Monday, 19 September 2016

Gwaith 3: Residency Update

Helo Pawb

Yesterday (Saturday, 17 Sep 16) marked two weeks I have been at my Stiwdio Maelor residency, so I thought it time to post an update on my various activities.

My major aims for my time in Wales are writing, language and landscape. ‘Writing’, obviously, means my dark ages novel, though that doesn’t mean I won’t respond to other prompts from the muse. ‘Language’, again just as obviously, refers to my attempts at learning Welsh and finding opportunities for practicing it. Finally, ‘landscape’ means my desire to observe and absorb as much of the Welsh landscape as I can, for my soul and for the book. These first two weeks, I would say, have been successful on all counts.

My studio (Stiwdio Chwech)
Since leaving Australia, I’ve averaged 3.5 hours of writing per day. This may not seem much, but it doesn’t take into account flight days and days spent staying with friends before my residency, as well my time on Helfa Gelf and traipsing the countryside. I want to build this to four to five hours per day, though when I finish this first five weeks of my residency and go travelling for five weeks, my average is bound to drop. Anyway, in my two weeks at Stiwdio Maelor I have managed to accomplish the following:

Interdraft work (structural editing and conceptual re-jigging): 19.971 words
Draft 3 of the novel: 1,428 words
Blog posts and other writing: 3,197 words
Blog posts (including this one): 3
Haiku drafts: 11
Poem drafts: 1
And, unexpectedly, short story drafts: 1

I am quite happy with this output, though of course my focus, now that I’ve essentially finished the Interdraft work, is on continuing the novel redrafting.

My working space
The view from my desk this morning
My Ancient Britain and Roman Britain maps
Last year I went to hear Alan Garner talk about his work, which you can read about here. On the way there, I suddenly felt a little disconcerted, a little weird. I wasn’t sure why, then I realised I had entered England and let behind the dual-language signage of Wales.

Traffic lights in Corris, because of water works
In Welsh, the adjective comes after the noun
While I am still a long way from fluency, my brain is used to seeing and, to some degree, comprehending Welsh words and signs. Since my arrival at Maelor, I have been to the Tuesday Welsh Discussion Group at the Corris Institute twice and am starting a Welsh class in Dolgellau tomorrow (Monday, 19 Sep). And on Friday I will be attending a Noson Siarad Cymraeg, a night of talking Welsh. No Saesneg (English) allowed. I think I might be listening more than speaking. I have also been practising Duolingo Welsh, an online course, and listening to my downloaded Say Something In Welsh sound files. I’m hoping that I can have half-decent conversations with shopkeepers and people around Corris by the time I leave here.

As my previous postings (here and here) can testify, I’ve been out and about in the Welsh landscape, even if my fitness level meant I haven’t quite been bounding through the land. In the two weeks I’ve been here I have had four walks in total and, once my knees recover from the Cadair Idris climb, I intend to walk three to four times a week, weather permitting. I feel quite at home in the landscape and become so absorbed in it that I sometimes forget to take notes of trees, bird sounds, colours of moss and stone for my book. I’ll manage better the more walks I do.

Below are photographs from a walk I took along Afon Dulas late in the day:

The start of the path along Afon Dulas. For some reason my camera was on a Soft Focus.
Night haze above the river
View downstream
That’s it for now. I hope your own works and days are going well. As always, I welcome any comments.

And more jackdaws, for those who remember my fascination with them last year. Photo was taken this morning.
The mist on the hills behind my bedroom

Cofion Cynnes


Hannercymraes said...

Ardderchog! Sounds like it is going well mwynheuwch!

Carole Poustie said...

Great to see you have made such a positive start, Earl. So enjoyed your beautiful photos and reading your account. Carole

Cattyrox said...

Love the jackdaws! And the mist...

Earl Livings said...

Thanks, Liz, Carole and Catherine for your encouraging remarks. The place is amazing and I hope it somehow seeps into my work. All the best with your own ventures.

Nadine Cresswell-Myatt said...

Just home today after the 13 hour flight and the 7 hour one yesterday. Glad to hear that your writing is going so well and to see some of the amazing scenery you are seeing. I miss the UK already.

Earl Livings said...

Hi Nadine
Glad to hear you have arrived safe and sound. I understand how it feels to miss the UK, though I won't be facing that for some time. You'll have to start planning for your next trip :) Thanks for you support. Talk soon.