, practically. I don’t feel we have fully understood or even gotten to really have deep clarity about this other world that’s possible. What does it look like, you think about Rob Hopkins and his time travel into the future and getting people to hear, and feel, and taste, and smell the future. But how do we translate that into good material, good reading material, good media? And how do we sign posts about what the future could possibly look like? We’ve got this Einstein quote about “You can’t solve the problems of one paradigm with the same thinking.” So if we can’t think in the same way, how do we creatively express it? We will do that and we are already. One example of that was 10 years ago, Looby MacNamara, coming along and writing about people in Permaculture and some permaculture is turning around to us and saying, “This isn’t really how we see permaculture. Permaculture is about farm design and earth care. We’re not sure that this is part of our design portfolio.” But of course, 10 years later, I think most people have understood that if we don’t look after people, then how do our systems thrive as well if we can’t cooperate and dispatch shares?

Morag:

How much has been written about fair share?

Maddy:

So little, we published a book called The Manifesto of The Poor, which was about the birth of the free trade movement and we really thought that this would become a core text for permaculture design students because it’s such a wonderful template of collaborative enterprise and fair shares and we’ve really struggled to sell that book. It’s a book before its time in the Purple Hearts movement. So there’s another niche that we need to look at: sustainable or regenerative economics and the doughnut theory. That’s excellent, excellent work, but that is only the beginning and as permaculturist, we need to look at how we create ethical but successful livelihoods.

Morag:

I think we’ve been practicing these things and talking about these things and teaching about these things for a long time. But I don’t know a text that I could point to that has anything but just maybe a list of those possibilities rather than a deeper exploration of them. So I really feel that that is a huge area and particularly a lot of the work that we do with refugee communities and how they’re designing their permaculture systems to transform their communities. That’s an amazing story. So I also wanted to ask you about the fascist side of things is a huge area. I think that can be explored. But it’s interesting, isn’t it? What you’re saying is that they don’t sell books. People want the practical, how do you do this? How do you build that? And so that’s an interesting question that maybe we could sort of come back and explore. Like, how do you write a book about something that needs to be in the world but perhaps is not going to sell? So where do you put that kind of content? I find this challenging, too, in terms of writing about refugee work. I put one post out about the plant in my garden and I put out an amazing story about refugees doing work. You can just imagine how many views one gets and how many views the other gets. It’s ridiculous, really.

Maddy:

That’s the power of the magazine, you see. You can do all the how to build your stuff and then you can put in something about decolonization and it’s in the magazine and it’s part of the collection. So the magazine is an ecosystem and it is a platform and an opportunity to present material, not too much, otherwise, we get too many complaints. But the whole idea of it is that there has to be something about what the innovation was the refugee work. There has to be something celebrating that kind of work, which isn’t clickbait, for social media, but is probably more important than how to build a good, [inaudible]

Morag:

I wanted to ask you, too, about when you’re talking before about this, seeing a different future, imagining a different future in the work that Rob has done and a lot of what he talks about is that imagination and brings you three stories and I’ve been going through a process. Rob Hopkins was as part of it, it was called Thrutopia and it was a group of people coming together to write, not just get herpes glories or dystopian stories, but stories that will get us through.

I know that you don’t publish fiction, but I wonder if you could speak a little bit about why you don’t do that? Or is that for something else? You’ve just got your focus on what you do and what the power of fiction in the permaculture world do you think could be. And I’m asking this because I’m not a fiction reader myself, I’m always the how to reader. I have a library full of how to practical books here. But my daughter who lives a  [inaudible] for example, she has her whole world in fiction and her whole world and philosophies and worldviews are being shaped by these books and her philosophies come from that. So I wonder what you think about fiction and permaculture.

Maddy:

It’s a great question, Morag. I’ve got a literary degree in English and American fiction and my father was a poet, a published poet, and I used to write a lot of poetry. I do it occasionally. So I do read fiction and I have studied literature from Shakespeare onwards for me. I love literature, I love good poetry. We sat around the other night with my daughter and her partner and read poetry to each other. It’s so powerful.

