Welcome to COLD ALBION
My name is Craig ‘VI’ Slee.
Those Roman numerals are a nickname that became something more – a pen-name, a cipher, a mask. Behind and within, and thanks to them, I became who I am today. A name I took, but also grew into – and grew into me. These days, it’s as much part of me as those given at birth.
I was born into a land of green valleys, high cliffs, roaring seas and windswept moors. It is a land that has inspired artists and writers for generations, though the rivers sometimes run red with what mankind ripped from below the soil and the towns are ghostly with bitter winds in autumn and winter.
I grew there, and my roots still feel the pull of that rocky finger that stretches westward into the Atlantic. Now I live further north, in a place famed for its witches and its mystics who preach to angels. Perhaps due to the nature of this land, you can begin to feel the slow pulse within my words and the things that permeate my work; deep lakes and rolling hills, green fields and wind-blasted fells mixed with forest and stone, stretching ever onward, breezes turning to whispers that do not quite yet resolve themselves into words.
It was here that I cut my teeth on philosophy, here I lost my mind and found it again, and here I put down a deep root or six and felt the land nourish me. It is my goal to pass on some of that nourishment to you, to bring to your notice the commonplace which might as well be unseen, and to reveal the worlds behind and beneath the everyday.
Here is where I finally understood something about the nature of creativity – that the interplay of environment and individual is unintelligibly complex in its simplicity; stories and songs are recapitulations of all that we have been, new seeds grown from immeasurably old roots.
These same roots will soon stir in you, even if they do not do so yet, for I invite you to allow your imagination to run wild as you read, as the meaning arises and the words make sense, becoming aware of the resonances which thrum throughout my life. I invite you to feel them – to see as they cross the virtual gap between word and action, painting themselves across your senses.
The issue is not about the difference between ideas and practicalities. Rather the issue is that there is no division between the created and the creator, and I would suggest to you that stories are like children; they contain the blood of their parent and all their ancestors.
I would ask you to hold this in your mind when considering both old and new works – both mine and others. Allow them to uncurl and nurture them as you would a child, in the cradle of your imagination!
When I began to look behind me, to walk backward, I saw that the once and the future arise from a singularity which erupts into our consciousness as the timeless Now – the emergent pulse which is the ancestor of all endeavour. That was when I began to feel inspiration strike like the point of a spear and mythic life began to suffuse the mundane so completely that they had become as one.
I agree with many who say that the world has become increasingly disconnected, and I also agree with those who say that the world is a vibrant place full of wonders which mankind has made as possible futures. We have a multitude of forgotten dreams just waiting to be experienced anew in their huge richness.
What then, shall we do to experience them in all their awe-inspiring immensity? How do you breathe them in, and make them part of your life? It’s my suggestion that the writer deals in intoxication, in divine drunkenness, as they work the words which open doors, reveal secrets and alter perceptions.
Like Dionysus and Woden – uncanny in their fury, masters of that same inspiration – the story-teller makes war on the static ennui of reality. Enlivening and breaking apart, rearranging and reconfiguring, we speak of strange lands and stranger ways, opening eyes and hearts to possibility and vital joy.
This Biography then, is less about who I am, and more about what I have been, and will be. Less of a Curriculum Vitae and more a chronicle of becoming.
To those who comprehend this, I offer you a space at the fire. To those who do not, please, just enjoy the tales I can tell, and the tricks I can do. I am nothing if not a mercenary, open to offers like any good foederati. Some say I am a barbarian, in the original sense.
I would have to agree.