Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Cyfaredd 2: First Days in Corris

Helo Bawb (Hello Everyone)

Two weeks ago I arrived at my residency in Corris. The weather here, being further north, is colder than it was in Bridge. On the second and third nights I froze so much I had to wear my thermals under my t-shirt and tracksuit, along with thick woollen bed socks. A day later, Veronica, who runs Stiwdio Maelor, told me about new snow on the mountains between here and Dolgellau, apparently a beautiful sight—no wonder I was so cold. The weather hasn’t been so bad since. We even had a few days of spring sunshine, so much so that people were sun-baking in bikinis, apparently, on the beach in Aberystwyth. From what I know of UK weather, I suppose the people here grab what sun they can get, even if the temperature is barely above ten degrees Celsius.

Anyway, just a little about the arrangement here. I have a bedroom and a writer’s studio, which has a desk, a comfortable office chair, a reading chair and footstool, and a small table on which I’ve stacked research books I’ve brought with me or have been borrowed from the local university for me. Also, three of Veronica's artworks for inspiration, if the landscape fails me. For your interest, here are some photos:

The view from my bed when I wake up.
The view from my desk. Forestry pine trees on the mountain.
My studio space
As for my routine, my days are filled mainly with ‘bum-on-seat’ as I try to nut out this next draft. I spent part of the first week on structural editing issues, prompted by my discovery of this editing framework a month or more ago: www.storygrid.com. However, I knew I had to get into the guts of the story eventually, so on the Friday of that week I started the actual re-writing/re-drafting. The going has been slow, because those issues I mentioned required me to go back to early chapters I had re-written back in Melbourne. I have also had to create some new chapters to fill in story holes I didn’t know I had till I started looking at structure. Only in the last day or so do I feel the work is picking up pace.

When I’m not in my studio, I go for walks, attend the Tuesday morning Beginning Welsh group I discovered in my first week, go shopping in the bigger towns nearby, or go to the pub next door, The Slaters Arms, to use the Wifi and chat with locals.

Some more photos, from some of my walks:

My first walk, up an old forestry track.
Bare trees, but tons of moss and fern further up the track.
Lower Corris, nestled in hills
View of Cader Idris. If you spend the night on the summit,
you come down either mad or a poet. Too late for some of us!
The only real annoyance here is that planes, helicopters and transports (from the RAF base on Ynys Mon, or Anglesey in English) roar low over the valley almost every day. The first time I heard one of these planes, I was shocked by the noise; by the end of the day, however, I became used to it. As someone fascinated from an early age by planes I have enjoyed watching the fighters bank and turn, plumes of engine exhaust trailing behind them, but generally I ignore the noise and get on with whatever I am doing.

Although I am concentrating on fiction during this residency, if poems come then I work on them. At the moment, though, I’ve only been gifted several haiku. Here’s one, prompted by a view out my studio window, after the sun came out for a while one morning, but the rest of the day was misty with a light rain:

mist drips
from beaks of jackdaws—
ticking water heaters

That’s about it till next time. As always, comments are welcome.

Hwyl (Bye)


Linda Bailey said...

Earl, just joined the twittersphere and am slowly discovering gems such as this. What a gift you have. Thank you. Linda B

Linda Bailey said...

Earl, just joined the twittersphere and am slowly discovering gems such as this. What a gift you have. Thank you. Linda B

collectedworks said...

Read yr post this morning, earl... Was particularly amused by your weather report!Bikinis in March, wonders will never cease! I thinkim cut of the same cloth : any opportunity when the sun's out! Woll follow you! Best wishes, Kris

Earl Livings said...

Hi Linda, Thanks for you kind words. Hope to catch up with you when I get back.

Earl Livings said...

Hi Kris, Thanks for following and let's hope we can catch up in Weymouth in April, or at least have a chat by phone. Cheers, Earl

Scott Sheaffer said...

Those walking paths look beautiful.

Earl Livings said...

Thanks, Scott. I try to go for long walk every two or three days, though the rainy weather last week prevented this. The last two days, however, have been glorious. Cheers, Earl

port fairy & permaculture said...

Hi Earl. Rain and cold here in Melbourne at last. Not as cool as Wales. Looks fresh, break out the snow shoes.
Kevin B

Earl Livings said...

Hi Kevin, Thanks for the comment. The last few days here have actually been full of sunshine and warm weather. Spring is almost upon us. All the best, Earl.