Why don’t we publish fiction? Publishing is very much about finding, particularly when you’re a very small company, and you’re effectively competing in an arena of multinationals, and so we don’t publish fiction because, from a purely an economic perspective, it would be incredibly difficult to make it work. We don’t have the kind of budgets for marketing and the slick PR to get unknown authors read. From a literary point of view, if I’m absolutely honest, I haven’t read an awful lot of very, very well written fiction yet. But you have got people like Manda Scott, who started the program that you mentioned, who are established fiction writers published by Bantam, a huge international fiction publisher. I think if a book is good, then it will get its publisher and it will get that mainstream uplift. I have actually published a book of poetry by  [inaudible] but again we’re not known for that niche. We’re known for permaculture design books and 12 volt solar. So when we step outside of our identity, we become a little bit of an oddity and it’s very hard for us to be seen. So even though I have profound interest in philosophy and consciousness and spirituality, dare I say in permaculture circles, it used to be against us that we couldn’t have woowoo but we’re allowed deep ecology now fortunately and I have a real interest in that and a lot of the books on my bookshelf are about quite a lot about bees and next to the bees are The Tibetan Book of the Dead and another classic title from the great world religions. But when we’ve tried to publish stuff about consciousness and how the next revolution has to be about consciousness and not only about politics or society or ecology, it’s been really difficult to get that message out. So what we’ve decided, in many ways, is we republish what we’re good at and what works for us and then we use the magazine as this platform where, from time to time, we can introduce ideas and concepts that are perhaps beyond the usual concept of permaculture. I do get letters of complaint and I do get people unsubscribing. Let’s be clear, it’s not popular, because it is triggering.

Morag:

So the other type of publishing that you don’t do is anything to do with, say, children’s books, for example.

Maddy:

We don’t, we did over 30 years ago but, again, it’s not something that we do well and florists books who are in the UK do it extremely well. So we recognize our skills and we also recognize the things that we’re perhaps not so good at and we leave that work to others. There’s so much work to do as publishers. It’s just so good to focus on what you do best and not try and be a publisher for everybody, but just have a niche.

Morag:

But before we move off the children’s story type of theme. I wonder whether you have any thoughts about what kind of children’s stories would be wonderful. Have you thought about that? Have you seen some great things? Where do you think there’s gaps in that sort of world because I know that young people are crying, and not just children, I guess, I’m talking about youth and I’m also thinking about that whole world of permayouth and I guess they consider to be tapping into all the other resources you’ve got, but there’s still something in that younger age that I feel that there’s this big gap and I’m trying to work out how to fill that space or find what resources are out there already to bring them into the space where they can see them.

Maddy:

I would agree totally that it’s a gap that needs to be filled and there is work around in the states around the permaculture student, but I think that’s perhaps more adult student than young person student. There are some I did try and publish a school permaculture introduction for youth. It didn’t didn’t quite work out. The trouble is, you see, we have, particularly in the UK, we have this educational system with a curriculum with key stitch stages and it used to be quite well designed and it had sustainability woven into it and there was a permissiveness that allowed lots of different subjects and an integration of permaculture into mainstream education. When our conservative government came in, they made sure that they uncoupled the deep, sustainable message into teaching about energy and they made sure that they disrupted that education at different key stages so that it wasn’t so easy for teachers to teach that material. That was basically permaculture design for young people and it was a very conscious political decision that started with Michael Gove, who was head of education at the time, and renewable energy, for example, it’s just not taught in a way that it should be taught. Because it’s a political arena now. It’s all about oil, fracking, the fossil fuel lobby, controlling education. So to publish in that niche and get it out to those sources is very, very difficult now. Because we have a repressive regime in and that’s not an excuse for not doing it. It’s just finding creative ways that go beyond that political constraint and I would think the homemade [inaudible] network would be a really good way of entering

Morag:

Is that getting really big, too, in the UK?

Maddy:

It’s getting really big. It’s quite a difficult thing to do, economically, because it means that one parent has to be there and isn’t working and at the moment the cost of living crisis in the UK, that’s really difficult for many, many families. It is very difficult to make the choice and it’s very, particularly in rural areas, it’s quite difficult to do because you don’t have an instant community to do homemade stuff as a community and it means getting in a car and traveling. So I wouldn’t say that it’s a growing movement, there’s also something that’s quite difficult to do, I believe. There’s quite a lot of testing of people who want to do it that they’re complying with.

Morag:

I think it’s a lot clearer here in Australia.

Maddy:

I think that’s the thing isn’t it. It’s good to have the flexibility that people can go in and out, rather than be stuck in one system, but have something a little bit more fluid.

Morag:

So from a publishing perspective and a writing perspective in a way then from what you’re saying is that it’s mostly then working with trying to develop the eco-literacy and the practical skills of the people who are working with young people. So all the things that you’ve written can be therefore used as a way to educate those who are working with children. So you also have the outdoor classrooms book and to work with teachers. It is challenging, isn’t it?

