A Magical Book About a Magical Place

The Magic of Findhorn is a magical book. I first read it when it came out in paperback more years ago than I care to remember. For more than a decade, I reread it now and then to savour Hawken’s sweet distillation of the spirit of the time. Those were the heady days of pot-smoking hippies, smiling flower children, and idealistic communes. Findhorn added fairies, giant cabbages, and bushes that got out of the way when you wanted to make a path through them. It was wonderful to imagine that I might run off and join the small band of romantics building a new kind of community on what was once a garbage dump. I never did, of course. Sometimes I think I missed a great chance. Findhorn still exists, although it is now a foundation and calls itself a “New Age” community. Naturally, there is a website.

First paperback edition cover

An enchanting look at an early New Age community in Scotland.

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Lifestyles of Writers and Other Creative People

George Orwell's Country Retreat in the Hebrides

Cheap rural retreats such as George Orwell’s remote home in the Scottish Hebrides are a staple in the lives of creative people. (Image: public domain.)

High-level creativity takes time, lots of it. It also needs peace and quiet. To secure the requisite time and tranquility, creators of all kinds have traditionally turned away from mainstream lifestyles and embraced less conventional ways of life. The taste among intelligent middle-class English writers for living quietly – and inexpensively – in the unsophisticated countryside is the stuff of literary legend. The goal is always the same: liberate as much time as possible for the creative work while ensuring congenial conditions for getting it done.

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