Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What to Expect

You might be wondering about the shift in focus of this blog, which is exemplified by the change of name. As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a redundancy package from my teaching job at Box Hill Institute and am now a full-time writer and part-time freelance teacher, editor, manuscript assessor and mentor. The previous blog reflected my teaching emphasis, even if it didn’t quite fulfil the promise I made to discuss how I used The Writing Cycle in my teaching and my own writing. While I still want to discuss that topic, I also want to include other creative areas, so that the blog will become a forum for what interests me, things like Celtic myths and symbols, myths in general, poetry, speculative and literary fiction, Welsh language and history, the Dark Ages, the Matter of Britain, and what is commonly termed the sacred.

There seems to be an agreed perception that in order to make a living from writing (at least initially), one should specialise in one form of fiction, say, whether it be paranormal romance or military SF, and present oneself in social media as a principle exponent of that speciality. For example, one’s blog posts should be about facets of the speciality, or reviews of others in the field, or interesting research titbits, or the actual writing process. I can see the sense in this approach, but I don’t think it is the only one. My own range of research interests is wide and all of them feed into my writing at one time or the other, which itself can be of different forms (poetry, fiction, non-fiction), so I see no reason in narrowing my focus to only one of these interests or one of the writing fields.

My choice of title for this rebooted blog reflects this decision. The word ‘awen’ is Welsh for inspiration, for the muse, and I see my work as responding to whatever the ‘muse’ (however you define this) gives me. I remember reading an interview with Ted Hughes at the time he was made Poet Laureate, and when he was asked what he would write his answer was something along the lines of ‘being faithful to the muse’. I happen to agree with this approach, though, like Hughes and many other writers, I don’t believe in waiting for the muse to give me something. As William Faulkner is reputed to have said: ‘I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning’.

Basically, then, this blog will feature those elements that contribute to my ‘awen project’, my attempt to follow what the muse has given me. I may discuss these ‘givens’, or the research involved in turning a given into a poem or story, or the writing techniques I feel may be useful for myself or for others. I may discuss other interests that are tangential to my experience, exploration and expression of ‘awen’, yet still somehow connected to these. I hope you will enjoy what I have to offer.

Happy reading, musing, writing


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