Maddy:

When we were based at the Sustainability Center in Hampshire, there were people working in education there because we had about 3000 school age children come over every year and there was a real focus on ensuring that the schools program had that permaculture design ethos and perspective.  [inaudible] the boxes so that the teachers could book the places to bring the kids and say, “Oh, yes! We’re addressing key stage two in the school visit” and that’s what paid the bills. So they work really hard to ensure that they created the material that would both have this eco literacy, but also would work so that the teachers could actually book the places legitimate and still be doing their job.

Morag:

So much about that compliance, isn’t it?

Maddy:

Yes, like creatively.

Morag:

So let’s flip to a different thread of conversation then around permaculture, and climate change, and XR, and rebellion. Is there space within permaculture publishing for something like a permaculture rebellion book?

Maddy:

Well, we did publish a book by Mark Boyle, called Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, and that was all about not toeing the line and not obeying and not accepting the status quo. That’s exactly what that book was about.

Morag:

Do you think there’s any kind of work of thinking about how to push those envelopes of what is seen as standard permaculture of the garden?

Maddy:

Absolutely! We’re just about to publish a book by Rupert Reed. It’s all about transformational adaptation and it’s all about pushing those boundaries and we’ve got to keep pushing the boundaries, however old.

Morag:

What are the boundaries that you feel aren’t being pushed at the moment that you would like to see pushed by writers?

Maddy:

You are asking me some really tough questions today, Morag. I think one of the most difficult things that we can do is, in permaculture, we are always talking about this world that we’re going to design into being, this energy cycle, not energy sink, all our design teaching and our philosophy and our ethics. It talks about all these wonderful things and condenses it into principles and then we do our design work as students, but how does it stick together? And how does it stick together on a community level? How do we somehow become the catalysts of consciousness so that people wake up and say, “Hang on a minute. Why are we doing this? Just because we’ve always done it? How do we wake people up?” And that’s what good writing has to do. I mean, think about James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was just one day in the life of one man walking around doubling in stream of consciousness and the last part of the book had no punctuation at all and it was incredibly sexually overt, which was why no one would publish it and it broke all these boundaries of literature, of what people should say, it expressed the consciousness of women. Now, what writer was actually presenting a woman’s worldview. It was a man, but it was beautifully done and that’s why James Joyce was so great. It wasn’t just the exquisite prose and the extraordinary immersion that he wrote about as a writer and where you absolutely feel his life and his epiphanies and his desire is compelling. It was also so difficult to read. I tried to read it on numerous occasions and was boggled by it.

I’ve slightly gone off the [inaudible] here, but what I’m saying is as writers, and as permaculturist, and as visionaries, somehow we just have to keep growing our visionary muscles. So that we do manage, however we are, to capture this other world that is possible. I think it’s a job that we’ve started, but we are only at the very, very beginning and it has to be different. Therefore there has to be resistance to the systems that we’re in now, which are destroying us, and we’ve got to question the holy cows and the great icons.

Morag:

To go off script and be somewhat destructive.

Maddy:

And also, we’ve got to grow up and not project all our emotional angst on, say, a lady that’s just died in her 90s and think that that was our granny. We’ve got to wake up and really open our eyes, what is undermining the well being of society, poverty, redistribution of wealth, and equality. Not hierarchy, we’ve got to look at our privilege and it’s complex, uncomfortable, and intricate and it’s woven into our unconscious. So permaculturist, it’s the job that we all have to do.

Morag:

Which is kind of interesting that we’re talking about this, because as you’re saying, in the magazine, if you’d write something like that, you’ll get the criticism. But that’s the kind of stuff that we actually do need to write. So where do we publish those kinds of works? If that’s the kind of writing that we need? Who’s going to publish that? Who’s going to put that out into the world? How do we get these kinds of voices, these kinds of writings, these kinds of ideas out beyond just a conversation? Because we have conversations, but how is it that that can get out further? That’s kind of my question.

Maddy:

Well, we have to be brave, don’t we? And we have to support the radicals. But it has to be well executed. Mark Boyles book, The Moneyless Manifesto, which was all sorts of ways that he lived that time totally without money. It was the practical stuff about contraception and pooping and cooking and how did he actually do it? That was what that book was about and it’s a useful manifesto. Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi was about trying to go beyond those worldview restraints that keep us in our little bubbles of stuck consciousness. I think if those books are well executed, bring them on, bring him on.

Morag:

Have you ever tried publishing like a series of conversations as opposed to someone’s piece of work?

Maddy:

Yes, we have published what we would call Anthologies, which would be a series of conversations.

