Vivienne Tuffnell

I’m joined in the Bingergread Cottage today by a dear friend with whom I share a lot. Welcome, Vivienne and make yourself at home. Don’t give Lily the cake, it’s chocolate and she doesn’t like it anyway. Help yourself to tea or coffee and let’s have a chat.

Mmmmmm coffeeeee and cake….

We’ve both had a rather “meandering” spiritual path, haven’t we? Tell us about yours.Viv 1

I’ve been drawn to the mystical my entire life. I remember creating a shrine in my bedside cupboard when I was about eight or so. I chose to become a Christian when I was twelve but while I still would define myself as a follower of the Christ, I suspect that I’m not Christian enough for many Christians and not pagan enough for many pagans. I’ve been labelled a witch a few times (with the addition of white or green or even Christian) because of my involvement and interest in the natural world (herbs, stones, animals and so on) but I tend not to use the label myself. If it’s one that makes someone else feel they have a useful handle onto how to start understanding me, that’s fine, but unfortunately, it usually means you get put in a box and get left there.

Yes, totally agree. While I use “witch” as shorthand it is confusing for people and I’m coming to the conclusion that “labels” are not at all useful. They are divisive for the most part. Sum up your philosophy for me.

Be kind.

If I had to use terminology, I’d say I veer towards panentheism, that is God in everything and everything is in God. Every living thing has soul, and so too do things we don’t usually see as alive, like stones and buildings and places. That means that what I do to another, I do (in the end) to the divine and also to me. So, as I said, be kind.

We certainly see eye to eye on that one! Now – you are also a prolific author. Come in – spill the beans about your work.

Viv 3 Viv 2


Not so prolific these days, alas.

When I returned to writing after quitting for 9 years (there’s a story there too) I did so because I had a story arrive fully-formed in my head and it burned its way out in just seventeen days. In the year or so after that, I wrote another six novels, usually completing in a matter of weeks or sometimes months. It was like I’d uncapped a volcano and lava just kept on erupting. Since then, everything changed. My life changed and changed again; serious, life-threatening illness and a hitherto undiagnosed congenital issue came to light that I’m still coming to terms with how I manage it. Not to forget my less-than-stellar mental health. So my prolific phase is behind me and might never return.

Your blog is fascinating, touching and thought-provoking. I know you sometimes feel like giving up on it. What keeps you going?

Sheer bloody-mindedness, I think. The “I’ve started so I’ll finish,” mentality from the original Magnus Magnusson on Mastermind. I’ve also realised that in writing it, I have a kind of pact with my readers. Hard to explain but I think that writing a blog is a powerful means of communication and is a dialogue. The times I feel most like quitting writing (blog, books etc) is when it feels most like a monologue. Those times when I have put heart and soul into a post and it seems that no-one has read or even noticed it, that’s when I get most frustrated. That’s also when I become almost angry that the popular bloggers (who will remain nameless) have only to put down a few very obvious thoughts and have hundreds of people fawning over them and telling them how marvellous they are. One of my oldest friends gets similarly frustrated when a fairly half-arsed meme from George Takei gets millions of shares and his own (very well crafted and original ones) get two or three; it’s what I call the Black Hole effect. Some bloggers get so big they create their own gravity and just keep on getting bigger and more ubiquitous than ever. But while I still have something to say that I consider worth saying, I’ll keep on saying it.

There’s the difference, I think. I tend to blog as if I’m chatting to a few friends and if they find it interesting or amusing then I’m happy. I don’t compare my stats with anyone elses because I have a copy of Desiderata pinned above my desk!


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15 thoughts on “Vivienne Tuffnell

  1. Nice to meet Vivien. Sometimes words can change their meaning by sheer bloodymindedness of people embracing what had been until then terms of abuse. One wonders if witch shouldn’t be one of those…Keep blogging 🙂

  2. Thanks Viv and Ailsa for this interesting interview. Also, I would expect any actor connected with Star Trek, like George Takei, would just naturally attract not only Trekkers but others who are interested in movie and/or TV stars. All these stars have to do is open their mouths. They don’t have to say anything really interesting. Thats not to say they’re not interesting and/or nice people. I’m a fan of Star Trek myself. I just don’t idolize people. 🙂

  3. Great interview. It’d be nice to have lots of adoring followers – for starters marketing my books would be so much easier – but if you have a small following you can talk to them all, which is great.

    I found myself nodding a lot as I read this. Interesting stuff.



  4. Reblogged this on S.C.Skillman Blog and commented:
    Here is a blog post which I found very touching. It’s an interview with fellow-author Vivienne Tufnell, whose blog I follow, (with the lovely title of “Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking”. In this interview Vivienne says a number of things which I identify with, including her observations about Christianity and paganism, and also her experiences with, and feelings about blogging. Sometimes another writer expresses something so perfectly, you feel as if that writer has spoken for you. Do take a few minutes to read what Vivienne says in her interview.

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