Writer and storyteller


HIS LUNGS ARE BURNING. He feels as if he is carrying two fiery wounds on his chest. Pain is marching through Digger’s body as he leans, hands on his knees, and wonders how, or even if, he will manage the next stage of the run. The chill wind cools the sweat quickly on his skin; he can tell that it stinks of the bodily residue of wine and cigarettes and coffee. For the hundredth time that morning, he remembers how easy this run used to be, and curses. He spits thick phlegm to the side of the path and straightens himself to standing again, feels the ache in his lower back as if he has sat slumped for a month without moving.


Nettle-Eater, published March 2018
Nettle-Eater, published March 2018


This piece first appeared in a previous version in Dark Mountain III, along with Sometimes a Wild God. Ever since, it's nagged at me to make it into something more. Winter 2017-18 and I've finally done it.

The book of Nettle-Eater is out on 11th March 2018 from Hedgespoken Press. If you'd like to be kept informed about this kind of thing, do sign up to my very occasional newsletter by clicking on the bar over on the left.

Now - August 2018 - I've made a recording of it. It's available as an mp3 to download and listen to for a mere £3, but you can also listen to it right here:



On the Hedgespoken Shop page, it says this:

Nettle-Eater is a short, sharp prose-howl in the direction of genuine and magical wildness and an uncompromising love-letter to the wild places of Dartmoor.

I couldn’t disagre.

You can buy Nettle-Eater using the buttons below the piece, or by going straight to the Hedgespoken Shop here.



In my youth I committed black deeds.

In maturity I practised innocence.

To say more than this would only cause weeping and laughter.

What good would it do to tell you?

I am an old man.

Leave me in peace.


From the life of milarepa by Tsangnyön Heruka.


You know the call.

All your books speak of it.

If I differ from you, it is only in this: When the call came, I heeded it. What the call commanded, I fulfilled.


The call said:

Go to the moor.

Live wild there.

Eat only nettles for one year.


This is what I did.

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Thank you!


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Tom's work available from Hedgespoken Press