Morag:

Does that work?

Maddy:

No, not financially.

Morag:

Put it out into the world and be like a best seller at the same time as disrupting the dominant paradigm, like what is that?

Maddy:

It’s incredibly difficult. I would love to have the answer to how to disrupt the paradigm and publish about it. I think when we started, things like the earth care manual, did disrupt the paradigm and I think people in permaculture and cultural emergence are paradigm disruptors. They’re pattern disruptors. I prefer calling a pattern disrupter and I think we have done that and Mark’s work that I’ve mentioned is pattern disruption. But I think we can do more and I’m really up for knowing the exact dimensions of a tree bug and publishing about that. Because I want people to be freer and not so trapped in the system. Whether it’s the sewage system, or the water heating system, or the shopping for food systems, I want people to be freer.

Morag:

It’s not even really about disrupting, isn’t it?

Maddy:

Yes, it’s devoting the rest of my life to becoming freer and not needed. So much of the system in which to survive. But I’d also like to devote the last last parts of my publishing life while my blade brain is still firing on most Signet cylinders, not signatures, I’d like to publish stuff about disruptive, not technologies, but philosophies. I think it’s incredibly important. So that is a little bit of an invitation to anyone who’s listening, bring it on. If you have a pattern of disruptive tree ties, or collection in your creative writing life, talk to me. In terms of anthologies and collections, but we can make ebooks. We don’t have to invest 1000s and 1000s of dollars in paper and then post paper around the world. We do have other media and we do publish a lot of ebooks.

Morag:

So just a quick thing, can you say a little bit about how well ebooks do as opposed to print books?

Maddy:

Some do better than others. So when you publish a very visual –  our best platform, regrettably, is suffering with the devil, is Kindle. So we sell most ebooks through Kindle. Now, some books that we publish are so visual and so full color photos that they don’t really work and we can’t produce them as Kindle. So we only produce them as EPUB and iBooks and those are much smaller platforms. But in terms of less illustrated books, Ebooks work fine. Though they don’t sell as much as print books, they’re usually cheaper and there’s not the complex logistics around shipping. So they’re good and it’s different media and we also produce the magazine as a digital edition and all of the 100 Plus back issues are all on that digital platform, totally free of charge. So you’ve subscribed for a year, but you get 30 years of our work at the same time. In different countries, say in Australia, it’s so much easier to be a digital subscriber because posting papers takes so long, and it is a bit ludicrous, and expensive, and then different generations. So a lot of kids have iPhones and the app on the iPhone works really well.

Morag:

If people wanted to pitch to you for an article or book, you’ve got that all on your website, haven’t you?

Maddy:

So we have permanentpublications.co.uk and on that is a whole page called, submit a book idea, and then on the magazine page there is stuff about submitting an article. So yes, it can be done.

Morag:

There was one other type of book that I was curious to ask you about too and that is people’s stories. Like stories of people’s lives, like biographies. Have you written a story? That is part of what you do?

Maddy:

Yes, we have an author called Liz Saurabh, and Liz Saurabh is a gardener, fundamentally, a market gardener, but she doesn’t write books about how to build raised beds and how to grow flowers commercially, she writes the story of her unfolding garden and includes all this practical stuff. But it’s her story of what was happening in her life as she did this stuff and she’s one of our absolutely best selling authors in the world. Because she’s got the experience and the skill of what she does, but she also has the humor of when stuff goes wrong, which is always good to read when the stuff goes wrong, and she got the heart of the unfolding story of this person and when you read Liz or you watch her YouTube channel, you get the sense that what she’s saying fundamentally is, “Look, if I can do this, you can too.” and that’s very empowering. So she’s incredibly popular and I love stories. I’m always asking our article writers to tell us the story. It’s not about telling us the technical details about a chicken forage system. Tell us the story of how you came to design it and why.

Morag:

They’re wrapped around the dimensions of that tree bog instructions, the one that you’re talking about. You want the story of the tree bog. There’s an interesting story. Because in the app in Kakuma refugees settlement, at the back of a mudbrick solar powered, water harvesting, permaculture garden music studio where they make permaculture music, they’ve just created a tree bog.

Thank you so much, Maddy. We kind of went all around, but I feel like there’s a lot of very tangible possibilities for people who are listening to think, “I could actually find a way for my voice to come through in that way and to explore that.” and so I think there’s so much that needs to be written, there’s so many stories that need to be told.

