Welcome to Uncivil Savant

‘Reach’ 2020 iron gall ink on deer parchment

Welcome to Uncivil Savant. In late 2022 was drawn to write at Substack as my writer friends one by one migrated here and formed a neighbourhood that I wanted to join. Before coming here, my writing was mainly found in Dark Mountain, on my occasional T’ai Chi blog, and in private posts on the Long Table, which grew out of A School Called Home. Apart from that, my writing had mainly been found in long conversations with friends over many months or years by email, as we shared our ideas, and wondered about our work in the world. Thanks to encouragement from friends, after five years stashing everything away on my hard drive, I made a leap into sharing things publicly and created Uncivil Savant.

As a singer for a decade, years ago, I was used to presenting my lyrics and over 500 songs live on stage, or in albums, but that never felt as disclosing as does typing these words on a glowing screen and you receiving them silently wherever you are in the world. When I had a crew, a band, I was never just expressing my ‘self’, there was the power and joy of more than one person working together. Now it appears as though it is just me and my voice: acapella, if you like. This was one of the reasons behind always recording an audio version of the posts, a way for you to hear my real voice, and pick up some of the nuance that the written word cannot convey. But there is a band here, or rather a collective, in the links and ties of respect and interest that have evolved around here lately. When I write, I draw from my ongoing experience of intimate ties with the more than human world, family, land, friendship and the living traditions I am part of in arts, crafts, martial arts and philosophy. The embodied life, whether seemingly ‘alone’ or not, is always connected, always in the context of a living planet and a web of reciprocity. Remembering this is a cure for the Hubriscene Age.

I post about the embodied life and art and thought, every fortnight on Monday mornings, UK time, bringing you new writing and essays from over 25 years practising and teaching T’ai Chi, following the Way1 and making art where earth, (and Earth), matters. Sometimes I post extra pieces in the intervening weeks: poems, events, news, and previously, some simple Chi Kung (Qi Gong). All my regular writing is free for everyone but there are extras for paid subscribers. I truly appreciate those who contribute with paid subscriptions. It makes a big difference to me being able to write and make art. My first book ‘Found and Ground’ came out in USA and UK summer 2023 and has been translated into French, Spanish and German for publication in 2024. You can find it here. I am working on the follow up book now.

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I appreciate how hard times are for many people, so all the main essay posts are free and I have reduced the monthly price of paid subscriptions from the standard $7 to $6. Due to a spate of anonymous trolls taking up too much of my precious time, comments are now for paid subscribers only. If you cannot afford to subscribe, just send me an email with your name and preferred email address and I will comp you a year for free, so that you can be part of the conversation.

There is an archived series of Chi Kung posts (suitable for everyone) to express my thanks to my paying subscribers. In February 2024 I hosted a Zoom meet up for those paid subscribers who’ve been keeping up with the Chi Kung and made the video available to those who couldn’t come along. It’s surprisingly good fun doing it together, even via screens.

Founder members can suggest things they want me to write about and will receive invitations to meet up each other and me by Zoom a couple of times a year.

Thanks for reading Uncivil Savant.



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Notes from the way, words from the woods, waters from the springs


Author of 'Found and Ground', published by Search Press 2023. Writer, natural materials artist and teacher of ancient crafts, arts and T'ai Chi. www.foundandground.com www.greatrivertaichi.com www.instagram.com/foundandground