The public life of fungi

The other day I went for a walk around the park, and took a seat on the bench by the river to watch the world go by. It was a grey day, filled with the background hum of bad news, and I was pretty low about the state of the world. I felt disconnected from it all: what’s real, what’s true? How do you tell how low you should be? These are big questions, but on that day they had a small answer. There by my feet were some shaggy inkcaps.

I got down really low to take a photo of them. That was the appropriate amount of lowness for me:

Shaggy inkcaps at work

There’s a chapter early on in my new book about shaggy inkcaps, and the act of trying to describe them. Seeing them reminded me that I’d had the chance to write that book, to immerse myself in facts as well as I could, in order to try to put across the reality of being part of this world.

The Secret Life of Fungi is published today, and I owe a huge thanks to everyone at Elliott & Thompson for making me the author of a non-fiction book on a subject that is as strange as it is fascinating.

I’m not an expert, or a forager. But the more I looked into this subject the more I found that fungi are everywhere, and there’s a great delight in spotting them, and knowing them, and seeing how they connect the world. They are underneath us all. Plus they are so much fun to describe, and they have the best names. I’m still enraptured with the Dog Sick Slime Mould, for instance. Now that’s an evocative name.

Fungi on the wall. Not dog sick slime mould.

Thanks to everyone who’s read it, been part of it, or is thinking of reading it.

Also: there’s a competition over on Twitter today – post your fungal photos and maybe win a copy of the book. Check out @eandtbooks to take part.

3 thoughts on “The public life of fungi

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