Maddy:

Absolutely! Some authors self publish and that works really well for them and that becomes one of their income streams and they’re up for managing their shipping and their production and there’s many examples of that. Some people publish with us and then they self publish as well. Or they might go to a big mainstream publisher and get a book published and that’s great. We’ve got to look at so many different models, it may be that there might be a youth in a permaculture publishing house that looks at ziens, graphic novels, and fiction. They might come and say to us, “Tell us a few things, but we’re going to do it ourselves.” I don’t think, personally, that I am qualified to publish youth stuff. I’m old, in the best possible and most positive way. I want to really encourage the next generations to come on board and get creative. When Tim and I started, yes I had a degree in literature and he’d worked as a sales rep for a publishing company and I’d done the editorial work. So we didn’t just kind of do it off with no experience whatsoever, we did have a background. But there was so much that we didn’t know and this world that we live in – because publishing is fundamentally very technical, like music is now in terms of production. – we have to keep reinventing and learning what we’re doing the whole time, we never stand still. We can’t carry the mantle of publishing.

Morag:

Like with youth publishing, for example. The whole world of publishing has changed so much that it’s entirely possible for them to develop and create something almost on their phones just about. It’s incredible what the possibilities are for them in terms of just basic content.

Maddy:

I said I’m old, I don’t feel old. But as this last third of my life, if I’m lucky, has begun already, my job is to encourage and mentor people not to do it all by themselves. I probably need to go and build the tree bog myself, but I don’t need to publish youth graphic novels or permaculture fiction. Someone else needs to come and do all that. I’m very happy to be an advisor and encourage and be helpful as best I can. To the permaculture movement to get creative, let’s get creative. The people with more experience can perhaps encourage and support. But this needs to be very democratic and opened up.

Morag:

So I think we need that permaculture creatives club where we can have that intergenerational conversation where people can kind of do a little bit of a dropping and then tap on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I’ve got some projects. Can you offer me some advice on this?” and that would be an amazing thing.

Maddy:

I mustn’t close this conversation without saying that we need far more writing and creativity from people of color. This mustn’t be the white permaculture creative club and I’m very aware that we must always be questioning the lack of diversity and trying to break down whatever those barriers are. So that we really do have genuine, fair shares. It’s a great ethic, very difficult to practice and so much work to be done.

Morag:

And I think, just as a closing too as we just mentioned a bit before that, there are so many possibilities. I think sometimes people feel, “Oh, a whole lot of really great books have been written.” But that’s just scratching the surface, isn’t it?

Maddy:

Totally. Luby’s just done the Mother Nature project book, which is all about sort of permaculture thinking for young mothers and looking in a wider context at the archetype of motherhood and how it works in our society, and how it doesn’t work, and where it’s not supported and that’s another little beautiful embryo of creative work that needs to develop and be born further into other incarnations. There’s so much to do.

Morag:

Because whatever your world is, it intersects with the permaculture world and creates this unique space that is uniquely your voice. It’s a little bit like working with people in becoming permaculture educators. It’s not like going out and teaching this course and this curriculum, like where your world intersects with permaculture with the people and the place and that is designed something for there and it’s the same with the writing, I guess.

Maddy:

When I’m working with an author, it’s about how do you find your voice and then how do you organize it in the best possible way and express it within this medium and that’s really in essence what it’s about. I’m really uncovering and supporting that process and mentoring it. That’s what editing is, it’s not really about grammar.

Morag:

I will talk to you more another time about organizing my thoughts. That’s not true, actually. I’m a very organized person.

Maddy:

You are. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here today having this conversation.

Morag:

I sometimes joke about being disorganized, but I’m actually not. I’m incredibly focused and determined and organized. But there are a lot of ideas that are always going on and to try and grasp them and to actually put them onto paper has been my lifetime challenge that I’ve not yet succeeded in doing except for a few articles and courses and podcasts. The actual writing on the paper after a book, that’s kind of eluded me still. So one day, I shall as well.

Maddy:

Excellent.

Morag:

Thank you, Maddy. It’s just been so lovely to see you again and in your new place and to hear the stories before we started this recorded part of the conversation about how things are going in your new 12 acres in. Is it 12 hectares or 12 acres?

Maddy:

It’s acres.

Morag:

12 acres in Devon, sounds absolutely gorgeous. Well, thank you so much and enjoy the rest of your day and conversation series of exploring writing to unfold so much more.

Maddy:

Thanks to everyone who comes and listens and hopefully is inspired if you’re a person that likes littering media to put pen to paper.

Morag:

I’ll put all the links down below, so check them out there. All right, thank you, Maddy.

Maddy:

Thanks, Morag.

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